Daviess County, Apollo and Owensboro competed at the Cross Country 3A Championships on Saturday, with Thomas Ashby leading Apollo boys to a top-10 finish as a team.
Apollo, Daviess County, Owensboro girls
Daviess County was the closest of the three local teams to the top-10, finishing 13th with an average time of 22:04. Lucy Spaw led the way for the Lady Panthers, finishing 20th individually with a time of 20:23.64.
Kayley Payne was second for Daviess County with a time of 22:12.54, while Blakely Greer (22.28.17), Sally Tidwell (22.28.64) and Micah Sagar (22:48.03) rounded out its top-five.
The E-gals posted a time of 24:06 as a team, with Ahmira Pickett leading the way with a time of 22:39.81. Ava Falloway was second for Apollo with a time of 22:47.70, while Adyson Mattingly (23:21.86), Chloe Sandefur (24:30.07) and Olivia Hooker (27:11.28) rounded out its top-five.
“They ran well,” Shoulta said. “Our top-three had really solid races. We beat some athletes that we haven’t beaten all year. Just like the boys, we’re young and we’re building. I’m just super excited about the future.”
Shoulta said that if they can attract more runners to the team, they’ll be able to take a major jump and be a powerhouse school at the state level in the near future.
“The key moving forward is to increase our numbers,” Shoulta said. “I think we’ve got a good core of athletes who make good decisions and like to train. If we can just continue to build up our numbers, I think the boys and girls will be a force to be reckoned with on the state level for the next several years.”
Owensboro had two players compete individually, as Kiley Palmer posted a time of 22:40.11 and Addison Edge posted a time of 25:19.50.
Apollo, Daviess County, Owensboro boys
Ashby led the charge for the boys, earning state runner-up individually by posting a time of 16:36.04.
“I’m satisfied,” Ashby said. “It’s better than I was projected to finish, but at the same time I wanted to win. I mean I’m a junior, so I got a shot for next year.”
Given the muddy conditions, Ashby said that he made sure to find paths like he does when he trains in order to make it easier for him to not fall in the treacherous conditions.
“Run in trails,” Ashby said. “I train on trails all the time, but also you try to find the grass patches because that’s where the grip is. And every time you have to cross mud, just try to be light on your feet and don’t ever put weight into that mud or you’ll slip.”
Ashby said that going into next year he will use this experience as motivation to come back and place himself atop the best in the Commonwealth.
Noah Gray was second for the Eagles with a time of 18:01.30, while Josh Thomas (18:11.99), Emmitt Brock (18:30.50) and Blake Mullins (19:47.34) rounded the top-five for Apollo, as they posted an average time of 18:13 to finish ninth as a team.
Head Coach Charlie Shoulta said that he was thrilled with the way his team competed, saying that if someone had told him before regionals that they had a chance to place in the top-10 he’s not sure he would’ve believed it.
“We just have a young team and I just didn’t think we were there yet, so I’m thrilled about that,” Shoulta said. “I think we had the chance to come in the top-four.”
With all runners returning next season, Shoulta is excited to build on the experience they’ve gained and climb up the standings in state next year.
“It’s an overwhelming experience and this is huge for our program, because all of our guys learned something today,” Shoulta said. “We return every single person on our team, every one of our top-seven. They are all good kids and hard workers.”
Meanwhile, Daviess County finished 17th as a team by posting an average time of 18:34. Caleb Tidwell led the Panthers with a time of 18:08.21, while Nolan Kurz followed closely behind with a time of 18:13.78.
Bryson McGary (18:27.80), Zach McCaslin (18:51.74) and Brayden Kaelin (19:11.53) rounded Daviess County’s top-five.
Adrian Askin was the lone competitor for the Owensboro boys, finishing with a time of 19:25.21.