HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Rockets and Titans compete in state

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By Les Abbott

The Collins cross country teams along with several for the Shelby County cross country team traveled to Lexington Saturday for the State AA Cross Country Meet, and both teams saw a lot of improvement, both over last season and the regular season.


After advancing to the AA state meet at the Kentucky Horse Park the previous four years, Collins head Coach George Sanderlin said he wanted to see improvement from year to year.

“I want them to improve on their performance from last year. The girls were 22nd last year so 21st or better and the boys were 14th so 13th or better is what we want,” he said.

And both the Collins boys and girls’ teams would deliver.

The boys finished 13th overall, one spot last year and the girls finished 17th, five spots better thn in 2017.

Gabriel Vergara would lead the charge for the boys with a 47th place finish and an 18:09.54 time. Nolan Thomas and James Solinger would also finish inside the top 100. Thomas finished 54th with an 18:17.13 time while Solinger finished 97th with an 18:51.85 time.

Lilly Vest paced the Titans with a 41st overall finish in 21:20.19. Madeline Petty also finished inside the top 100 with a 52nd place finish and a 21:39.50 time.

“Our athletes did what we wanted to do. They executed at state and met our goals,” Sanderlin said. “Any time you have over half of your athletes [8 of 14] get either a personal record, season best or course best at state, you know that they have mastered the tough task of peaking when it counts. We stress improvement from year to year, as well as throughout the season, and we got that. This sets us up well for the track season [in the spring].”

Shelby County

The Rockets had three racers qualify for the state race– boys Max Young and Elijah Spicer and Paris Klemz for the girls.

Young led the way for the boys with a 58th place finish and an 18:19.55 time. Spicer would finish 168th with a 19:51.25 time.

Klemz was the lone Rocket qualifier for the girls. She would finish 212th ovrall with a 26:34.80 time.

“I am super proud of everyone’s performance Saturday at the state meet,” SCHS coach Aaron Shephard said. “Like I’ve said before they have been working hard all season and they came out and performed very well. I’m excited to see how things shape up next year.”

Both the Rockets and Titans are seem to be in good shape for next season. Only Petty for Collins is a senior. The rest of the runners that qualified for state are juniors and below, including Laura Vidourek for Collins who will only be in 8th grade next year.

SCHS boys’ top finisher Max Young was only in 8th grade this season.