Cross county titles are not always decided by the first person to cross the finish line.
Sometimes it is what happens further back in the pack that determines who comes away with the champion. Saturday it was the battle for 47th place that decided the winner of the Girls Area 7 Cross County Championship at Fairview Cross County Course.
Boyd County’s Christin Vasquez came from behind to edge out Russell’s Hanna Stettner by just over a second to claim that 47th spot and ultimately the title for the Lady Lions.
Boyd County finished with a score of 74 points, just one point of ahead of Fleming County and Mason County, who each finished with 75 points. The Lady Panthers took second place thanks to a tiebreaker. Fairview finished in fourth just three points back of the Lady Lions.
“This was best race (Vasquez) has ever had. She said a personal record today, Boyd County coach Randee Burke said. “Her finish at the end, passing that girl right at the finish line gave us that one point that we needed.”
The other four Lady Lions did their job as well as finishing inside the top 19.
“They came ready to run today,” Burke said. “They were really excited about today, and came ready to win.
Courtney Gibson led the way with a second place time of 19:59.
“She ran a great race today,” Burke said of Gibson.
Fleming County’s Olivia Leet, a freshman, bested Gibson by three seconds to take home first place.
Rheagan Sizemore (Mason County), April Eling (Montgomery County), Kara Coldiron (Russell), Kailee Perry (Morgan County), Darian Steele (Boyd County), Kelsey Cyrus (Rowan County), Haley Layne (Fairview) and Macy Dyer (East Carter) rounded out the rest of the top 10.
In the boys division, the championship was decided well before the 47th runner crossed the finish line, as Russell placed all five of its runners inside of the top 21, including three in the top five. The Red Devils finished with an impressive score of 42.
Jacob Heyerly, Josh Riley, and Tyler Andre led the way followed by Jordan Vallance (11th) and Chris Cooper (21st).
Heyerly, who has been dealing with some nagging health issues all season, finally found out the cause of his problems last week when he was told he did not have enough iron in his system.
Now after a week of taking iron pills, Heyerly says he can already tell a difference.
“It’s been consistent halfway through the race I just kind of fall back,” the senior said. “Last week, I found out and have been taking iron pills and I felt a lot better all the way through today.”
As good as Heyerly felt, he still was unable to catch Rowan County’s Shelley DeHarte, but he was not the only one.
DeHarte, a senior, blew past the field finishing in a course record time of 16:34, which was 36 seconds faster than the last time DeHarte ran the Fairview course in the EKC meet on October 2nd.
“I just felt better today,” he said. “It was a lot cooler today that it was in the EKC, and I like running in the cooler weather.”
DeHarte trailed Mason County’s Nick Robinson, who finished second, until right around the midway part of the race, which is when he decided to make his move.
“I passed him just passed halfway through,” he said. “I just felt good. I just thought that I should try and challenge from the front and try and win the race instead of sitting back and settling for second.”
Behind DeHarte, the Vikings took second place with a score of 69. Bevan Samuals, who finished 6th, and Nick Anderson, who came in 8th, also helped pace Rowan County.
Alex Robinson of Mason County finished in seventh, and two Ashland runners Tristan Kinnard and Hunter Gullett rounded out the top 10.