Before the start of the men’s race at the Kentucky-Indiana Border Clash last Tuesday at Yellow Creek Park, in Owensboro, Grayson County senior Bret Crawford told a teammate, “I’m going for the win today.”
Those turned out to be prophetic words as the two-time 3rd Region cross country champion smoked the field of 346 runners, winning in a time of 16:31.90, more than 10 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Quentin Pierce, from Indiana’s Castle High School.
“It was a feeling I had, but it was also something I thought I could accomplish,” Crawford said on Thursday. “Coming into the season I felt more confident that I had trained harder than I did last season. It made me feelI I could make up those last four spots.”
His winning time was under his time from the previous year, but he attributed that mainly to the heat at the start of the race.
“A big part of it was the heat,” he said. “It was really humid… sticky hot. Everybody ran slower.”
There was a huge field for this, the first cross country race of the season. There were 26 teams and 346 runners in the men’s race, while there were 20 teams and 217 runners in the women’s race.
The start of the women’s race was pushed back because of the heat, with the starting gun right at 6 p.m. That race was also shortened from its intended 5K format, back to a 4K. Evansville Memorial’s Presley Warren was the women’s champion, winning with a time of 15:29.50.
First-year runner Hailey Stallings, an eighth-grader, wore the blue jersey indicating the top Grayson County runner and she was the first Lady Cougar across the line, finishing 62nd overall with a time of 18:32.90.
The Cougar men finished seventh as a team with 251 points. Tell City, Indiana won the team title with 91 points, edging out second place Meade County, with 93 points. Madisonville North Hopkins was a distant third with 144 points.
Jasper, Indiana was the women’s team winner with 76 points. Evansville North was second with 88 points, while Meade County was third with 101 points. The Lady Cougars finished 14th with 351 points.
Senior Corbin Harris was the second Cougar across the line, finishing 17th in 17:48.60. Sophomore Zach Beville was 44th in 18:39.20 and freshman Jarrett Crawford was 78th in 19:19.90. Freshman Eli Thomas was the last of the Cougars to earn points, coming in 133rd in 20:19.20.
The Cougars were without one of their top runners, senior Bradley Stone, who does double duty on the Cougar soccer team. With Stone in the lineup, the Cougars figure to place even higher in the future.
Those earning points behind Stallings for the Lady Cougars included freshman Grace Gorby, who finished 68th overall with a time of 18:36.52. First year runner, sophomore Shannon Smith, was right behind Gorby, finishing 71st in 18:39.20. The top three Grayson County runners finished within seven seconds of one another. All cross country runner desire to finish bunched up to maximize their score.
Freshman Heather Priddy finished 102nd in 19:33.12, while eighth-grader Kaylee Masden was 114th in 20:06.00.
Cougar runners finishing out of the points included: freshman Cameron Roberson, 168th in 20:55.10; freshman Noah Saltsman, 170th in 20:55.60; sophomore Ethan Davis, 177th in 21:11.00; senior Seth Davis, 181st in 21:15.90; freshman Luke Weedman, 220th in 22:03.60; freshman Nate Saltsman, 286th in 24:41.70; freshman Brennan Childress,334th in 29:23.50.
Other runners for the Lady Cougars included: eighth-grader Emery Crume, 131st in 20:45.50; eighth-grader Rachel McMahan, 160th in 21:45.00;eighth-grader Olivia Lucas, 170th in 22:12.30; freshman Kayla Matthews, 184th in 23:07.10; freshman Kennedy Childress, 194th in 24:04.80; freshman Dana Clark, 205th in 24:53.60; freshman Dana Phillips, 215th in 26:49.70.
The full Grayson County cross country squad will compete this Saturday in the Raider Twilight Run, hosted by Warren East High School at Ephraim White Park, in Bowling Green. Elementary school races are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.