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In a race featuring some of the top female runners in the state, Collins eighth-grader Gabby Karas came up just short.
Sacred Heart Academy sophomore Maggie Allen edged out Karas to claim first place in the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic on Saturday afternoon at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park.
Allen covered the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, 17.44 seconds, or about one or two steps ahead of Karas, who crossed the finish line in 18:18.06.
Led by Karas, Collins finished with 621 points and in 25th place out of 41 teams from Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, among others. Sacred Heart, led by Allen, claimed the team title with 71. Shelby County only ran three in the varsity race.
Meanwhile on the boys’ side, Collins claimed 21st place (666) and Shelby County 43rd (1,126) out of 56 squads. Daviess County won the team title with 129 points, and North Oldham, the Titans’ and Rockets’ region rival, finished second with 137.
Karas, the defending Class 2A state champion, and Manual senior Cassidy Hale, the reigning 3A state champ, headed the field in the girls’ race, but it was Allen – 55th at last year’s 3A state meet – who won.
As usual Karas broke out early, but this time she had some company. Allen, who has emerged for the Valkyries this season as one of the top runners in the state, pulled even with Karas around the 1-mile mark and the two dueled the rest of the way.
Down the stretch Allen pulled away slightly, edging Karas out at the finish line.
“I couldn’t kick at the end,” Karas said.
It was a personal-best for Allen and a season-best for Karas.
“I didn’t pace myself right,” said Karas, who added that her goal had been to break 18 minutes.
In addition to Karas, Collins senior Maria Cozzens ran a season-best (20:52.02) to finish 48th.
Senior Jordan Webb was Shelby County’s top finisher at 151st.
“It was good,” Webb said. “The first and second miles I was feeling the best, the third mile I just kind of died.”
Muhlenberg County junior Chase Geary, who finished sixth in the 3A state meet last year, won Saturday’s race in 16:00.74.
Collins senior Devon Fielding was the top runner from the county. He finished 54th overall, running a season-best time (17:26.29).
Also for the Titans, sophomore Jay Solinger ran a personal-best time (17:47.00) to finish 77th, and junior Justin Downs, who has battled injuries this season, ran a season-best time (18:16.22) to finish 136th.
Sophomore Alex Goodwin ran a personal-best time (18:22.95), finishing in 168th-place, to lead the Rockets. His classmate, Tristan King, also ran a personal-best (18:29.31) to finish 200th overall.
Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic
Top team scores:1. Daviess County 129; 2. North Oldham 137; 3. Eastern 149; 4. Paul Dunbar 194; 5. Meade County 201. Others: 21. Collins 666; 43. Shelby County 1126.
Winner:Chase Geary (Muhlenberg County) 16:00.74.
CHS finishers:54. Devon Fielding 17:26.29; 77. Jay Solinger 17:47.00; 136. Justin Downs 18:16.22; 207. Alex Sells 18:36.91; 288. Stevie Smith 19:36.67; 309. Raley Suter 19:49.36; 329. Ryan Hunter 20:03.18; 343. Cody Thompson 20:16.89.
SCHS finishers:168. Alex Goodwin 18:22.95; 200. Tristan King 18:29.31; 252. Logan Hull 18:57.86; 346. Alex Dunn 20:19.25; 348. David Jacobs 20:24.75; 366. Mason Daugherty 20:37.33.
Top team scores:1. Sacred Heart 71; 2. Daviess County 86; 3. Butler 124; 4. Manual 161; 5. Eastern 244. Other: 25. Collins 621.
Winner:Maggie Allen (Sacred Heart) 18:17.44.
CHS finishers:2. Gabby Karas 18:18.06; 48. Maria Cozzens 20:52.02; 182. Sinead Maharrey 23:10.05; 225. Elizabeth McGuire 23:59.24; 308. Adrienne Holtzworth 26:29.74; 327. Diana Schweitzer 27:21.25; 351. Carysanne Fielding 31:15.56.
SCHS finishers:151. Jordan Webb 22:45.07; 257. Kayce Byrnside 24:48.46; 276. Kate Schaefer 25:24.05.