LEXINGTON Isabella Copher’s final high school cross country race for Bath County didn’t end Saturday with a state Class A title.
Elliott County senior Lucas Ison didn’t bring gold to Sandy Hook, either.
Ison and Copher nonetheless left the Kentucky Horse Park pleased. Copher finished seventh of 232 runners and covered the 3.1 miles in 20 minutes, 5.36 seconds, and Ison was ninth among 286 in 17:06.15.
Among Ison’s wins: three individual Region 7 titles and as a member of two region team winners. His final season, however, was the most difficult.
“I didn’t get time to train this season because I was sick with (mononucleosis),” he said. “so that was only my fourth race of the year.”
Ison and Copher completed their prep careers among Kentucky’s finest. Ison came from 21st place in 2017 to last year’s 18th, while Copher was sixth in ‘17 and 14th last year.
Copher started Saturday’s race a little quicker than she usually did “because I had a lot more competition to pace me.”
“I felt that helped me a lot to keep going and not slow down,” she said. “The last 800 meters I had to slow down, I was kinda starting to feel tired, but then I saw how close I was to getting 19 (minutes), so I tried to speed back up again. My legs – tired.”
Ison has a list of colleges he’s considering: the University of Pikeville, Lindsey Wilson, Campbellsville, Kentucky Christian and University of the Cumberlands. He says cross country is nice, but track (he runs the 800- and 1,600 meters) is nicer because “I can go faster.”
Lexington Christian Academy sophomore Anna Rupp – the great-granddaughter of Kentucky men’s basketball legend Adolph Rupp – could’ve hit a couple free throws while waiting for the second-place finisher. She easily won her second straight state title by nearly 40 seconds over Hancock County’s Hailie LaMar.
“I’m definitely just as grateful,” Rupp said of her latest championship. “I liked the weather last year.”
Rupp says she struggles running on the University of Kentucky’s track in the spring. You struggle to comprehend that – she’s the defending Class A 3,200-meter champion. She finished third in 2018.
“I feel more known as a cross country runner,” Rupp said. “I struggle a little bit in track; my mind wanders. In cross country, every course is different.”
Louisville Collegiate won the girls team title of Bishop Brossart, 96-111. LCA was third with 122 points, and Louisville Presentation and Walton-Verona were fourth and fifth, respectively, with 181.
D.K. Schnieders of Louisville Holy Cross won the boys race by just under 12 seconds over LCA’s Connor Hayes. Holy Cross cruised past Pikeville for the team title, 55-125.