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SHEPHERDSVILLE - For perhaps the first time in history, all three Bullitt County high schools could field full teams this week in the regional cross-country meets in Jefferson County.
While all the schools have had programs in recent years, they didn’t always have enough to fill all the spots available. In cross-country, teams can run as many as seven runners in a meet with the top five times earning team points.
Bullitt Central will help themselves the most by having a full team, especially on the girls’ side. In regional meets, the more teams that compete then the most teams can qualify to advance to next week’s state championships in Lexington. Bullitt Central will be the seventh full team in its region, meaning that the top four teams will advance and then the next five best individuals not on those top teams.
Those numbers could definitely help coach Martin Tallent’s team. Tallent doesn’t think his team will be up for one of the top four team spots, but with those runners out of the way, that could open individual spots for sophomore
Cindy Kiefer and freshman Alyssa Shifflett.
What Tallent isn’t worried about is his top runner, sophomore Rachel Thacker. She qualified for the state meet last season, the first Bullitt Central runner in almost a decade to do that. She is back stronger this year and will be in line for a top-10 finish in a strong field that includes Manual, the state’s top team in Class AAA.
The other Bullitt Central runners on Saturday will be juniors Sam Fox, Bethany Dixon and Katy Miller along with sophomore Morgan Hoover.
The Bullitt Central boys’, under hed coach Mark Klaczak, will have six runners competing on Saturday. The top two threats for individual spots include junior Dylan Fowler and sophomore Randy Hurst. The other team members include junior Ryan Parker, sophomore Eric Simon and freshmen Daniel Sims and Cameron Hurst.
Bullitt Central will be competing in the Class AAA event at the old River Road Country Club. The girls’ race is at 2:30 p.m. with the boys’ event scheduled for 3:15 p.m.
Bullitt East and North Bullitt will be in the Class AA regional on Saturday at McNeely Lake Park in southern Jefferson County. The girls’ race will start at 1:45 p.m. and the boys’ race will be at 2:30 p.m.
Like Bullitt Central, those two teams face tough competition at the team level.
Bullitt East head coach Lenny Raley hopes that his boys’ team can fight for the fifth and final team spot to get to state. The Chargers are led by freshman Brandon Wiseheart and sophomore Brett Hatfield. Wiseheart advanced to the state meet last season.
Also running for the Chargers will be junior Christian Bailey and sophomores Jacob Duvall and Alex Cooke along with freshmen Scotty McIntyre and Alex Terry.
On the girls’ side, Bullitt East has a strong freshman in Emily Marksbury but she has been sick the past two weeks. She was back running earlier this week and could grab a spot in the top ten.
The only other high school runner for the Lady Chargers is sophomore Ashley Duvall. The rest of the team includes eighth-grader Jessica Prell and seventh-graders Mickalla Purvis and Cory Gollar.
North Bullitt is getting its program up to speed under coaches Mike Whitfill and Rebecca Rink.
The boys’ team on Saturday could include Michael Dowell who is the team’s top runner. The others will be junior Niko Harris, sophomores River Mills, Keith Miller and Adrian Wethington.
The Lady Eagles’ team could include sophomore Alexa Hughes who was the top finisher for the team in the DeSales Invitational. Other team members include juniors Meri Brian and Casie Johnson along with sophomores Jade Amburgey and Rebekah McAuliffe along with freshman Natascha Harris.
There is not a single senior on any of the six Bullitt County teams this fall and only a handful of juniors. The future of the sport is looking up in the county.