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The Kentucky state cross-country championship for middle-school and elementary-school athletes was a popular event this past Saturday at Masterson Station Park in Lexington, Ky.
The event drew 3,318 athletes ranging from kindergarteners to seniors.
The “young” Runnin’ Raiders of Trimble County earned some respect, claiming two state titles and one runner up. They also claimed many Top 50 finishes among individual runners.
In the girls’ middle-school open championship, TCMS seventh-graders Morgan Chappell and Kirsten Baird wowed the crowd.
Chappell won the race and Kirsten Baird fought back to place second overall out of 121 runners. Both Chappell and Baird earned medals.
Sara Swanger placed 32nd and earned a medal; Kayla Bailey placed 83rd; and NiNi Cabada finished 110th overall.
In the boys’ middle-school open championship race, eighth-grader D’Angelo Mori placed 16th of 151 runners to earn a medal. Brennan Kunkel placed 36th and also earned a medal. Johnathon Papai placed 72nd; Robert Harris, 82nd; Calvin Brown, 98th; and David Arteaga, 120th.
In the girls’ middle-school state championship race, eighth-grader Kylie Wilberding placed 58th out of 389 runners.
In the girls’ fifth- and sixth-grade open state race, fifth-grader Daniella Tebib finished ninth out of 70 runners to earn a medal. Olivia Harris placed 33rd and also earned a medal, and Lily Arteaga finished 54th.
In the boys’ fifth- and sixth-grade open state race, Trimble fifth-grader Stevie Swanger beat out 107 runners to win the race and a medal. He was followed by sixth-grader, Brady Callis, who placed 14th, Kolton Starks placed 33rd, and Aaron Haney placed 34th – all three also earned medals. Shawn Jaggers placed 93rd.
In the girls’ fourth-grade and under state championship, Trimble fourth-grader Sara Whitaker placed 28th overall to earn a medal. Shelby Papai finished 98th. There were 205 girls in the race.
In the boys’ fourth-grade and under open state race, Trimble third-grader Beau Turner finished 15th out of 78 runners; teammate Ian Carter, also a fourth-grader, placed 41st, and Robbie Lester finished 46th. All three earned medals. Trimble’s Isaac Schwarz finished 52nd overall.
“Coach Mario Caudillo is to be commended for his dedication and work with these kids,” said Trimble cross-country Head Coach Jeff Vincent. “He does an outstanding job, and the kids really respond to him.”
Vincent said the youngsters ran with heart and promise a strong future for the program when they reach high school.
“It was so fun to watch them really go out there and compete. We had 15 kids earn medals today, which is an accomplishment at the state level,” he said. “They have worked hard and made so much progress throughout the season.”