- Local Sports
Kittens’ Vanover commits to KCU
In his first high school signing as the coach of the Kentucky Christian University softball team, current Ashland coach Dave Miller stayed close to home.
Kittens infielder McKenzie Vanover is the first to join the Kentucky Christian program, signing at Paul Blazer High School on Friday afternoon.
CLASS A STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET: Fairview girls fight for 10th
Fairview cross country coach Becca Chaney didn’t think her Lady Eagles had much chance of winning Saturday's girls Class A state cross country meet.
CLASS 2A STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET: Russell rallies into 4th-place
By RAY SCHAEFER
For The Independent
LEXINGTON About the same time Collins freshman Gabriella Karas was winning the girls state Class 2A cross country race, a celebration erupted.
It was the Russell boys at the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Red Devils were enjoying a dream realized. Their 175 points got them fourth place behind team champion North Oldham (53), Covington Catholic (69) and Fort Thomas Highlands (114) — and more importantly, a place on the stage at the awards ceremony.
What the Red Devils did reduced senior Josh Riley to four-word screams.
“Yeah!” Riley bellowed. “We did it!”
Riley and fellow senior Jacob Heyerly embraced. Heyerly even dubbed Marci Campbell “Most Valuable Parent” for calling her son Blake Campbell with the news.
“When we found out, we just hugged each other and collapsed,” Heyerly said.
Riley didn’t know it at the time, but he thought about how finishing fourth would play in Russell and Flatwoods. “It’d make us known in Russell, where football and basketball are king,” Riley said. “It would show how hard we worked.”
Russell coach Crystal Cantrell was just as happy, though significantly subdued.
“We were shooting for the stars, but fourth place feels really good,” Cantrell said. “We had two in the top 25.”
Riley was 16th with a time of 17:15.41, and Heyerly was 22nd with 17:28.68. Collins’ Jay Solinger won the boys race in 16:24.60, beating Highlands’ Ethan Shuley by a little more than nine seconds.
Joining Riley and Heyerly on the stage were: sophomore Tyler Andre (37th, 17:51.09); freshman Seth Atkins (62nd, 18:18.42); eighth-grader Jax Downs (70th, 18:22.71); junior Jordan Vallance (80th, 18:33.13); and junior Chris Cooper (87th, 18:39.82).
After a few minutes of barely-controlled happiness, Heyerly showed a smidgen of weepiness as tears formed in his eyes.
“I’m proud of this team,” he said. “I love’em all.”
Top 20 squads
Rowan County, Ashland and Boyd County finished 12th, 13th and 20th, respectively, in the boys team standings. Rowan County senior Shelley DeHarte was the best local finisher, taking seventh in 16:55.72, his highest placing ever.
“Last year I got 44th,” DeHarte said. “I went out harder the first mile than usual. I tried to focus on people and just tried to stay toward the front as long as I could.”
Other Rowan County runners joining DeHarte were senior Bevan Samuals (45th, 18:07.88), freshman Nick Anderson (85th, 18:36.28); senior John Erni (158th, 19:39.59); sophomore Brandon Marcum (159th, 19:40.05); sophomore Andrew Mabry (163rd, 19:44.60); and junior Travis Curtis (205th, 22:39.21).
Sophomore Tristan Kennard (40th place, 17:57.34) led Ashland.
“I’m really happy about it,” he said. “I was a full minute faster than last year. This was my second fastest race this year.”
Other Tomcats finishing were: sophomore Hunter Gullett (59th, 18:16.71); freshman Dylan Boyle (93rd, 18:45.95); junior Austin Craft (120th, 19:01.91); junior Peter Jenkins (151st, 19:33.68); sophomore Jeremy Sweeney (182nd, 20:47.04); and junior Jonathon Dingess (214th, 24:27.53).
Seventh-grader Elijah Miller (54th, 18:14.56) paced Boyd County. The rest of the Lions were: senior Conner Goble (121st, 19:02.16); sophomore Bradley Bush (144th, 19:24.71); junior Aaron Parent (150th, 19:33.43); senior Kaleb Mullins (156th,19:38.26); junior Seth Holbrook (192nd, 21:19.40); and junior Isaac Houston (199th, 21:41.37).
East Carter senior Ben Napier was 83rd in 18:35.31.
Leet, Lady Lions
Fleming County freshman Olivia Leet, last week’s Region 6 individual winner, was the earliest local runner across the finish line. She took ninth place in 20:20.48, nearly 16 seconds faster than last week, but she thought she could have gone faster.
“The wind held me back sometimes,” Leet said.
Region champion Boyd County's 14th place in the team standings (358 points) was best among local teams. Fleming County was 16th with 419, East Carter was 18th with 439, and Johnson Central was 25th with 683.
Boyd County sent both the boys and girls to state in the same season for the first time since 1997. Saturday, they were a stealth group — they brought no tent and dropped their gear bags next to the Grant County shelter. Lady Lions junior Darian Steele didn't care.
“It’s awesome to bring both (teams),” Steele said. “Everybody at school was congratulating us, more than usual.”
Sophomore Courtney Gibson led Boyd County, finishing 19th in 20:43.90. Next were: Steele in 23rd (20:57.75), junior Cydney Thompson (46th, 21:57.76); senior Saralyn Miller (141st, 24:13.85); junior Christin Vasquez (191st, 25:55.01) senior Alex Meade (207th, 27:52.81); and sophomore Paige Morella (211th, 28:02.56).
East Carter senior Macy Dyer completed her high school career in 37th place (21:32.34). Freshman Olivia Burchett led Johnson Central in 88th place (22:45.21).
Highlands easily won the team title, scoring a 76. Second-place Christian Academy-Louisville finished with a 152.
Shakeups sure to leave good teams out of BCS title game
There’s plenty of football yet to be played this season, during which things have had a way of going wrong for the front-runners. Nevertheless, more than one good team is going to be left home to soothe its hurt feelings and be relegated to a lesser bowl.
Eyes on the ball? 10 of the craziest college basketball courts
Feast your eyes -- or avert them, depending on your taste in unconventional basketball court designs. With college hoops season right around the corner, we take a look at some of the most unusual basketball floors around the country.
Russell passes up Estill
Russell waited until its season was on the line, but the entire offense finally clicked.
PREP FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Highlands routs Boyd
Highlands started its possible trek to a seventh straight Class 4A state title by defeating Boyd County 70-6 on Friday Night.
Rams swarm Hornets
Raceland stung the Phelps Hornets early and often in the opening round of the KHSAA Class A playoffs.
Lewis has 7 turnovers in loss to Garrard
Garrard County overcame a slow start this season thanks to its opportunistic defense.
Tomcats hammer Holmes, 49-20
After playing 10 consecutive weeks of games, Ashland’s only off week of the season was just what the doctor ordered.
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