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On a muddy course and in less-than-ideal conditions, the Eminence cross-country team continued its season over the weekend with the South Oldham Dragon Invitational on Saturday.
Eminence coach Scott McClamroch said his runners had to overcome the mud on the course and cool temperatures. The race also came at the tail end of the school’s two-week fall break, which disrupted the team’s training and focus. McClamroch is trying to get his runners back on track with the region meet less than two weeks away.
“I was a little disappointed in our times. We ran the same course last year and it was one of the faster ones we ran on but this year everyone was slower,” McClamroch said. “With everything being equal, we really should have run faster this year.”
The Warriors had three girls and two boys compete in the varsity races. After elementary, middle school and junior varsity races finished, the girls’ varsity field went to the starting line to run its 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) course. Oldham County sisters Claire and Margaret Grogan swept the first two spots in 20:06 and 20:33, and Oldham won the team title with 35 points — the top five runners from each team were added up for the team standings. Runners from either Oldham, South Oldham or North Oldham finished in the top five and were in 16 of the top-20 spots.
Shelby Potter was Eminence’s top finisher in 63rd place, covering the sloppy course in 27:52. Candace Wells finished 73rd in 31:53 and Kaelin Wright finished 74th in 40:30. Two girls were sick so did not get to run, which left Eminence two short of getting a team score.
“We had a goal of Potter running 24 minutes but she’s fighting a sore knee and a bad hip,” McClamroch said of the freshman who has been Eminence’s top runner all fall. “We’ve upped her mileage a little and trying to get a balance between practicing too much and keeping her healthy.”
The boys’ varsity field went to the line next to cap off the seven races. John Burke of Louisville Collegiate paced all runners with a 17:13 finish, followed by Austin Pfeifer of South Oldham in 17:41. South Oldham, who placed five runners in the top 16, won the team title with 34 points.
Meanwhile, Trey Harnandez finished 62nd in 22:09 and Adam Case finished 78th in 34:20 as Eminence’s only two runners in the race. This was the third race of the season for Hernandez, who ran in the 20-minute range on this same course last year, and the first-ever big race for Case.
“Honestly, it just looked like Hernandez wasn’t comfortable,” McClamroch said of the senior who also plays football. “He ran hard but he was struggling. He’s trying to work himself into shape.”
As for Case: “This kid came out just after the first meet and he’s worked very hard,” McClamroch said of the sophomore. “He has become a really big member of this team, and a leader. It’s neat to see someone like that come out and progress like he has. I’m hoping he can get under 30 minutes at our next meet.”
McClamroch said he has elected to skip the originally planned DeSales Invitational this Saturday and instead will compete at the Trimble County Invitational since Eminence’s regional race is on that course. The Warriors will race at the Meet of Champions at Masterson Station Park in Lexington on Oct. 31, the region meet at DeSales on Nov. 7 and, if any runner qualifies, the state meet at the Horse Park in Lexington on Nov. 14. The top four teams and top five runners not on a qualifying team advance from region to state.
“It’ll be a good opportunity for our runners to run on the same course as region, especially Hernandez,” McClamroch said. “We’ll run hard and see what we need to do timewise before regional gets here. We’re going to really work hard the last few weeks.”
Girls’ varsity 3.1-mile: Shelby Potter, 63rd, 27:52; Candace Wells, 73rd, 31:53; Kaelin Wright, 74th, 40:30. Boys’ varsity 3.1-mile: Trey Hernandez, 62nd, 22:09; Adam Case, 78th, 34:20. Middle school girls’ 2.5-mile: Shelby Claxton, 75th, 22:42; Brooklyne Moore, 95th, 25:22; Alexis Teters, 99th, 26:11; Kaylei Ernst, 106th, 30:03; Lyndsay Craigmyle, 107th, 30:03. Boys’ middle school 2.5-mile: Luke Satterly, 121st, 21:52; Matthew Gilbert, 134th, 23:28; Michael Ackerman, 138th, 24:47. Girls’ elementary 1.8-mile: Candace Wells, 75th, 17:02. Boys’ elementary 1.8-mile: Robert Wright, 142nd, NT.