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Cross-country season starts with ‘huge’ Tiger Run

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - It’s not often that a high school cross-country team can score 795 points and consider it a good day.

However, that was certainly the case in the first major meet of the high school cross-country season when the Bullitt East Chargers scored that many points in the St. Xavier Tiger Run at the old River Road Country Club course. Coach Lenny Raley’s squad posted a 28th place finish in an event that had teams from four states.

The boys’ varsity race had 385 runners, about twice the size of the Class AA State Championship meet at the end of the season. The 28th place team finish was out of 42 teams.

So, it was a strong start against top-flight competition. The winning time was 15:32.04.

Pacing the way for the Chargers was junior Brandon Wiseheart who covered the 5,000-meters in 17:47.66 which was good for 98th overall (because there were a lot of runners not on teams in this race, the final finishing spots do not equal the overall team score). Second for the Chargers was senior Brett Hatfield in 180th.

The other three runners that scored team points for the Chargers were junior Scotty McIntyre in 199th, senior Alex Cooke in 236th and freshman Tate Hatfield in 268th. Bullitt East also had sophomore Tristan Wade finish 330th and sophomore Zac Masden in 334th.

Also running individually for Bullitt East in the varsity race were junior Alex Terry and sophomore Jared Askins.

North Bullitt also took part in the Tiger Run, but put just three senior runners in the varsity race. Michael Dowell finished 83rd overall while teammate Scotty Waltrip was 116th. Fellow senior Andrew Adkins finished 162nd.

North Bullitt junior Logan Polley ran in the junior-varsity race, finishing in the top half of the field.

On the girls’ side, both Raley and North Bullitt coach Mike Whitfill opted to put all of their runners in the junior-varsity race since neither team has any seniors. The distance was still 5K, but there were slightly fewer girls as 252 competed.

It was a strong run for North Bullitt sophomore Chelsey Slayton who finished fourth in the run in a time of 20:55.27. She was the only Lady Eagle to run on this day.

Bullitt East fielded a full team of seven runners and finished eighth out of 20 squads with 218 points.

Sophomore Jessica Prell put in a strong run as she finished 10th overall in a time of 21:37.08. The rest of the finishers for Bullitt East included sophomore Abby Shelton in 52nd, junior Kortney Burkhead was 60th, and sophomore Ashley Cooke was 76th. Also running for the Lady Chargers was junior Hannah Link in 90th, junior Emily Marksbury was 100th and sophomore Breanna Devine was 197th.

The huge day of running also included a 4K run for freshmen boys. Bullitt East’s Michael Montgomery was sixth in that race while teammate Cole Green was ninth in a field of 78 runners.

Raley is working to develop a running program at younger ages for athletes in the Mount Washington area. While he coaches the high school teams, he is also putting together a ‘Bullitt East’ squad of younger runners who might attend either Eastside or Mount Washington Middle School or even one of the elementary schools as the program has runners as young as fourth graders.

There were 300 girls in the 3K middle school race. The squad representing Bullitt East finished 16th out of 30 squads. The top finisher for Bullitt East in the girls’ race was seventh-grader Caroline Collins who was tenth.

In the boys’ middle school race, the Bullitt East team was 12th out of 31 squads. The top finisher for the boys’ was eighth-grader Isaac Mitchell in 28th.

Shelby Co. Invitational

This past weekend, Bullitt East competed in a more ‘normal’ sized field as they took part in the Shelby County Invitational that was held at East Shelby Middle School.

In the boys’ varsity race, Bullitt East finished fifth out of 11 teams and there were 97 runners. The Chargers finished third out of teams in their Class AA region as they scored 133 points to finish behind Lexington Catholic, Collins, Male and South Oldham.

The top finisher for the Chargers was Wiseheart who was 12th while Brett Hatfield was 26th. The two freshmen, Montgomery and Green, were 28th and 30th while Alex Cooke was 37th. The other two Bullitt East runners were McIntyre in 38th and Tate Hatfield was 60th.

In the girls’ race, Bullitt East finished with 184 points and was sixth out of 13 schools competing on Saturday.

Collins had a strong showing in the varsity race as she was 11th while Prell was 18th. Eighth-grader Sierra Poppell was 51st while Burkhead was 57th and Shelton 60th. The other two team runners were Ashley Cooke in 62nd and Marksbury was 66th.

Bullitt East also ran Link and Devine that day.