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Cross Country Cats run at state meet

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By Greg Woods

 sports@hclocal.com

The Henry County Wildcats cross country team traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park Saturday to take part in the state high school cross country meet

Despite blue skies on race day, the course had to be altered by meet officials because rains flooded the usual start line area earlier in the week. The start and finish lines were moved about 50 yards in order to make for a safe start to the races.

Running in the Class 2A race the Wildcats’ young boys team finished 28th of 32 teams. Keegan Kurtz led the Wildcats with a time of 18:38 and finished 83rd in the field of 256 runners. John Fischer finished in 145th place with a time of 19:28. Jackson Fischer crossed the line next for the Wildcats in a time of 19:43 to finish in 160th place. Avery Stivers was the fourth Wildcat to cross the line in a time of 20:26 to finish in 194th place. Tristan King rounded out the team score with a 208th place finish in a time of 20:54.

Jackson Woods finished as the Wildcats sixth runner in a time of 21:43 for a 232nd place finish and Ryan Phillips, who lost a shoe during the race due to the muddy conditions finished in 241st place with a time of 22:25.

Colton Bullington of Warren East High School won the individual championship with a time of 16:20.

The Wildcats will return all of their runners for next season as they have two juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen on the squad. The team also qualified for state last year.

Lexington Catholic won the team title with a score of 85 points. Highlands was second with 163 points.

Kayla Harger and Janey Thompson, who qualified individually for the race, represented the Lady Cats.

Harger finished 82nd in the field of 236 runners with a time of 22:20. Thompson finished in 203rd place with a time of 26:09.

Maggie Schroeder of Highlands won the individual title with a time of 19:07. Addi Dewey of Christian Academy of Louisville was second in 19:24.

Covington Scott won the team title with 106 points. Highlands was a close second with 115 points.

Harger, a freshman for the Lady Cats, missed most of the season with an injury but was able to come back in time to make her second appearance at the state meet. Harger finished 34th last season in a time of 20:58. Thompson was making her third appearance at the state meet.

“I think the team’s performance was great,” HCHS coach Tony Kurtz said. “We were running with the best in the state. Some of our runners got bunched up in the crowd in the first mile and that slowed their opening mile some. Keegan and Kayla did a great job leading their teams.”

Kurtz is pleased with the progress of the team in his second season as the coach.

“Looking back on our season, I think we had a great one,” Kurtz said. “Our young, but experienced, boys team had an outstanding year going back to state for the second straight year. The girls team had a lot of injuries that affected them but overall, I’m proud of those girls for pushing through and finishing the season.”

Kurtz will miss his two seniors.

“You always hate to see a season come to an end, especially when you have seniors,” he said. “Gracie Golden is a great leader and role model. She pushed through many races in pain to finish. Janey Thompson played soccer and ran cross country again this season. We are going to miss both of those girls.”

Kurtz appreciates the help he got from the families of his runners this season.

“Thanks to all the parents and grandparents who helped out this season,” he said. “I’m already looking forward to next season.”