Runnin’ Raiders surprise rivals with fourth-place finish at state meet

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By The Staff

Expected to place seventh in the state meet, the Trimble County Cross Country boys team surprised the state field last weekend by placing fourth overall. The fourth place finish is the highest placing in school history, outside of the 1954 State Championship.

The rain, sleet, wind and cold weather didn’t slow the Raiders boys down as they placed five guys under the 18:01 mark and finishing with a team average of 17:40, the fastest Trimble County team in school history.

“This is the weather we were hoping for. Our kids can block out weather conditions and perform well. Some teams have problems doing this, so the nasty weather was in our favor,” Coach Jeff Vincent said after Saturday’s race.

The Raiders avenged their regional and conference losses by stunning rivals Burgin, Lexington Christian and Walton Verona.

St. Henry won the title with 87 points. Villa Madonna was second with 110 points and Bishop Brossart finished third with 124 points. Following Trimble’s fourth place finish, 146 points, were Owensboro Catholic in fifth, 174 points, Lexington Christian garnering sixth, 193 points, and Walton Verona bringing home seventh with 218 points.

Holy Cross Covington, Burgin and St. Mary rounded out the top ten with 234, 242 and 275 points, respectively.

In all, 28 teams competed in the boys race to the state championship.

“We definitely surprised a lot of teams today. We were expected to finish seventh, but I guess our boys had different plans. I knew we had this performance in us, however it just had not happened yet. It couldn’t have happened on a better day though,” Vincent said.

The Runnin’ Raiders Our team is very young and we had three girls run in their first state meet ever and I think they did great. We’ll be back up there next season,” Vincent said.

The young Lady Raiders were led by junior Allison Joyce, placing 26th in 20:44. Sophomore Jessica Cooley followed close behind, finishing 28th in 20:47. An under-the-weather Brandi Chappell fought to a 35th place finish in 21:03. Seventh-grader Erin Gonterman finished 54th in 21:36, a new personal best time. Eighth-grader Kelsie Courtney, coming off an injury, placed 74th in 22:22, also a personal best time. Freshman Hannah Davis placed 81st in 22:36, again a new personal best time, and junior Alex Rand finished 120th in 23:47.

“I am very proud of this team. Finishing only four points out of third place is something to be proud of. If each girl passed one more person we would have got third. That’s how close it was. I thought all of the girls ran their hearts out. This team really made progress throughout the season. We lost a great leader, Valerie Thomas, last year so we knew this would be a transition season. However, the girls pulled together and made it an exciting year. If all of these girls come back out next season, look for great things to happen,” Vincent added.

The Lady Raiders finished their season as NCKC Runner-up, Region Champions, and placing sixth overall in the state meet.