KHSAA STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
BY RAY SCHAEFER
Reprinted with permission from the editor of THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
LEXINGTON Becca Chaney was nervous. It was understandable. Boyd County’s boys cross country coach did not immediately know where the Lions finished in Saturday’s state Class 2A cross country meet at the Kentucky Horse Park. A few minutes later, Corbin uncorked a group scream you may have heard inside Alltech Arena. The Redhounds edged the Lions for the team title, 134-143. Regardless, Chaney’s first words in response to an interviewer’s question were joyful. “With the team we have this year, and everything that’d keep knocking us down, these boys came back, they came back and just stepped in for each other,” Chaney said. “We’ve had injuries, we’ve lost runners, we had runners come in and out. “I can’t be more happier with them.” Corbin won its first state title, while Boyd County was the runner-up for the second straight year. “First-ever team title,” Redhounds coach Tyler Harris said. “It’s been a labor of love for me; I have a huge passion for it.” Boyd County sophomore J.B. Terrill was the first Lion to finish; he placed fifth with a time of 16 minutes, 45.35 seconds. Spencer Elswick was next in 26th place (17:28.21). “I just kept pushing through,” Elswick said. “It hurt super bad, but I just didn’t give up, slow down or anything.” A cross country basic — pack your five runners in close bunches at the finish line — aided Corbin, and not just because Sean Simons finished fourth, nearly 12 seconds ahead of Terrill. Three Redhounds, Jonah Black, Austin Terrell and John Hall, crossed quicker than Boyd County’s Elswick, Isaiah Caperton and Grant Chaffin. The Lions’ fifth runner, Mason Simmons, finished ahead of Corbin’s Logan Bargo. Taylor County senior Ryan Maynard won the race in 16:14.25. Webster County, Highlands and Lexington Catholic were third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the team standings. His high school cross country career completed, Caperton is confident about the future. “These boys, they’re gonna do awesome next year, the next couple years,” Caperton said. “They really have a good program going.' Second to one and none Ashland senior Bekah Howard isn’t sure where she’ll run in college, but she cemented her place in school history. Howard was the girls runnerup. Her 19:31.92 clocking was almost 19 seconds behind Christian Academy of Louisville’s Addi Dewey. “I’m happy, but I was gonna try to win, obviously,” Howard said. No less an authority than Ashland coach Phillip Caudill proclaimed Howard the best runner he’s ever coached in his 20 years. “We love Caudill, and I’m glad he’s been my coach for the four years, he’s always encouraging,” Howard said. “He’s funny, he helps us have a good time, but he’s also serious about the workouts, which helps us all. “It’s hard to tell when he’s serious and when he’s not.” Dewey, Howard and Scott’s Maddie Strong ran one-two-three over the first mile. Howard was anxious. “Last year, I was leading at the mile, and that didn’t really end well for me,” said Howard, who ended up fifth last year. “I was gonna try and start a little further back, but I was just caught up in the pace.” A combination of wind and trying to stay with Dewey didn’t help, either. “I think it was bad, but I wasn’t really paying attention to it because I was trying to stay up in my pace,” Howard said. “I could feel myself getting tired … I think I was more focused on the girls who were behind me, trying not to let them pass me for most of the race; at the end I was focusing on (Dewey), but it was too late.” Howard has a list of schools she’s considering – Northern Kentucky, Centre, Morehead State, Marshall, Tennessee-Martin and Eastern Illinois.
Russell’s boys finished 12th out of 32 teams and Rowan County was 16th. Davis Brown was the fastest Red Devil (25th place in 17:28.19), and Jonah Stanley was the quickest Viking (46th, 17:53.09). Scott won the girls team title over CAL, 74-97. Highlands was third, followed by Mason County and Bourbon County to complete the top five. Local top 50 finishers included: Boyd County’s Sophia Simmons (22nd, 20:37.48), Rowan County’s Autumn Egleston (24th, 20:41.06), Ashland’s Aubree Hay (29th, 20:58.94) and Boyd County’s Emily Harrington (47th, 21:28.84). In the team standings, Boyd County finished ninth of 30 squads, Ashland was 13th, Rowan County was 15th and Russell was 17th. “With the team we have this year, and everything that’d keep knocking us down, these boys came back and just stepped in for each other.” Becca Chaney, Boyd County coach