LOUISVILLE - Competing in cold, rainy weather is never easy in any sport, but it can be downright difficult in a major cross-country race.
That is what the Bullitt Central cross-country teams found themselves having to do on Saturday in the Class AAA, Region 3 Championships at Louisville Champions Park (the old River Road Country Club course) in the middle of the afternoon.
While everyone had to compete under the same conditions, it didn’t help the Lady Cougars as they came up short of their goal of qualifying for the Kentucky State Championships for a fourth straight season. Instead, the team finished sixth and only senior Alyssa Shifflett and sophomore Lauren Redding advanced to this coming Saturday’s big meet in Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Shifflett has been one of the area’s top runners all season and she ran another sub-20 race as she finished sixth n a powerful field that included defending state champion Cassidy Hale of Manual High School. Hale ran away from the field and won easily in a time of 18:28.40, beating her twin sister, Kristen Hale who was second in 19:06.70.
Shifflett was in the next group of runners as she posted a time of 19:41.20 to finish sixth overall.
Redding ended up being the fifth and final individual qualifier as she finished 24th in a time of 21:33.00.
“They both ran great races under adverse conditions,” Bullitt Central girls’ coach Martin Tallent said later.
Tallent says that Shifflett has run the fastest 5K time by a Bullitt County runner since the girls began running that distance.
Bullitt Central also had freshmen Kelsey Phillips finish 32nd in 22:04.30, just head of teammate Chasity Wilson, a sophomore, who had a time of 22:10.90. In addition, Bullitt Central eighth-grader Alyssa Renfrow was 40th in 23:16.00.
Also running for the Lady Cougars on Saturday were senior Nellie Lawrence and sophomore Emily McKnight.
Going into the event, Tallent was conceding the top two spots in the team battle to Manual and Butler and that is how it worked out. Manual won was only 25 points while Butler was second with 37 points.
Tallent was hoping that his young squad could have a strong day and run in contention with Male, Nelson County and Meade County for the next two team qualifying positions. That just didn’t happen as Male was third with 88 points and Nelson County fourth with 96 points.
Meade County did not advance either as they were fifth with 121 points while Bullitt Central was sixth with 135 points.
Class AAA Boys
Bullitt Central is really rebuilding its boys’ program under first-year head coach Kevin Gose and they ran just one senior on Saturday as the team finished seventh in the highly competitive Class AAA, Region 3 race.
St. Xavier dominated the event, finishing with 17 points (15 points is a perfect score in cross-country) while Meade County was second with 62 points. Butler and Manual also qualified as a team.
Bullitt Central collected 207 points when put them ahead of Pleasure Ridge Park.
The first Bullitt Central runner back to the line was sophomore Bradley Mahaffey in 32nd with a time of 18:08.50. Bullitt Central junior Jonathan Rogers was 34th with a time of 18:22.00 while freshman Isaac Mitchell was 45th in a time of 18:59.40. The Cougars’ only senior, Matt Simon, finished 47th in 19:05.10 while the fifth finisher was junior Jordan Stamper in 49th in 19:28.40.
Also competing for the Cougars on Saturday was sophomore Kasey Cottier and sophomore Tanner Manning.