By Josh Moore, www.kentucky.com
Mud-spattered Lexington high school runners made the best of a sloppy Kentucky Horse Park course on Saturday, as several of the city’s teams had strong performances on a slightly-altered 5-kilometer course.
“Everybody has to run in the same conditions,” Lexington Christian Academy freshman Anna Rupp said. “Who’s going to handle it the best?”
Due to heavy rain in previous days that water-logged much of the dirt and grass course, it had to be pushed up 55 meters. But most runners were hardly affected by the changes.
For the second straight year, Louisville Holy Cross handled the course the best in the Boys’ 1A championship. Lexington Christian Academy finished second. On the girls’ side, Bishop Brossart also recorded their second straight championship and LCA came in second— its highest finish ever.
The girls’ 1A race was a tactical battle from the beginning. Rupp, the LCA freshman, battled with Morgan County senior Kailee Perry most of the way. But by the end of the second mile, Rupp had established a lead and held on to win the individual title with a time of 19:02.50.
Rupp said that knowing that Perry, who won the 2016 state championship race, wasn’t far behind her helped her finished strong.
“Come on, come on, come on,” Rupp said her coach yelled to her in the final stretch. “You got to go, (Perry) is still in it and she’s really fast.”
“I was like, ‘I’m trying,’” Rupp said with a laugh.
Videos of the race and interviews:
SUMMARY FROM LCA CROSS COUNTRY
Girls and Boys State Runner-Ups, Rupp Girls State Champion; Hayes Boys 3rd at the 2018 KHSAA State Cross Country Meet
On Saturday November 3rd, the LCA Girls and Boys Cross Country teams traveled to The Kentucky Horse Park to compete in the 2018 KHSAA State Cross Country meet following their Region 5A team champion finishes the previous week. They were greeted with 40 degree temperatures and a wet, muddy and sloppy course. Course conditions were such that the start and finish lines were moved, as was part of the traditional course, due to the hazardous footing. Even with the last minute changes, both teams embraced the day and performed admirably.
The first race of the day was the Boy’s Class A with the team entering with the #2 seed. Individually, Sophomore Connor Hayes was seeded #3 and Senior Andrew Madden #5. From the gun the boys went out hard, leading the team race at the 1-mile mark led by Connor in 2nd and Andrew in 3rd who were part of a 5 runner breakaway lead pack. In the end the boys team finished second claiming the KHSAA Class A Boys Team Runner-Up trophy. Despite the sloppy conditions, Connor ran the 6th fastest Sophomore time in race history on the New Horse Park Course placing 3rd with Andrew finishing 5th. Freshman Lukas Furgason (17th), Sophomore Taco Nsimpasi (31st), Seniors Elijah Brand ((55th), Caleb Harper (62nd), and Malcolm Palmer (74th) rounded out the team scoring. During their high school careers, the Boys Senior Class of 2019 Cross Country runners (Andrew, Elijah, Caleb and Malcolm) have earned two State Champion Team Titles, one State Runner Up and one State 3rd Place team finishes.
After the boys finish, the girls took to the course for their state meet race. Like the boys, the girls came into the race as the #2 team seed. (behind the defending State Champion team from Bishop Brossart) Freshman Anna Rupp came to the starting line as the #1 individual seed. Anna ran a patient race, slowly extending her lead through the first two miles and came home with a 14 second margin of victory for the Girls Individual State champion title and the #13 all-time Freshman girl state meet time. The rest of the girls team also ran a patient race passing through the 1-mile mark in 4th place and the 2-mile mark in third 3rd place. 7th grade sisters Hadley (36th) and Abby (47th) Bronski both ran outstanding with 30 second plus personal best times. Couple that with solid performances by Seniors Kendall Hayes (55th) Madeline Pulliam (61st), Sophomore Allison Whitaker (111th) and Junior Lauren Suiter (139th) and when the scores were tallied, the girls had earned a well-deserved podium finish as the 2018 KHSAA Class A Girls Runner-Up Team. This was the last high school cross country race for Class of 2019 Seniors Kendall and Madeline. Like the Class of 2019 boys, they have experienced great team finishes during their 4 years with 8th place in 2015, State Runner Up in 2016, 3rd in 2017 and State Runner Up in 2018.
Named to the 2018 KTCCCA All-State Girls team was Anna Rupp with Connor Hayes, Andrew Madden and Lukas Furgason earning All-State honors on the Boys side.