Karas, Solinger should be ‘up’ for title runs

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By Josh Cook

In one of the most surprising results of the cross-country season, Collins freshman Gabby Karas lost (?!) a race.


Karas finished second to Lexington Catholic freshman Michaela Reinhart in the Small School race of Catholic’s Invitational on Oct. 19 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Karas, however, freely admits that she wasn’t in “it” mentally that day, when she covered the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 33.15 seconds (Reinhart won in 18:22.18).

Motivation shouldn’t be a problem Saturday, though, in the KHSAA State Championships. Karas will be gunning for her third consecutive state title and her third consecutive record-setting performance. She won her first state title in 2011 in a then-2A record 18:30.31. Then, last year she set a course record – 17:44.18.

Her goal for Saturday?

“To break the state course record again, which is seventeen-forty-four,” Karas said last Saturday, after winning the 2A, Region 3 meet in a season-best time – this year's fastest time in the state – of 17:34.32 at Louisville’s Champions Park.

Paducah Tilghman junior Aleja Grant, last year’s runner-up, is the No. 2 seed in 18:17.70 – more than 43 seconds behind Karas. Reinhart, who won 2A, Region 4 in 18:44.71, is the No. 3 seed.

“I’m making sure I’m going to win and get that record again,” Karas said.

Karas will lead the Collins contingent as the Titans return to the State meet as a team after sending only Karas and Sinead Maharrey last year (Collins finished third in 2011, when Karas and her older sister, Caterina, were 1-2).

Sophomore Janette Hynes is seeded 45th after her seventh-place finish at region. Hynes, a standout softball player, has been a welcome addition to the team this season.

“I noticed her during track season. She was doing a mile for softball, and [I] thought it would be great to add her,” Collins Coach Stephen Drawbaugh said. “She didn't seem interested, but [girls’ basketball] Coach [Phillip] Conder talked her in to coming out with the other players.”

Hynes’ first race was the Rumble through the Jungle on the hilly Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve course in Goshen. She finished 71st in 22:35.51.

“Her first words to Coach [Randy] McDowell and me were, ‘Never again!’” Drawbaugh recalled.

Hynes, however, has stuck with it.

“We think she is starting to enjoy the competition and the results she is getting,” Drawbaugh said after Hynes finished seventh in the Tates Creek Invitational on Oct. 5.

The Titans also have been helped by the emergence of freshman Hannah Stumbo, who finished 11th at the region meet and is seeded 59th Saturday.

Also for Collins, juniors Elizabeth McGuire and Maharrey are 93rd and 95th respectively, in the pre-race performance list while senior Katie Vogel is 132nd and junior Brandi Pratt 146th.


Solinger leads Collins boys

Collins junior Jay Solinger had the fastest time in all seven 2A regions last Saturday, when he captured the Region 3 meet in 16:20.39.

That was a performance, Drawbaugh said, that may have been a year in the making.

“Last year at region, is when it first stood out to me [that he could make a run at state],” Drawbaugh said. “Coach McDowell and I looked at each other at region and said, ‘He might do something special over the next couple years.'”

Solinger finished fifth (then-teammate Devon Fielding won) that cold, rainy day at Highland Renaissance Park in Eminence, then followed that up with a 14th-place finish at State a week later. This season Solinger has picked up where he left off last year.

“It was his commitment over the summer; it’s paid off for him at the end of the year,” Drawbaugh said.  

Solinger’s main competition should come from Highlands sophomore Ethan Shuley, the winner of Region 4 (in 16:21.6), who is seeded second, and LaRue County senior Adam Sandidge, a fifth-place finisher last year at State, who is seeded third (16:29.16). One wild card is North Oldham sophomore Trenton Fryman, who battled Solinger for most of last Saturday’s race before dropping out with a few hundred meters to go due to an ankle injury.

Solinger leads a Titans team that finished eighth at State last year, second in 2011 and ninth in 2010. Sophomore Jacob Hershberger, who is coming off a personal-best performance at the region meet, is seeded 35th. He finished 84th at State last year.

Also for the Titans, senior Stevie Smith is seeded 130th, junior Steven Cheppo 131st, senior Cody Thompson 165th and junior Corbet Johnson 203rd.

Class AA region performance list

Here’s where the Collins and Shelby County runners rank, based on their performances in the Region 3 meet, heading into Saturday’s KHSAA State Championships. The boys’ race is slated to start at 11:30 a.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park. The girls’ race will follow at 12:15 p.m.

1. Jay Solinger (CHS) 16:20.39.

35. Jacob Hershberger (CHS) 17:43.11.

58. David Jacobs (SCHS) 18:06.44.

59. Tyler Bates (SCHS) 18:06.91.

79. Kory Eades (SCHS) 18:19.89.

88. Alex Goodwin (SCHS) 18:25.58.

130. Stevie Smith (CHS) 18:58.11.

131. Steven Cheppo (CHS) 18:58.69.

145. Mason Daugherty (SCHS) 19:09.89.

157. David Armistead (SCHS) 19:19.35.

165. Cody Thompson (CHS) 19:33.46.

178. Matthew Hershberger (CHS) 19:59.36.

188. Tristan King (SCHS) 20:16.97.

203. Corbet Johnson (CHS) 21:19.37.


Girls’ AA performance list

1. Gabby Karas (CHS) 17:34.32.

45. Janette Hynes (CHS) 21:42.30.

56. Kayce Byrnside (SCHS) 21:54.44.

59. Hannah Stumbo (CHS) 21:56.20.

76. Carson Aldridge (SCHS) 22:16.32.

92. Suzanne Gayle (SCHS) 22:31.34.

93. Elizabeth McGuire (CHS) 22:33.68.

95. Sinead Maharrey (CHS) 22:34.95.

100. Kate Schaefer (SCHS) 22:43.16.

132. Katie Vogel (CHS) 23:26.00.

146. Brandi Pratt (CHS) 23:50.34.