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From the beginning of the Class 2A Region 3 cross country championship race on Saturday, North Oldham senior Taylor Sanders had a certain mindset.
Sanders made it through the first two miles in 10:23, breezing to a time of 16:10.15 to win the boys’ race at Shelby County High School. His next closest competitor was South Oldham junior runner-up Leonard Faul, who finished in 16:49.00.
Thanks to Sanders’ run, the Mustangs took the boys’ team championship with 25 total points.
“I thought that was probably the best race I’ve had all year,” Sanders said. “I finally had that race where I put it together for three miles. I went out controlled, I felt relaxed.”
South Oldham took the girls’ championship with 42 points with junior Grace Whitworth leading the way in 19:59.75 to finish third. Fourth and fifth place went to Whitworth’s teammates, sophomore Keightly Dudgeon and freshman Erin Wilson. North Oldham’s girls’ team placed third with 93 points. South Oldham’s boys also finished third, with 102 points.
At the Class 3A Region 4 meet on Saturday at Louisville’s Tom Sawyer Park, Oldham County’s girls’ team squeaked by to finish runner-up as a team with 51 points. Assumption won the race with 21 points, while Sacred Heart finished third with 52 points.
Lady Colonels senior Margaret Grogan placed third with a time of 19:10.79, just ahead of her sister, sophomore Caroline Grogan, who finished in 19:15.84.
“Assumption is ranked 11th in the country, so there’s no one in Kentucky that’s close to them,” Oldham County coach Kirk Thomas said. “For Margaret and Caroline to beat three of their top five, that was an awesome performance by them, definitely their best races of the year.”
In the boys’ race, Colonels senior Luke Weishaar fell behind and couldn’t catch up to winner Kyle Covert of Eastern. Weishaar ran in 15:52.68, to finish as runner-up by Covert’s 15:41.01.
“Every race they’ve run this year, Kyle had been getting closer and closer,” Thomas said.
As a team, the Colonels finished third with 62 points. Eastern won with 30 points.
All three schools will head to Lexington’s Kentucky Horse Park Saturday for the state championship meets.
North Oldham boys cross country coach Drew LaMaster said he hopes the region win will fuel his team through state.
“I feel very good about our chances, as long as we can run together and pack it up like we did on Saturday,” he said. “Winning state takes a lot of luck and a lot of hard work, but I think we’re really prepared.”
Sanders said he’s prepared to carry his performance over.
“I definitely think it was a big confidence-builder,” he said. “I feel like anything is possible at state.”
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