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Oldham County Cross Country Preview: Lady Colonels aim for repeat appearance on podium at state

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By Elliott Pratt

 The Lady Colonels enter 2015 with a new level of confidence thanks to an unexpected surprise to its season conclusion last year.

The girls’ cross country team placed fourth in the KHSAA Class 3-A state championship last year with 157 points, just edging South Oldham girls which placed fifth (176).

This time a year ago, coach Kirk Thomas wasn’t sure what to expect with a team filled with young runners whose experience only came from the junior varsity level. 

Now he’s working to make sure the Lady Colonels can make a return to the podium at state.

“For this team to come from where they were at one point in the season not even ranked in the top 10 to end up finishing fourth was a real surprise and it was a real joy because everyone was blown away,” Thomas said. “This year, I gave them more intense workouts to do and they’ve put in more mileage over the summer…We were able to come in with a much more advanced training plan with what they accomplished last year and they’re confident enough to handle it and take it on this year.”

OC returns all but one of its top runners from last year, led by No. 1 runner senior Samantha Griffin who finished 18th at state last year. Ashley Reyna-Padilla, who was second for the Lady Colonels in the state meet, isn’t running cross country this season.

OC will have big contributions from senior Briana Vance, junior Sarah Abukwaik and sophomores Rachel Gibson and Evelyn Constance.

“We would love to get on that podium again, but it takes a little bit of luck, everyone staying healthy and everyone having their best race at the right time that makes that happen,” Thomas said.

The Colonels’ cross country team hopes to put behind last year’s disappointment of only sending two runners to the state meet.

OC return one of those runners in senior Conner Hounshell. The Colonels No. 2 runner in Douglas Renner, a freshman last year, moved away.

OC brings back senior captain Shaun Montgomery and Michael Drury joins the team after previously running track and playing football.

Thomas is also excited about a new group of freshmen that could lay a foundation for upcoming success.

“We’ve got some pretty strong freshmen from the middle school last year and a couple of guys who ran under 5:30 mile in track,” Thomas said. “We feel a few of those freshmen can help us out.”

 

Email us about this story at sports@oldhamera.com