Sprinting for the lead in the last 200-meters of Saturday’s Region 2 Cross Country Championships, held at the Hardin County Fairgrounds, in Glendale, sophomore Bret Crawford managed to hold off the rest of the field to win the individual title.
“I started sprinting at the three-mile mark and got the lead,” Crawford said following the race. “I wasn’t sure I could hold it; my legs were awfully tired.”
But he was able to hold the lead, nipping Bowling Green’s Kyle Johnson for the win. Crawford finished the 5K race with a time of 16:22.07, just ahead of Johnson, whose time was 16:23.70.
With the win, Crawford becomes the fourth GCHS runner to claim a regional crown. Barry Lucas won in 1984, and Jeremy Saltsman won in 1996. Billy Wells also won a regional title, but the year he won it was unclear to people familiar with the program.
The Cougars, who were the defending Region 2 champions, finished in a tie with Bowling Green for first place with 64 points apiece, but the Purples were awarded first after their sixth man, Owen Hanna, finished two places ahead of Grayson County’s sixth man, Justin Gallagher. Hanna finished 26th overall with a time of 17:59.20, while Gallagher was 28th with a time of 18:06.52.
Both the Purples and the Cougars will run in next week’s State Cross Country Championships at the Horse Park, in Lexington, along with third-place finisher North Hardin (66 points), and fourth-place Central Hardin (80 points).
For the second straight year, junior Chaley Trail has qualified for the state finals after her 12th-place finish in the girl’s 5K. Trail finished with a time of 21:07.70 despite fighting an illness which had sidelined her for the past three weeks.
The girls’ race was notable for the fact that the winning team, Bowling Green, finished with a perfect, 15-point score, meaning their first five runners finished in the top five spots. Their sixth runner, Van Games, was just edged out by Barren County’s Ally Davis by less than five seconds.
The three other girls’ teams qualifying for the state finals were Barren County, second with 77 points, Central Hardin (94), and North Hardin (95). Grayson County finished seventh with 175 points. The individual crown went to Bowling Green’s Clara Scott, whose time was 19:31.45.
The Cougars put four of its top five runners in the top 20 to earn second place. Junior Sheldon Jones finished eighth with a time of 16:55.18, junior Clay Priddy was 14th in 17:24.78, and sophomore Bradley Stone was 17th in 17:30.47. Sophomore Corbin Harris was the final points-getter, finishing 24th overall with a time of 17:50.13.
Gallagher was 28th and junior Blake Meredith finished 42nd with a time of 19:14.33. Though Meredith finished out of the points, it was still a good day for him as he shaved some 50 seconds off his previous personal-best time.
Others earning points for the Lady Cougars included seventh-grader, Heather Priddy, 35th in 23:15.73, eighth-grader Myriam Hanover, 41st in 23:52.48, eighth-grader Teresa Graas, 44th in 24:47.63, and sophomore Maggie Lush, 48th in 28:15.45. Lush has been battling an injury to her knee for the past few weeks that has been causing her kneecap to float out of its place, but she said she was determined to finish this race.
Sophomore Mackenzie Arndell was the final Lady Cougar across the line, finishing 51st with a time of 32:54.85.