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The Trimble County Raiders cross-country teams returned from the 2010 Kentucky State Cross Country this weekend with great news.
The girls team took fifth place out of 23 teams in the Class A meet, held Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, while the boys team took sixth place.
Head Coach Jeff Vincent said he is proud of both teams’ efforts and praised the runners’ hard work – particularly the seniors.
“This has been a great season, and a lot of fun from the beginning,” he said. “Words can’t express the impact [seniors Brandi Chappel and Jessica Cooley] made on this program. ... [And] Kyle Howdyshell, Mike Baird and newcomer Sam Moore have been amazing all season long. Their leadership, dedication, and coachable attitudes will truly be missed next season.”
Weather conditions Saturday were perfect, and record crowds filled in around the new state course to watch the races.
The Lady Raiders fought hard to log 147 points total, and managed to improve their team average by 14 seconds, Vincent said.
Cooley led the team, finishing 26th overall in 20:53:10. She was followed by Erin Gonterman in 27th place, 20:53.40; Morgan Chappell, 32nd; and Kylie Wilberding, 33rd.
In the Class A boys race later that day, the Raiders defied the odds to place sixth out of 27 teams in the meet.
Senior Kyle Howdyshell led his team, placing 27th overall in 17:30. He was followed by Kevin Bailey and Christian Apel, who finished 51st and 52nd in 18:10; and senior Mike Baird, 55th in 18:14.
“We were picked to finish 11th in the state, and not win our region or our conference,” Vincent said of the boys team. “However, this team decided to ignore what others had to say and prove some people wrong by winning region, conference, and finishing among the top six at the state meet.”
Vincent said this is the third year, too, that the boys team was the first of public school teams to finish at the state meet. “That means we are three-time public school state champs,” he said.
While he said the seniors on both teams will be missed in 2011, he is optimistic that the underclassmen next year will return ready to work hard and win.
“I can already tell the returning boys are hungry for success and will do big things next season,” he said.
As for the girls: “They are a talented and gusty group and didn’t like the fact that we weren’t on that stage this year,” he said. “I look for us to bounce back pretty strong next season.”
The cross-country program wraps up the season with its annual banquet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the high school.