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Eminence Cross Country team prepares for regional championships

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By Tommie Kendall

The last time Eminence had a runner at the KHSAA State Cross Country Championships was in 2005 when Richard Sanford placed 43rd, while the last time the Warriors had a girl compete at the state meet was in 1999 when Casey Hargrove placed 52nd.

Now, after a two-year streak for the boys' team and a seven-year streak on the girls' side, coach Scott McClamroch wants Eminence to be represented against the best in the state once again. But he knows it will take above-average performances to get the job done.

The Warriors will race in the Class A, Region 2 Championships this Saturday in Bardstown, which will qualify teams and runners for the state meet the following Saturday at the State Horse Park in Lexington. The top four teams will advance, along with the top seven runners not on a qualifying team.

Eminence will have four runners compete in the girls' varsity race: Kelli Hawkins, April Hernandez, Josie Hernandez and Candace Wells. And six runners compete in the boys' race: Craig Meadows, Ethan Keiser, Ballard Metcalfe, Trey Hernandez, Juan Robles and Jesus Ramoz.

"Realistically, for the boys, there are four strong teams in our region," McClamroch said of Christian Academy, Glasgow, Portland Christian and Kentucky Country Day. "We know what we need to do to qualify. Our goal is to get personal records from all of our runners. Individually, Jesus Ramoz and Trey Hernandez have the best chances of going to state. If they can run under 20 minutes, based on previous seasons, they should be able to make it."

Ramoz enters the race with a personal record of 19:54 set earlier in the season at Harry Hill Park, while Hernendez has a best time of 21:00.

"They are going to go out a little faster," McClamroch said of the duo who usually starts out towards the back of the pack before moving up. "I think if they get out well, they can stay up there and run a very good race."

Individually up front, Portland Christian is expected to set the pace with brothers Joel and Justin Wellum, who are ranked fifth and seventh in the latest Class A state rankings.

Ramoz and Hernandez, on the other hand, will be contending for one of the seven state-meet spots if the Warriors don't make it as a team with their six runners.

The Warriors got the chance to check out the regional course last month when they competed in the Hillbilly Run, and they liked what they saw on the grass loops.

"They just loved the course," McClamroch said. "Not everyone on our team ran that race, but for the one's that did it was super fast. It has just enough hills to keep you honest, but it's mostly flat."

Eminence will make the one-and-a-half hour drive to Bardstown Saturday morning. The girls' race is scheduled to get going at 3:45 p.m., followed by the boys' race at 4:40.

"Everyone has been training really well these last few weeks," McClamroch said. "I'm actually more excited about this race than any since I've been coaching here. It should be good races for us."

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.