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Coach Woods pleased with meet’s results

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By Tommie Kendall

Against a crowded field of runners on a day filled with question marks, head coach Greg Woods said he was obviously pleased with his Henry County cross-country team. Those pre-meet questions were answered at the Shelby County Invitational on Saturday as the runners toed the starting line for the first time this season.

Eighth-grader Cathryn Fischer led Henry with a 19th-place finish in the girls’ varsity race, while her sister Cassey, a sophomore, finished just three places later in 22nd. In the boys’ varsity race, junior Eric Phillips finished 27th, senior Travis Farmer finished  87th, sophomore Hayden Hughes finished 89th, sophomore Clint Diven finished 110th and freshman Matt Petree finished 127th. The Henry boys’ team was 15th out of 17 schools.

“Overall, it was a good start to the season and a good experience,” said Woods, who stepped back into the head coaching role for the first time in three years. “I was pleased. I thought the times were good and I was happy with everyone’s performance. It’s a good sign that we’ve been training well.”

Paul Dunbar’s Megan Klein and Amanda Hancock swept the top two spots with times of 19 minutes, 43 seconds and 19:53 for the 5,000-meter hilly course. As for the two Henry runners, Cassey led Cathryn the first half of the race before Cathryn moved ahead and finished with a surprising new personal record of 21:11. Cassey, who holds the school record with a 20:27 set last November, was 10 seconds back at 21:21. It was a good start for both runners, and points them in the right direction with the state meet still two months away.

“I think they have the chance to do something special this year,” Woods said. “We haven’t done any real speed work yet, so when we start doing that and add intensity, their times will start to drop even more.”

In the boys’ varsity race, Darius Berry of Butler was the first to the finish line in 16:35. Phillips, in his first cross-country race, led Henry with the 27th-place finish in 18:25. Farmer used a quick final 400 meters to pass Hughes — they were timed at 20:31 and 20:32. Diven finished at 21:52 and Petree at 25:28.

“I thought it was especially a good experience for the boys because for most of them this was their first race,” Woods said. “Going into a big meet like this, it was good for them. They got the chance to see what it’s like.”

Butler won the boys’ team title with 56 points. Henry finished 15th with 389 points.

HCHS Results

Girls’ varsity 3.1-mile: Cathryn Fischer, 19th, 21:11; Cassey Fischer, 22nd, 21:21. Boys’ varsity 3.1-mile: Eric Phillips, 27th, 18:25; Travis Farmer, 87th, 20:31; Hayden Hughes, 89th, 20:32; Clint Diven, 110th, 21:52; Matt Petree, 127th, 25:28. Girls’ middle school 1.8-mile: Haley Bramblett, 74th, 14:59. Boys’ middle school 1.8-mile: Ethan Smith, 94th, 13:45; Chase Slone, 96th, 13:53; Cole Wilson, 115th, 14:25; John Bates, 154th, 15:37; Chris Redmon, 156th, 15:47; Ethan Lay, 160th, 16:14. Girls’ elementary 1-mile: Katherine Buckler, 39th, 7:45; Madison Doktor, 72nd, 8:16; Justice Kirk, 79th, 8:23. Boys’ elementary 1-mile: Zack Hinkle, 10th, 6:32; Andrew Landers, 76th, 7:41; Cameron Morgan, 106th, 8:03; Alec Pennington, 111th, 8:07; Colton Hinkle, 139th, 8:27; Jacob Redmon, 173rd, 8:52.