September 13, 2014 @ Masterson Station Park in Lexington, KY
Hosted by Tates Creek Timing/Results: PW Timing
In only its second year of existence, the Bluegrass Cross Country invitational has already earned a reputation. Notable for fast times, strong competition, and hotly debated validity (more on that in a minute) this was a meet I’ve had on my coverage radar for some time. Last year’s meet saw a battle down to the wire between John Spencer of Lafayette and Eric Baugh of Villa Madonna with both PRing in the mid-to-low 15’s. This year was hoping to produce more of the same, adding several more to the “sub-16” club. To ensure legitimacy of the course Coach Hawboldt of Tates Creek confirmed that no less than 3 separate entities measured the course: The University of Kentucky, Lindburgh High School (St. Louis MO), and himself. Each gave measurements within 1% accuracy of 5000m.
Girls Varsity Race
After the collegiate athletes had cleared the course, the high school runners were ready to roll with the girls leading off the action. For several weeks now, Michaela Reinhart had targeted this meet as an opportunity to get the low time she was looking for. Victory wouldn’t be as easy as the low time, however, as Jensen Bales, fresh off her victory at the Double S Stampede, was also looking to take the win. From the start, both of them found each other at the front of the pack and began to duke it out. The first mile went out at 5:47 and they were practically side-by-side at that point. Behind them, Selena Mattingly of Williamsburg and Kendall Hayes of Woodford Co had separated themselves from the remainder of the pack as well, but still the story was the battle going on up front. The gap began to be noticeable when the runners hit the largest (and basically only) hill on the course and Michaela began to have a little breathing room up front. She hit the 2 mile mark at 12:01 with about a 7s gap between her and Jensen. Coming back to the soccer fields and to flat ground, Michaela hit the 4K in 15:14 and kept the last 1K honest, finishing in an impressive 18:44 to take the victory. Jensen, also running a really strong race, dipped under 19 and finished in 2nd for a 19:55. Mattingly earned 3rd with a 19:18 and Kendall Hayes came in 4th with a 19:31. Both of those young ladies are only 8th graders and will have many more years ahead of them to shoot for fast marks on this course. Wrapping up the top 5 was Savanna Duff from Tates Creek running a 20:03.
The team race saw Ryle, led by Bales, but also getting strong performances from Katelyn Nichols (6th) and Amanda Wright (7th), win with a score of 44. Lindbergh High School from St. Louis, MO came in 2nd with a score of 81 off the back of a strong top 3 runners Aly VanCardo (8th), Josie Korenak (9th) and Hanna Haegele (11th). Tate’s Creek finished 3rd with a score of 107.
Boys Varsity Race
The final varsity race of the day was the Boys Varsity race. Before the race Coach Hawboldt predicted 6 guys would go under 16 during the race. SPOILER ALERT: He was wrong. Last year’s runner-up, Eric Baugh came back this year hoping to better his time and come away with a victory. He wouldn’t stroll away with the race, as Ben Young of Tates Creek was also looking to win his home meet and better his time from last year as well. The two found each other at the front and rolled through the 1K in 2:58 (14:50 pace, by the way…). Eric took the next 600m to build up a slight lead over Young, and he came through the mile in 4:48 with Young a second or two behind. While Young never really went away, Baugh never looked in threat of being passed for the lead either. While Young was chasing Baugh, Robert Rupp of North Hardin was able to work his way into a comfortable 3rd, with a decent chance of passing Young if he slacked off any. From the mile to the two-mile, it was gradual, but Baugh was able to slightly pull away from Young and he crossed the two-mile in 9:51 with Young a few seconds back and Rupp in 3rd. The final mile saw little change in terms of place, but Baugh was able to punch home the victory, besting his time from last year and finishing in 15:21. Young was able to hold strong for 2nd with a 15:33 and Rupp finished 3rd with a 15:40.
In the team race, it was the guests from West Virginia, Cabell Midland who took first with 63 points. While they didn’t have a top 10 finisher, Jonathan Hathaway, Josh Minor, Brandon Atkinson, Austin Jordan, and Jeremiah Farlock were able to finish within 23s of each other and finishing 8th, 9th, 14th, 17th, and 19th. Tate’s Creek came in second with 113 also getting a boost from Alex Mortimor’s 7th place finish (15:59). Ryle was just edged out, getting 3rd with 115 point.
So I told you that Coach Hawboldt was wrong about predicting 6 guys would go under 16 in this race… That’s because there were actually 7 who achieved that feat. Congrats to all those who ran great PRs at this race and look to build on this as the season goes on!