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Rousing sendoff for Runnin’ Raiders

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Trimble cross-country athletes perform well at state

By The Staff

SPECIAL TO THE BANNER

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Everyone seemed to get into the spirit Friday to send off the Trimble County Runnin’ Raiders cross-country team to the state competition, held Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Parents and other team supporters gathered around the courthouse about 10 a.m. Friday to wave as the team bus traveled past on its way to Lexington. The bus was escorted by Trimble County Sheriff Tim Coons and took a lap around Courthouse Square before turning toward Campbellsburg on U.S. 421.

Businesses, too, got into the act, posting signs of support in their windows and decorating with blue and gold streamers and balloons.

And the Raiders did not let their supporters down. The Lady Raiders came in second of 20 teams in Class A at the meet. The boys squad came in fifth out of 27 teams in Class A.

Coach Jeff Vincent was thrilled with the showing in Lexington. “I am so happy for our girls, and especially our seniors, Alex Rand and Allison Joyce,” he said. “They deserved this type of finish in their high school career.”

Vincent was very proud of the fifth-place finish for the boys squad – particularly after a season in which the squad’s top senior runner was out for a time because of a stress fracture. Also, three of the squad’s top seven runners were knocked out by the flu in the last two weeks of the season.

“There were so many talented teams in the mix this year, so to place top five is a huge accomplishment considering some of the adversities we faced.”

Both squads place higher than expected

Expected to place fourth overall in the state, the Lady Raiders pulled all stops to take second to St. Henry Crusaders of Erlanger, topping a very competitive field.

The only other nearby district to place in the top 10 was Walton-Verona, which took sixth.

“I told the girls going into this race to expect a war,” Vincent said. “We weren’t real happy with our 6th place finish last year so was looking for a little redemption. ... We had a big race from all seven runners and were clicking.”

Four girls on the team placed among the top 33 finishers Saturday: junior Brandi Chappell placed 14th overall in 20:45, followed by Jessica Cooley, 15th, 20:47; Erin Gonterman, 22nd, 21:14; and Allison Joyce, 33rd, 21:37.

Rounding out the squad, Kylie Wilberding placed 54th in 22:20; Jessie Smith, 93rd, 23:58; Alex Rand, 129th, 25:38.

Chappell and Cooley received All State medals for finishing in the top 15.

The Lady Raiders close their season with impressive performances. They placed in the top 10 at the St. X Invitational and at the Sacred Heart Invitational; in the top eight at the Greater Louisville Classic; in the top five at the North Oldham Invitational and at the Franklin County Invitational; and in the top three at the Lexington Catholic Invitational. The squad also won the Trimble County Invitational and the North Central Kentucky Conference championship.

Seniors Rand and Joyce were dedicated to the program for the past four years, Vincent said, and will be missed.

“They have made an everlasting impact on our program,” he said. “They both will graduate never losing a regional championship and placing third, fourth, sixth – and now second – in the state.

Boys were prepared

for ‘battle’

The boys’ varsity squad pushed to a top five finish, down from fourth place in the 2008 Class A meet. They still performed better than expected, as the Trimble County boys were predicted to take sixth or seventh place.

“We knew this race would be an all out battle,” Vincent said.

Trimble was bested by St. Henry, which dominated the state Class A division taking first place in both boys and girls races; Owensboro Catholic, second; Villa Madonna, third; and Bishop Brossart, fourth. Rounding out the top 10 were Ludlow, sixth; Holy Cross (Covington), seventh; St. Mary, eighth; Walton-Verona, ninth; and Holy Cross (Louisville), 10th.

Vincent was pleased by the outcome, pointing out that in addition to Ball’s injury early in the season and the flu outbreak late in the season, the team also lost one of its top runners from 2008, who quit the team at the start of the season citing health concerns.

“We took several knock out punches however our kids never allowed excuses to keep us down,” he said. “We just kept getting up, stayed positive and continued moving forward. ... Justin Perkins, one of our top runners, was hit the worst by the flu and wasn’t able to bounce back to his normal self before the region or state meets. So yeah, the conditions weren’t quite perfect for us by any means; however, I believe my team ran great today, and I’m very proud of them.”

Individually, senior Daryl Heveline led the Raiders, placing 24th overall in 17:34. He was followed by Kevin Bailey, 26th, 17:37; senior Ball, 39th, 17:57; senior Perkins, 44th, 18:06; Kyle Howdyshell, 72nd, 18:43; Christian Apel, 113th, 19:24;   and Connor Ball, 121st, 19:33. 

The boys’ team close their season with a top 10 finish in the Greater Louisville Invitational and top five finishes at the Lexington Catholic Invitational and state; and No. 1 at the Trimble County Invitational, the NCKC meet and the Region 5 meet, held earlier this month at Trimble County Park.

“It is rare when the athletes beg to be pushed harder, but this team wanted to be better and knew what it took,” Vincent said. “Typically it is me, the coach, who does all the pushing, but they really inspired me and expected me to be at my best, too.”

He said his seniors, Taylor Ball, Heveline and Perkins, are irreplaceable. “But, what they have passed to our younger runners will have an everlasting impression on our team. We will miss them.”

Vincent said the awards banquet for the cross-country team, which includes elementary, middle and high school students, has not yet been set. Anyone wishing to attend, or wanting more information, may call him at (502) 255-3217.