Taylor Cyrus was so proud of the second toe of her left foot, she doffed shoe and sock to show it off.
It was the digit that bled during Saturday's Area 7 cross country meet at Mason County Sports Complex.
Cyrus and her Boyd County teammates had other reasons to crow. The Lady Lions narrowly won the team title over five-time champion Fairview, 49-53.
“It's nice for us to finally get our turn,” Boyd County coach Dirk Hollar said. “We've got a great group of girls.”
Indeed, Saturday was Boyd County's first girls title in the race's nine-year history. Sophomore Darian Steele was the first of seven Lady Lions to finish, taking fourth in 20 minutes, 35 seconds.
“It's been our goal,” Steele said. “Everything started working out.”
The top five individual times count toward the team title. Following Steele to the 3.1-mile finish line were: freshman Courtney Gibson in sixth place overall (20:41); junior Alliyah Kautzman in ninth (21:01); senior Hannah Cassady in 16th (21:41); and junior Saralyn Miller in 18th (22:17).
And Cyrus? The senior came in 50th in 25:09, some 37 seconds ahead of fellow Lady Lion Jessica Triplett's 25:46.
The way Cyrus saw it, her bloody toe was as noteworthy as the “bloody sock” ankle injury former Major League pitcher Curt Schilling suffered. Schilling won Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series over the New York Yankees — which his Boston Red Sox won, 4 games to 3 after dropping the first three (the Red Sox later swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series).
“(The blood) came out of my nail bed,” Cyrus said. “I felt tendinitis in my right knee; I just ran through it. I feel like Curt Schilling … because he pushed through a major game, and I ran a major race against our rival.”
Fairview coach Becca Chaney had no complaints about finishing second. “They raced well,” she said. “We've got to fill in closer.”
Boyd County won because Miller finished nine seconds ahead of Fairview's Maddy Rymer (19th place in 22:26) and 28 in front of the Lady Eagles' Katie Richard (22nd in 22:45).
Fairview senior Brooklyn Bowen, who finished second, was the first Lady Eagle in — her 20:23 was 28 seconds behind winner Rheagan Sizemore of Mason County. Sophomore Lyndsey Burke (20:34) was third, and sophomore Haley Layne was 12th (21:20).
Sizemore went ahead for good about three-quarters of a mile into the race. As she pulled away, the Rascal Flatts tune “Banjo” was on her mind.
“It's fast-paced, and I like that song,” Sizemore said.
After Boyd County's girls ended Fairview’s victory string, Ashland's boys extended their own. The Tomcats won their fifth consecutive Area 7 over Mason County, 50-72, which was the sixth in race history.
“It was a pretty good race for the (windy, chilly) conditions,” said Ashland coach Phillip Caudill. “I thought we (did) best on the hills; the state course (at the Kentucky Horse Park) is hills.”
Sophomore Austin Craft was Ashland's first runner — he placed fifth in 17:24. The next Tomcats were: senior Taylor Bradley (seventh, 17:50); freshman Tristan Kennard (eighth, 18:04); freshman Hunter Gullett (14th, 18:26); sophomore Peter Jenkins (20th, 18:57); and freshman Jeremy Sweeney (50th, 20:30).
Craft liked his time.
“It was six seconds off (my personal record),” he said. “It was a tough course.”
Russell was third with 77 points, and Rowan County was fourth with 100.
Bath County senior Evan Staviski won the boys race in 16:37, nearly 20 seconds ahead of Mason County junior Nick Robinson. Rowan County junior Shelley DeHarte was third (16:58), 21 seconds faster than Russell junior Jacob Heyerly's 17:19.
“I thought about getting a PR,” Staviski said. “I worried about what my mile pace is going to be; I don't worry about who's behind me.”