Solinger proves he is a winner

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SCHS finishes 14th

By Josh Cook

LEXINGTON – Entering this cross-country season Collins junior Jay Solinger said he thought winning a state championship was a long-shot.


“I was in the seventeens [for five kilometers] last year,” he said.

Saturday, though, Solinger capped off his breakout season with a state title, winning the boys’ Class AA race at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“This is amazing, this is what I've always wanted,” Solinger said a few minutes after crossing the finish line in 16 minutes 24.60 seconds. “I tried to have a positive attitude, but in the back of my mind I didn’t think I would win.”

Mason County senior Nick Robinson moved out to the early lead in the 5,000-meter race, but Solinger caught and passed him going up a hill near the 1.5-mile mark.

“Me and [Collins Coach Stephen] Drawbaugh talked about it. We wanted to make a surge on the two hills and build a lead on that,” said Solinger, who entered the race seeded No. 1 after winning Region 3 in 16:20.39. “I felt a good wind come through me on the first hill. That’s when I knew I had it in me.”

Said Drawbaugh: “We have a specific workout for that hill. That was our focus.”

Solinger, who finished 14th at state last year in 17:26.28, cruised from there. Highlands sophomore Ethan Shuley was second, more than 9 seconds behind, in 16:33.75. Robinson finished fifth in 16:51.63.

“I started my kick a little early, with maybe a half-mile to go,” Solinger said. “But I wanted to make sure that they didn’t have a chance to win.”

North Oldham, a Region 3 rival of both Collins and Shelby County, won its fourth consecutive state title, with 53 points.

The Titans finished 10th,with 353 points, and the Rockets, making their first State appearance since 2009, finished 14th,with 392.

“From where they came from the last couple years, this was some real good fast improvement,” Shelby County Coach Andrew Danner said.

After Solinger, sophomore Jacob Hershberger finished 44th(18:04.57), junior Steven Cheppo 88th(18:40.85), senior Stevie Smith 122nd(19:02.40) and freshman Matthew Hershberger 170th(20:04.11) to round out the Titans’ team score. Senior Cody Thompson was 171st(20:08.67) and junior Corbet Johnson 194th(21:27.28).

Freshman David Jacobs led the Shelby County contingent, finishing 61st (18:18.19).

“It was tough,” Jacobs said. “I knew I had to give it my all. This is what I’ve been looking forward to.”

Also for the Rockets, freshman Tyler Bates was 71st(18:24.60), freshman Kory Eades was 81st(18:35.05), senior Alex Dunn was 124th(19:03.67) and junior Alex Goodwin was 127th(19:08.25). Also for Shelby County, freshman David Armistead was 147th(19:28.30) and junior Mason Daugherty was 167th(19:55.12).

“It was a good experience to start with,” Danner said. “They came out and competed well. Now they’ve got an idea of what needs to be done to be successful.

“We’ll come back next year and hopefully make some noise. Next year the goal is not to just make it here, but to finish pretty high up.”



Class AA state meet results

Team scores –1. North Oldham 53; 2. Covington Catholic 69; 3. Highlands 114; 4. Russell 175; 5. Webster County 195; 6. Wayne County 195; 7. Christian Academy of Louisville 254; 8. Lexington Catholic 271; 9. John Hardin 340; 10. Collins 353; 11. Warren East 363; 12. Rowan County 376; 13. Ashland Blazer 384; 14. Shelby County 392; 15. Scott 435; 16. Calloway County 437; 17. Boyle County 467; 18. South Warren 474; 19. Thomas Nelson 500; 20. Boyd County 516; 21. Letcher County Central 520; 22. Bell County 551; 23. Edmonson County 559; 24. Garrard County 560; 25. Paducah Tilghman 593; 26. Johnson Central 716.   

Top 10 individuals: 1. Jay Solinger (Collins) 16:24.60;2. Ethan Shuley (Highlands) 16:33.75; 3. Iszack Whitsell (Webster County) 16:37.29; 4. Adam Sandidge (LaRue County) 16:44.56; 5. Nick Robinson (Mason County) 16:51.63; 6. Brian Menke (Covington Catholic) 16:53.99; 7. Shelley Deharte (Rowan County) 16:55.72; 8. Trenton Fryman (North Oldham) 16:59.63; 9. Sean Panoushek (Covington Catholic) 17:04.32; 10. Cole Grecco (Garrard County) 17:04.81.

Other CHS finishers:44. Jacob Hershberger 18:04.57; 88. Steven Cheppo 18:40.85; 122. Stevie Smith 19:02.40; 170. Matthew Hershberger 20:04.11; 171. Cody Thompson 20:08.67; 194. Corbet Johnson 21:27.28.

SCHS finishers:61. David Jacobs 18:18.19; 71. Tyler Bates 18:24.60; 81. Kory Eades 18:35.05; 124. Alex Dunn 19:03.67; 127. Alex Goodwin 19:08.25; 147. David Armistead 19:28.30; 167. Mason Daugherty 19:55.12.