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Eden signs to run for UK

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By Laura Clark

SCHS senior Stacey Eden signed a letter-of-intent Monday to run at the University of Kentucky, adding to his extensive list of running accomplishments.

"This is the culmination of a lot of hard work," SCHS Coach Randy McDowell said. "I've always expected great things from him."

McDowell said in a ceremony in the school's library that he remembered seeing Stacey run when he first began six years ago. McDowell was coaching in Frankfort at the time.

"Seeing Stacey out there running, mostly just hair, nothing else," McDowell teased. "He's mostly just dominated the sport."

In cross country Eden finished second in the state as a junior and fourth as a senior. He won the regional meet as a sophomore and junior. And in track as junior, Eden won the state 3,200-meter event.

And this was just for his SCHS career.

Eden spent several years running under coach Ed Newton with the West Side Track Club in Louisville and was a member of two national championship 3,200-meter relay teams and recorded several overall AAU national championship team victories.

Newton said Eden wowed the field by running under nine minutes in the 3,000-meter race one year.

"Stacey made this team better," Newton said. "This is a dream. Shelby County, you've got a superstar here."

The signing was a joyful way to cap what Eden described as a disappointing cross-country season. He had gotten a slow start after injuries sustained in a BMX biking accident. Then halfway through the season, he contracted strep throat.

"I kept running through it, and it only made me sicker," Eden said.

After the state meet, Eden took a week off before running the 5-kilometer race at the Footlocker Southern Regionals in Charlotte, N.C.

"I ended up running my best time by 15 seconds or so," he said. "I was surprised, but afterward that's how I knew I should've been running all year."

Eden joins a UK signing class that includes top state runners Ryan Eaton of Greenwood, Robbie Scharold of Campbell County and Matt Hildebrand of St. Xavier.

"They're basically getting the top two runners in the state in cross country as well as the top two 800-meter runners," Eden said. "We're going to be awesome here in the next few years."

In addition to a strong team, Eden was drawn to UK for its location and coaches Don Webber and John Mortimer.

"I felt like I'd probably spending more time with them than anybody, so that's really important," he said.

Eden received a partial athletic scholarship to the Division I school for track and cross country. In cross country, the race distance increases to 8K and 10K from high school's 5K.

"It should be harder," he said, "but I've always felt that the longer the distance, the better it is for me. So hopefully I'll do well."