The first cross country race of the season wrapped up just as the threat of rain was starting to roll in over Yellow Creek Park. The Daviess County High School girls team took home the first-place trophy, while the boys team finished second in the 8th Annual KY/IN Border Clash.
Other local teams competing included the boys and girls teams from Owensboro Catholic, Owensboro and Trinity, as well as the girls team from Apollo.
Mark Fortney, head coach for both programs at DCHS, said the first race of the year was a success.
The girl’s team placed first out of 14 teams and had all of their runners in the top 20. Senior Karlee Hoffman led the Panthers, finishing second overall (19:09).
Sophomore Ainsley Taylor (20:46) was the second scoring runner for the Panthers, and the rest of the scoring runners crossed the finish line together in a pack.
“We want them to run together, but we’ve got to close that gap,” Fortney said. “We knew coming in that the girl from Memorial was on Hoffman’s level, and she just let her get away from her too early.”
Hoffman agreed and said at the beginning of the race, she was holding back because she didn’t want to go out too fast.
“I was trying to save myself for the end, but I feel like I did better than my last race at the Friday After 5k,” she said.
Fortney’s team, which mainly consists of underclassmen, is going to have to get leadership from Hoffman and Kate-Bradley Rhoads (21:16), who finished third for the Lady Panthers.
Rhoads, who is coming back from an injury, hasn’t raced in almost two years.
“It’s one of those things where you probably don’t even think you are going to run again — it’s just a bonus for her to be back out here,” Fortney said. “She’s going to progress nicely.”
Apollo finished eighth overall in the girls race, while Owensboro Catholic, Owensboro and Trinity did not have enough runners to be scored as a team.
Daviess County’s boys team also finished the night on a high note, taking home second place behind Tell City High School.
Sophomores Brady Terry (16:56) and Alex Adams (17:00) led the way for the Panthers, finishing 11th and 12th, respectively.
Fortney said he wasn’t surprised with the results.
“Our preseason work has been very solid,” he said. “Tell City is strong — they are one of the top in small schools.”
Fortney said one of the good things about this group of runners is their depth, something he hopes will carry them through the season.
“We’ve got 11 guys that are competing for seven spots, so that’s a good thing,” he said. “We don’t want anybody getting complacent and getting stuck in the same spot.”