Lexington Catholic Invitational: Small School Recap
From my experiences of racing in the last 5 years or so, it seems like the Horse Park and cold/windy/rainy weather usually goes hand in hand. There are definitely some exceptions to that (State meet the last 3 years have been incredible, weather wise) but my more vivid memories come in the form of ’08 State (35 degrees and raining), ’09 Franklin Co. (first time running on the new course… after it had rained for 24 hours), and ’09 Lexington Catholic (another cold and rainy day). Today, was more on the side of the latter mentioned races as the temperature barely reached above 50 all day and a stiff breeze blew around the rolling hills of the Horse Park for most of the afternoon. All this negativity about the weather being said, whenever these high school athletes step onto the grass, mud, or dirt at the Horse Park, fast times are ran and the competition is always at its prime. Today may have been the best in recent memory, for a pre-State race at the Horse Park.
Opening up the day of competition was the boys Small School race, which included the headline athlete, Jacob Thomson. Thomson, who normally runs in the large school races at events where races are split up by school size, chose to compete with the small schools today for a variety of reasons (more details are in the interview on the meet page). So naturally the race was led out strong by Thomson who looked to not be settling early on, but starting out at a pace to break the course record set by Even Ehrenheim in 2010. A big factor used to predict whether or not Thomson would be able to break the record would be if he had help from the competition of another strong athlete such as Nicholas Laureano or Nicholas Waltman. However, as soon as the race began, it looked evident that both mentioned athletes had been content to let Thomson go for the record and begin their own race for second place. Through the first mile, Thomson came by in 4:39, while Waltman and Laureano ran behind in 4:51. Behind those two was a pack of Daniel Wolfer, Eric, Baugh, Michael Caldwell, and John Michael Griffith. Thomson continued to stay a significant ways out in front over the next mile, but never did he look as though he were straining himself too much to cover the 3.1-mile course. At the 2nd mile, Thomson came in at about 9:42 (indicating the difficulty of that second mile) with Laureano, Waltman, and Wolfer behind him in that order coming through from 10:12-10:15. At that point, the real race was for second as Thomson was way out front and on his way to pushing in a solid final mile to cover the course in a record time 15:29. Laureano out lasted Waltman in the battle between the Nicholas’s taking second in 16:19 to Waltman’s 16:28. Daniel Wolfer placed 4th with a 16:28 and Michael Caldwell rounded out the top 5 with a 16:38. The team race was not as close as it initially appeared. Looking at the race, there was quite a bit of variety of teams among that top finishers at this race, so the team that won had the strongest pack behind their lead runner and that team today was St. Henry, who won the race with a score of 80 (4-7-18-25-26). Runner up was Highlands with 138 points (8-20-30-34-46) who just edged out Walton Verona who scored 140 (12-28-29-31-40). The top four teams in class A were St. Henry, Walton Verona, Bishop Brossart, and Holy Cross (Lou.). In AA the top 4 teams were Highlands, Covington Catholic, Lexington Catholic, and Edmonson Co.
The second small school race of the day was the girls race, which featured the anticipated battle between AA powers Highlands and North Oldham and the race certainly did not disappoint. Highlands took off from the gate racing like they had something to prove. At the first turn around the trees at the top of the starting hill, Karly Gawarecki led the race but right with her was Molly Mearns, Lauren and Sidney Ossege, Erin Edmonson, Taylor Cornette, and Megan Smith. The pack switched up slightly between that point and the mile with Gawarecki, Mearns, the Osseges, Edmonson, and Smith all coming through at 5:51. The back half of the course was where the pack began to spread and the real race began to unfold. At the 2-mile, Gawarecki, Mearns, and Smith had but a slight distance between themselves and the Ossege sisters (Sydney leading Lauren) and behind them, Erin Edmonson. That front three came through the 2 mile in 12:11 and continued to battle through the back half of the course and going back through the paddock a second time, it was still anyone’s race. With half mile to go Gawarecki had made her move and had a 1 second advantage on Smith who had a 1 second advantage on Mearns. Gawarecki, much like her indirect teammate Jacob Thomson, had a strong finish giving her the victory with a time of 19:14. Mearns and Smith continued to battle behind her with Smith getting the runner up place with a 19:20 and Mearns placing 3rd in 19:22. Completing the top 5 were Sydney Ossege with a 19:30, and Erin Edmonson with a 19:38. A noteworthy finish was Lauren Ossege in 6th giving Highlands 3 out of the top 6 to lead them on their way to the team victory with a score of 45 (2-3-5-17-18). North Oldham took runner up with a score of 65 (4-7-13-15-26). St. Henry was third with a 77 (6-10-14-22-25). The top 4 teams in AA were Highlands, North Oldham, Bullitt East, and Edmonson County with Highlands and North Oldham having a large seperation on the rest of the field. In Class A, the top teams were St. Henry, Holy Cross (Lou.), Green Co. and Bishop Brossart.