Lexington Catholic Invitational: Large School Recap
It’s always a good insight on both sides to be able to see how the races play out and teams stack up in the pecking order when the small schools are separated from the large schools at the Lexington Catholic Invitational. It’s as close as we will get to a preview of the state meet and it makes for great races all day long.
The first of the large school races was the boys varsity and the big stories coming in was how low could the 5th ranked team in the nation, St. Xavier, drop the score with their full varsity squad competing together for the first time since Great American Classic and who would win the big AAA individual showdown between Patrick Gregory of Butler and the duo from St. X, Connor Sheryak and Sam Lewis. From the gun, Patrick Gregory found himself at the front of the pack with Connor Sheryak, Brady Baker of Cooper, and Daniel Southard of Daviess Co. close behind with a pack of several athletes on their heels. After the half-mile mark, Brady Baker made his move and took an early lead to open the race up. Through the first mile, it was Baker in 4:48, with a pack of Gregory, Sam Lewis, Sheryak, and Southard behind in 4:52. In the distance from the mile to the downhill on the other side of the paddocks, the 3-way battle between Gregory, Sheryak, and Lewis had begun as they picked the pace up and began to put distance between themselves and the rest of the field. In the back half of the course, Pat kept himself slightly ahead of the St. X duo and came through the 2 mile in about 10:06, with Lewis and Sheryak behind in 10:07. Pat continued to push the pace and Sheryak made his move to try to hang on and go with him. With .5 mile to go, Gregory had about a 4s gap on Sheryak and kept that lead through the finish running an impressive 15:48. Sheryak finished in second with a 15:54, and then was followed by 3 more of his teammates to round out the top five. Following Connor was Sam Lewis (16:05), Chris Striegel (16:07), and Nick Reader (16:13). St. X reminded everyone why they are #1 in AAA and #5 in the nation as they took the victory with an astounding 22 points (2-3-4-5-8). Daviess County took second with 75, led by Daniel Southard’s 6th place finish (6-11-14-20-24) and Eastern took third with 166 points (16-26-32-38-54). Also worth mentioning is St. X’s victory in the JV race with a score of 17 points. All signs point to St. X’s success continuing on for years to come.
In the girls race, much anticipation was building to see Assumption, the 5th ranked team in the nation (yes, that is the second one of those we have in the state of Kentucky) run against some of their biggest competitors within the state. To some, the fact that they ran their meet today as a tempo workout may have been a letdown for the entertainment’s sake, but the significance of their meet today and the outcome should still excite those who wish to see a Kentucky school make waves on the national scene. I’ll explain in a minute… Shortly after the gun rang out, Cassidy Hale, Maggie Allen, Samantha Simms and the trio of Daviess County in Whitney O’Bryan, Claire Payne, and Amelia Reynold found themselves at the front of the pack. The same group found themselves coming through the mile together in 5:50. In fact, even on the pack half of the course, that same group stayed within a 2 second span of each other with Maggie Allen and Whitney O’Bryan on the faster side of that gap. At the 2 mile though, the race had yet to be determined as Allen, Simms, C. Hale, O’Bryan, Payne, and Reynolds crossed in the span of 12:01 – 12:03. It would be inconceivable for that pack to stay that close over the last mile and in the distance from the 2 mile to paddocks, Maggie Allen and Whitney O’Bryan began to break away and it became a two-way battle for first. With .5 to go, Allen held a slight advantage, which she carried to victory in a time of 18:43. O’Bryan earned a very respectable runner up time of 18:52. To finish out the top 5, Samatha Simms ran a 18:58 for third, Cassidy Hale runs a 19:02 to earn fourth, and Claire Payne comes in 5th with a 19:10. Sacred Heart’s duo up front in Allen and Simms led them to victory with a team score of 63 (1-3-14-17-28). Runner up went to Assumption with a score of 68 (9-10-12-15-22) who edged out Bowling Green with 70 points (6-8-11-20-25). The perennial force of Daviess Co. was a close 4th with 81 points (2-5-7-30-37). As mentioned before, Assumption did not really “race” this meet, but treated it more like a tempo run. This became unmistakably clear to me when I was standing basically right after the 2-mile and their top 7 all ran past me collectively sitting in about 25th place. From the looks of the finish, they really hit the last mile hard as Baily Davis and Katherine Receveur still managed top 10 finishes and many of their runners finished much higher than 25th. Standing at the finish, the thought also crossed my mind that they might be able to pull off the victory and the final score was not too far off. If this team can run those times while incorporating a workout, it makes me extremely excited to watch this team begin moving towards State and Nationals form and see what this team can do on the national scene in the post season.
All this is said absolutely not trying to take away Sacred Hearts performance, which would probably be considered their best this season, or the performances of the other teams in the race today, but to bring to light the great things we all have to look forward to as teams priming for state. This November is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memories with 2 teams ranked 5th nationally, and an individual in Jacob Thomson having been ranked as high as 3rd nationally. Throw in plenty of other great talents throughout the state, and I’m watching the clock, urging it closer to November 10th.