Runners host invitational at CCC today

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By Lee Kendall

Hopefully, the third year is the charm for the Harrison County High School cross country teams.

Each of the two previous seasons, their annual Harrison County Invitational Cross Country Meet, at the Cynthiana Country Club has been postponed due to rain.

This afternoon, with rain again in the forecast, Harrison County is going to give it a go once more, again at the CCC.

“Hopefully the rain will stay away and we’ll be able to get this meet in,” said Harrison County Coach Danny Simpson on Monday. “We’ve been rained out the last two years, but we have a rain date if needed this year (Oct. 30), so we feel good about hosting this meet. Teams are anxious to come to the country club and we’re looking at a good competitive meet. Coaches and athletes love the smooth, fast, grassy surface.”

According to Simpson, the field should be very competitive this year. Walton Verona, Mason County, Grant County and Pendleton County will be favorites in the girls’ race. Individually, Kelsey McCain of Pendleton County is the defending AA state champion.

The boys’ field will be headed by Pendleton County, Grant County, Walton Verona and Harrison County.

Simpson thinks his team will be prepared to run its best tonight.

“All the races will be competitive and the times will be fast,” he said. “I know our athletes are anxious to run in Harrison County and race in front of family and friends. This venue is one of the most fan-friendly courses you can find. Spectators can see about 90 percent of the race, which is very unusual for cross country races.”

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Over fall break, the Harrison County cross country teams still found time to run.

On Saturday Harrison County traveled to Georgetown and ran in the  Scott County Classic.

The Thorobreds finished sixth overall with six teams competing, but Simpson was not displeased with the effort.

“There wasn’t a great number of teams, but the teams there were really good,” he said.  “I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them qualified for state.”

The  varsity boys showed some improvement. Ryan Puckett (8th, 17:59) and Michael May (14th, 18:56) medaled.  They were followed by Brian Schimpler (35th, 20:59), Jacob Marsh (37th, 21:01), Nicholas Whitaker (39th, 21:18), Keenan Palmer (44th, 23:20) , and Tyler Hardin (45th, 24:31).

In the varsity girls’ race, Katelyn Groom was 35th in a time of 30:17.

“Katelyn is still getting her strength back after an injury,” said Simpson.  “This was her best race of the season to date.”

Harrison County ran three boys in the J.V. race.  Jefferey Faulconer (4th, 20:24) and Wyatt Cramer (14th, 21:34) both medaled. Ethan King was 24th in 30:31.

The HCMS  boys placed third in the team standings.  In the 3000 meter race, Nathan Radford won in a time of 11:32.  Also medaling were Joe Thomas (5th, 11:51) and Joey Faulconer (11th, 12:08).

The middle school girls were fifth overall. Jessica Alas medaled placing 13th in 14:00.

In the elementary one mile race, Hannah Thomas was second in 6:47.

“Considering we had been out of school for a week, we ran pretty well,” said Simpson.  “I was pleased with how we competed. This is a big week coming up for the cross country team.  We host the Harrison County Invitational on Thursday, then on Saturday, we go to the Lloyd Juggernaut Invitational at A. J. Jolly park, the site of the regional cross country meet. It will be tough for our athletes to run two meets in three days, but it will help make us strong. There’s only two weeks left in the season and we need to be at our best.”

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The Harrison County Middle School runners went north and participated in the Northern Kentucky Elementary Championships last Wednesday.

“This has grown into a big meet, but our youngsters accounted themselves well,” said Simpson.

The middle school boys placed second while the girls were seventh. Medal winners in the 3000M race were Jessica Alas (10th, 15:55), Nathan Radford (5th, 13:05), Joey Faulconer (8th , 13:24), and Joe Thomas (9th, 13:25).  Austin Short was 23rd (7:57) and Hannah Thomas medaled in the 2000M race. Luke Bradford (20th, 5:01) medaled in the 1000M race.