The Daviess County cross country teams had a strong outing in a crowded field at the 9th Annual Fast Cats Classic on a humid Saturday at Yellow Creek Park.
Karlee Hoffman took first place to the lead the DCHS girls to the top spot, while the DCMS teams each won their division in a combined boys and girls middle school race. The Panthers high school boys took fourth in their meet.
Other local teams with runners competing were Owensboro, Owensboro Catholic and Trinity high schools, as well as Burns, College View, Owensboro and Owensboro Catholic middle schools. Nearly 1,000 total runners competed in the high school and middle school races.
Hoffman’s time of 19:08.47 was slower than normal due to the heat, but it was still the fastest in a field of 256 runners and continued an impressive senior season. A runner from Oakland, whose time was not recorded because of a lost bib, was only a few strides behind Hoffman for much of the race.
“I was just trying to run to the best of my ability,” Hoffman said. “I can’t complain about the weather, and it just helps us train in case it’s like this at state. It was a great race. The girl from Oakland pushed me. We were there together the whole time.”
DCHS head coach Mark Fortney was not surprised by the results, as Hoffman has been consistently at the top all season. He said she performs even better when she has competition.
“Karlee is very solid and has a good shot at winning state the way she’s going,” he said. “She runs smart and knows her course. She makes her move at the right time. She competes hard when there’s someone with her.”
Hoffman was joined by four teammates finishing in the top 20 in Riliegh Owens (20:33.81, 3rd), Ainsely Taylor (20:40.19, 4th), Emily Rempe (21:34.19, 12th) and Lauren Howe (21:41.62, 13th).
In the boys race, the Panthers took fourth place and were led by Brady Terry (16:51.96, 5th). Owensboro Catholic came in 22nd but had a top finisher in John Cason (16:51.57, 4th).
Fortney said he likes where his teams are as they start preparations for the regional meet in three weeks.
“I feel like we’re in a good place,” he said. “This has been a tough week. We’ve raced twice, and I don’t like to do that. Both days it’s been super hot, and that’s taken a toll on some of our kids.”
The Daviess County middle school teams also came away with first-place finishes in a mixed race.
The boys’ team was led by top runner Nolan Kurz (10:33.97) and had three scorers in the top 10. College View and Owensboro took fourth and fifth, respectively, while Burns finished eighth.
For the girls, Lucy Spaw (11:48.20) of Burns took first place, though Burns finished second as a team. DCMS took first thanks to runners finishing second through fourth. College View came in third, and Owensboro finished fifth.
DCMS head coach Josh Murphy was proud of the top finishes despite missing a few team members. He said it’s not ideal running the boys and girls together, but they still performed well.
“We had some runners out for fall break,” he said. “It was nice seeing the other runners step up and help get the first-place finish. It’s always tough when the boys and girls run together. The girls don’t want to run with the boys, and the boys don’t want to get passed by the girls. It worked out and it’s a fun competition.”
The middle school teams, which also allow runners from elementary schools, are preparing for their state meet in Lexington in a couple of weeks. Murphy said he’s excited for the teams to compete and thinks they have a chance to do well.
“I feel really good,” he sad. “The elementary and middle school boys and girls teams are really good, so we’re in a good spot getting ready for the state meet.”