Running at the Purple Strider Invitational last Saturday morning at Kereiakes Park, in Bowling Green, the Cougar varsity cross country team took second place in the 15-team field.
The team got a big lift after the start of the season when junior Sheldon Jones decided to re-join the team after missing the first meet of the season.
“We’re glad to have him back,” said head coach Anthony Miller, “now all we need to do is get him back in shape.”
Jones, who was the top finisher for the Cougars at last year’s state championships, had decided not to run before the start of the season, but changed his mind a couple of weeks ago.
Despite not being in his best shape, Jones was the third Cougar to cross the finish line in his first 5k race of the year, finishing 13th overall of 107 runners with a time of 18:13.24.
Sophomore Bret Crawford was the first Cougar across the line, finishing seventh with a time of 17:31.74, while junior Clay Priddy was ninth in 17:50.66.
Joining those three as points-getters were senior Justin Gallagher, 22nd in 19:02.17, and sophomore Corbin Harris, 24th in 19:05.25. Junior Jacob Hart was out of the points, finishing 61st with a time of 20:37.28.
Regional rival North Hardin took first place with a score of 58 points. The Cougars were second with 70 points, while South Warren was third with 105 points. Muhlenberg County’s Chase Geary won the individual title with a time of 16:14.04.
In the girls’ race, junior Chaley Trail finished sixth of 76 runners with a time of 21:29.44. Sophomore Maggie Lush was 49th with a time of 26:26.30. With just two runners in the varsity race, the Lady Cougars did not qualify for a team score.
Muhlenberg County took first with 38 points, while South Warren was second with 60 points, and Edmonson County was third with 88. South Warren’s Caroline Haas, an eighth-grader, won the race with a time of 20:11.13.
There were 51 runners in the girls’ middle school 3K race, and the Lady Cougars had three runners. Sixth-grader Julia Priddy finished 12th overall with a time of 14:59.11, sixth-grader Emery Crume was 21st with a time of 15:34.45, and sixth-grader Olivia Lucas was 37th with a time of 17:27.71.
Greenwood took the team title with 29 points, while Southwestern was second with 63 and South Warren was third with 80. Greenwood’s Allison Davis finished first in 13:34.25.
There were 12 teams and 98 runners in the boys 3K race. The Cougars finished 10th with 245 points. Warren East was first with 56 points, while South Warren was second with 86 and Barren County was third with 117. Seventh-grader Matthew Jones, of Southwestern, was the winner with a time of 11:29.70.
Jarrett Crawford was the first Cougar across the line, finishing 27th overall with a time of 12:59.94. Seth Elmore was 41st with a time of 13:33.16, while Noah Saltsman was third in 15:08.34. Cameron Roberson finished 72nd in 15:43.08, and Nate Saltsman right on his tail, finishing 73rd in 15:45.87 for the final point-getting spot for the Cougars. All those runners are seventh-graders.
Sixth-grader Ethan Cates was the final Cougar runner, finishing out of the points, but coming in 95th overall with a time of 21:01.33.
The girls entered four runners in the 4K JV race, with eighth-grader Teresa Graas finishing fifth overall of 18 runners with a time of 19:01.04. Seventh-grader Heather Priddy finished sixth with a time of 19:19.94, and eighth-grader Myriam Hanover was eighth in 20:15.26. Sophomore MacKenzie Arndell was 15th with a time of 23:54.81. Barren County’s Taylor Davis won the race in a time of 17:28.57.
Only one Cougar entered the boys JV race. Junior Blake Meredith finished 15th of 44 runners with a time of 16:58.40. Edmonson County took the team title with 31 points. Barren County was second with 46, and South Warren was third with 57 points. Chance Stockdale, of Edmonson County, won the race with a time of 14:19.84.
Two girls, fifth-grader Hannah Priddy, and second-grader Amyrra Kitchen, were entered in the elementary girls’ 2K race. With 77 runners entered, Priddy was 60th overall in a time of 12:06.88, and Kitchen was 69th in 13:17.78. Samantha Sutton, of St. Joseph’s, was first with a time of 8:06.63.
There were 10 teams and 104 runners in the boys’ elementary school race, and the Cougars finished eighth with 195 points. Greenwood took first with 72 points. St. Joseph’s and Natcher Elementary Schools finished in a tie with 81 points, but St. Joseph’s was awarded second as their sixth runner finished 41st, while Natcher’s next runner was 53rd.
Fifth-grader Brady Whobrey finished 19th overall with a time of 8:49.73. Fourth-grader Eli Helm was 25th in 9:02.25, fourth-grader Lucas Gallagher was 42nd in 9:25.41, fifth-grader Jacob Vincent was 69th in 10:04.11, and second-grader Jackson Crume was 74th in 10:07.17.