Assumption, Trinity win region titles
By Kenzie L. Winstead
Assumption and Trinity used superior balance to capture the Class AAA Region Three high school cross country team titles yesterday at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
The top four teams and the top seven individuals not on a qualifying team advance to Saturday's State Meet at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Assumption placed four runners in the top seven and rolled to the team title, totaling 36 points to 62 for second-place Oldham County. Sacred Heart was third, six points behind Oldham County.
Eastern sophomore Sarah Turi took the lead within the first 400 yards and never relinquished it. She ran the 5,000 meters in 19 minutes, 3.80 seconds.
Turi said she kept pushing herself despite feeling tired. "I just wanted to do my best," said Turi, who finished third in last year's region meet. "Every race is another opportunity."
Sacred Heart's Emily McAtee was the runner-up, finishing less than seven seconds behind the winner. Turi said she's aiming for at least a top-five finish at the State Meet. "I want to be in the top group of people," she said. "I think I can. I've got some good coaches. They kept pushing us."
Eastern coach Mike Horan said yesterday's close race will help Turi.
"I knew it was going to be a good race," he said. "You never want to waltz into the state championship."
Assumption coach Barry Haworth said he pleased with the Rockets' effort. "This is a good group," he said. "We just told them to go out there and run hard."
Haworth said he'll employ more strategy at the State Meet. "Manual is the favorite, without a doubt," he said. "They're very solid."
Trinity had seven of the top 13 finishers and rolled to the team title with 32 points. Oldham County was second with 90, and Eastern had 91. Oldham County senior Ken Prather took the lead at the two-mile mark and pulled away from Trinity senior Thomas Noel to win in 16:11.47. "I planned it exactly like that," Prather said. "This is great going into the state championship, a morale boost."
Shelby County freshman Stacey Eden was third.
"We ran in a good pack today, which is what we wanted to do," Trinity coach Chad Waggoner said.
The Shamrocks are trying to win their first state title since 1997. The past two seasons they've finished second to St. Xavier (last year) and Daviess County (2004). "We want to be on that podium this year," Waggoner said.