In a final tune-up before regional championships come to Henry County on Nov. 3, the Wildcats cross country team set several personal records Saturday at the Woodford County Invitational.
The meet turned out to be one of the best overall performances for the team in a long time. In fact the normally stoic coach, Ricky Drawbaugh, was visibly excited by the team’s performance. “What a day,” he said. “It’s the most excitement we’ve seen in the kids all year,” he said, “We took 15 kids and seven came home with personal records. Three others had season bests. We told them to go out and run the first mile hard and they all did. The course was accurate because a lot of the other runners were running about the same times they have the past few races.”
“Our boys pack is moving up,” Coach Victoria Michels said. “Our girls need to be alright with hurting during the race and their times could drop. We’re looking forward to the next two weeks of training, our final three speed workouts, and prepping for regions. We have such a young team, we’ve done all the physical prep work we can, these next two weeks we need to focus on mental toughness.”
For the girls, 7th grader Katherine Buckler set a personal record in just her fifth high school 5k with a time of 23:29, beating her previous best by 48 seconds. Izzy Miller had a season best time of 24:03 beating her previous mark for the season by 2:01.
The boys team had an even better day as six runners set personal records and two had season best times.
The great day started with 8th grader Brandon Handley finishing 20th in the junior varsity race in a personal best time of 20:12. Handley’s previous best was 20:51. Handley came into the season projected as a middle school runner but quickly showed that he had the ability to run at the high school level. His performance Saturday gives him the fourth best time among all of the high school runners and makes him a consideration for a varsity spot at regional.
In the varsity race, five of the seven high school runners set personal records and the other two had season best times. Sophomore Jesse Mann led the way for the Cats shattering his previous time of 20:25, finishing in 18:51 — good for a 38th place finish. Sophomore John Bates finished three places behind Mann and also broke the 19:00 mark, finishing in 18:59. Bates has set a personal record in four of the last five races starting at the Capitol View Classic where he ran a 20:04.
Sophomore Austin Peyton, who has been Henry County’s most consistent runner but has been stuck in the mid-20’s all season finally broke the 20-minute barrier, going 19:53. Freshman Josh Logsdon and junior Chase Slone also set personal marks in the race.
The Cats’ other two 2 runners, Eddie Jones and Cole Wilson had season best times to round out a very successful day for the team.
“We hope to carry over the enthusiasm from this race to this week’s practices,” Drawbaugh said. “We are hoping that we can see more improvements over the next 2 weeks at region which we are excited to be hosting.”
Boys JV 5k
20 Brandon Handley, 20:12 (PR); 40 Seth Amiott, 21:54; 48 Cameron Morgan, 23:34; 52 Connor Finley, 24:45
Girls Varsity 5k
35 Lilly Golden, 23:12; 42 Katherine Buckler, 23:39 (PR); 45 Izabelle Miller, 24:03 (SB); 65 Cathryn Fischer, 26;45
Boys Varsity 5k
38 Jesse Mann, 18:51 (PR); 41 John Bates, 18:59 (PR); 60 Austin Payton, 19:53 (PR); 66 Josh Logsdon, 21:14 (PR); 70 Chase Slone, 20:22 (PR); 74 Eddie Jones, 20:34 (SB); 78 Cole Wilson, 20:58 (SB)