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Oldham girls state runner up, Arpinelli fourth, Brizendine fifth at state meet

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By Sam Draut

The 2017 KHSAA Cross Country state championship meet was hosted at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington last Saturday. Runners from North Oldham, South Oldham and Oldham County competed in the 5K run.

Class 3-A

Girls

It was a year of firsts for Oldham County. The team won its first regional last week, and in the state championship meet, for the first time in program history, Oldham County finished as the state runner up in the 3-A race with a team score of 74 points.

DuPont Manual won the state championship with 42 points.

The first Oldham County runner to cross the finish line wasn’t one of the returning runners from the Colonels’ third place finish last year at the state race.

Constanza Arpinelli, a foreign exchange student from Italy, finished fourth with a time of 18:33.45. The junior, who won the Region 4 Class 3-A race last week, liked the course at Kentucky Horse Park and had a strong finish in the final mile to place in the top 5.

“I didn’t know some of the other girls, but I knew they were really fast, so I should let them go in the beginning and catch them at the end of the race,” Arpinelli said.

Arriving in August for a semester abroad, Arpinelli, who competes in triathlons around Europe, was a welcomed surprise for coach Kirk Thomas.

“She came in and gave us that front runner that we didn’t have, someone at the front of the pack,” Thomas said. “Having her up there made us that much more solid.”

Arpinelli’s host family had told the team she could run 17 minute 5ks before she arrived. At the Trinity Valkyrie Invitational in mid-September, Arpinelli debuted her talent to her teammates, placing second in a 325-runner event.

“It was a shock having her come in. Whenever she ran at the Trinity meet it was insane. After she finished, we all just cried,” Anna Constant said. “It was an amazing moment to have someone like her become such a good friend.”

A week later, Arpinelli won the Dragon Invitational hosted by South Oldham by 74 seconds to add another race to her impressive fall performance.

“It took a minute for everybody to mesh together because we didn’t know what to do,” Anna Constant said. “We have had foreign exchange students in the past, but someone like her we haven’t had, top in the state.”

Arpinelli will return home in December, at the conclusion of the fall semester. Chosen by her host family, Arpinelli didn’t know where she was going, but has enjoyed her time at Oldham County.

“I was so happy and proud I found such a good team,” Arpinelli said. “Good because the boys and girls are really fast, but at the same time, I have kind of found a second family in such short time. I’m happy about it.”

Following behind Arpinelli, Rachel Gibson placed 15th for the Colonels. Anna Constant, who placed 10th in last year’s state championship race, was 18th.

Savannah Cagle and Evelyn Constant were the Colonels final two scoring runners, placing 23rd and 24th.

Thomas thought Oldham County had a good shot to score well if the team ran its race. Manual posed the biggest challenge and was able to fend off the Colonels for the state title.

“We knew it would take some of their runners being off because when they’re at their best they are at another level,” Thomas said. “We went after them as best we could.”

Oldham County didn’t have much competition for second place. Daviess County placed third with 167 points, 93 points behind the Colonels.

“We had such a great year, it was kind of expected,” Anna Constant said. “We want to be first.”

Katy Chapman was 26th and Elizabeth Hill placed 63rd for Oldham County.

Though South Oldham didn’t have a team in the 35-team race, three Dragon runners competed in the event. Jerrica Hanson paced South Oldham runners, finishing 55th. Anna Wells and Lily Forseth were 141st and 143rd, respectively.

Boys

Before the season started, Jacob Brizendine set a goal to finish at least fifth in the state championship race. Coach Kirk Thomas said it was a lofty goal, but the Oldham County junior achieved it as he placed fifth with a time of 16:02.29 as Oldham County finished sixth while South Oldham was 21st in the 36-team event.

“When you set goals that high and achieve them there is something to be said for all the work it took him to get there,” Thomas said. “He was very pleased.”

Brizendine ran the course several weeks ago at the Lexington Catholic meet, so he knew where he wanted to make his moves throughout the race. He kept the same race plan at the state championship.

“My plan is to always go out a little slower and move on throughout the race. So that is what I did. There were a couple guys with me that were pushing me in the last mile,” Brizendine said. “I was happy with the way it all played out and I was able to execute.”

Steven Votaw was the second Colonel runner to finish, placing 37th. Isaiah Cook and Spencer Harvey were 53rd and 65th, respectively, for Oldham County. Clayton Carter was the final scoring runner for the Colonels, placing 86th.

Nicholas Brown and Garrett Hadaway placed 117th and 210th, respectively, for the Colonels.

Nathan Quinn paced South Oldham, finishing 79th. Quinn’s teammate Peyton Stallard finished 97th. Seth Vorseth placed 130th for the Dragons while Alex Sahatjian and Kyle Thompson were 155th and 158th, respectively, for South Oldham.

Theo Bachmann finished 204th for South Oldham while Ethan Ennis placed 259th.

Class 2-A

Boys

Led by an 11th place finish by Carson Sharber, North Oldham placed sixth in the 32-team race.

Sharber finished with a time of 17:10.42. After running the course several weeks ago, which includes a large hill on the second mile, Sharber was hoping to set a new personal record.

“I thought I was going to go faster,” Sharber said. “I ran with the competition and stuck with who I knew and it came out good.”

Jackson Kuhn placed 36th while Chris Williams-Harris was 47th for North Oldham. Kyle Wilson and Cameron Brothers were the Mustangs’ final two scoring runners, placing 80th and 89th respectively.

Isaiah Terry was 92nd and Marshall Royce was 172nd in the 250-runner event.

After winning the state championship six consecutive times and placing as the state runner-up last year, North Oldham was disappointed, but not shocked, at the sixth place finish this fall, North Oldham coach Brian Ruggles said.

With a young group of runners, Ruggles expected the team to be between third and sixth.

“We have been used to being on top for years,” Ruggles said. “It’s a good lesson to learn.”

Girls

North Oldham coach Brian Crumbo said his team had been running the way it had all year as the Mustangs finished seventh in the 27-team state championship race.

“We ran pretty well,” Crumbo said. “We didn’t have a spectacular race, but we had our usual solid race.”

Senior Anna Costelle paced the Mustangs with a time of 20:34.95, good for 20th place in the 215-runner event.

“She has been our number one runner every race this year,” Crumbo said. “She fought hard today, about as well as I have seen her fight in a race.”

Shannen Roy finished 45th while Aurora Zaranko placed 52nd. Lucy Weidmar was 58th.

Asia Franzel, who dealt with a hip problem the past week, was the final scoring runner for North Oldham, placing 108th. Allison Byers and Hannah Binzer were 113th and 116th, respectively.