Kathleen Simms and Cole Dowdy were at the head of the pack as they led defending state champions Sacred Heart Academy and South Oldham to first-place finishes in the Class 3-A, Region Four cross country meets Saturday at Seneca Park.
Simms, who won the state individual title as a freshman last year, beat her nearest rival – Sarah Michels of Assumption – by more than 20 seconds by covering the 5,000 meters in 18 minutes, 12.93 seconds.
“We were in a big pack for the first 800 meters, but Sarah was with me almost the whole time and we pushed each other,’ Simms said. Michels finished in 18:33.59.
The Dowdy twins from South Oldham not only celebrated their 18th birthday, but they dominated the boys race with Cole getting the best of Tanner with his victory in 15:39.57. Tanner finished second in 15:45.22. Last year at the state meet, when South Oldham nipped St. Xavier by one point for the team crown, Tanner ran second and Cole fourth individually.
Does it matter who wins between the twins?
“Oh, yeah,” Cole said. “I’d won the region the past two years and I’m proud to win it again.”
Sacred Heart, with four runners finishing in the top eight, led by Megan Buechler’s third-place run, compiled 33 points to 49 for runner-up Assumption.
Besides the Dowdy boys going 1-2, South Oldham saw Hayden Tinal place fifth and the team win with 33 points, compared to 49 for second- place Eastern, which had its leader – Sam Ackerman- run fourth in a talented field.
The top four teams in each race advance to the state meet Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, along with the top five individuals not on a qualifying team.
GIRLS: Sacred Heart, coached by Rick Heim, ran strong in a pack and that’s the way Simms likes it.
“I hear people cheering us and running with my teammates make me feel proud,” Simms said.
Simms lengthened her lead over Michels in the last mile after crossing the road and getting back on flat land.
“We ran together for the first two miles,” Michels, also a sophomore, said. “ I didn’t run in 2014 because of a stress fracture, so I was more determined this year. I had to prove myself because no one has heard about me.”
Abby Reburn finished fifth and Lillie Neltner was eighth for Sacred Heart.
“We ran well, but we can get better,” Heim said. “We’ll have some big competition at State with Daviess County and Assumption. Simms is good because she has generics, she’s a hard worker and she’s not afraid of a challenge.”
BOYS: The Dowdy boys were in front most of the way, with Tinal not too far behind.
“We have never ever ran at Seneca Park before and we were happy to run here because of the history this course has,” Cole said. “This course is mostly flat and it’s easy, but the cool weather and not having run on it before made it tough.”
“Cole and I were together until a quarter of a mile to go,” Tanner said. “He definitely has the confidence, having won this region twice. It was a good race for both of us. Our team was absolutely amazing today.”
Eastern looks like a team to watch in the future as its three best finishers were sophomores – Ackerman, Emerson Wells (seventh) and Luke Hoover (eighth). Trinity was a close third with 61 points.
Girls Class 3-A, Region Four
1st 4 teams qualify for state
Sacred Heart 33, Assumption 49, Oldham County 71, South Oldham 86, Ballard 149, Eastern 154, Atherton 187, Mercy 221.
x—Qualify for State as an individual
1. Kathleen Simms, Sacred Heart, 18:12.93; 2. Sarah Michels, Assumption, 18:33.59; 3. Megan Buechler, Sacred Heart, 18:38.54; 4. Sydney Larkin, Assumption, 18:42.23; 5. Abby Reburn, Sacred Heart, 18:49.71; 6. Hallie Searcy, South Oldham, 19:03.71; 7. Meghan Carrico, Assumption, 19:19:16.40; 8. Lillie Neltner, Sacred Heart, 19:19.73; 9. Rachel Gibson, Oldham County; 10. 19:28.03; 11. Riley Glenn, Oldham County, 19:32.76; 12. Samantha Griffin, Oldham County, 19:39.57; 13. Marqueritte Whheeler, South Oldham, 19:40.33; 14. Evelyn Constant, Oldham County, 19:40.73; 15. Sophia Beavin, Assumption, 19:43.45; 20. x-Kortney Smith, Ballard, 20:08.75; 22. x-Shannon Brown, Atherton, 20:24.25; 23. x-Sarah Whitaker, Eastern, 20:25.81; 25. x-Avery Renner, Ballard, 20:40.27. x-Allison Burgin, Easter, 20:48.81.3.
Boys Class 3-A, Region Four
1st 4 teams qualify for state
South Oldham 33, Eastern 49, Trinity 61, Oldham 123, Atherton 146, Ballard 154, Fern Creek 191, Southern 256, Jeffersontown 277.
x—Qualify for State as an individuals
1. Cole Dowdy, South Oldham, 15:39.57; 2. TANNER Dowdy, South Oldham, 15:45.22; 3. Trevor Warren, Trinity, 15:46.10; 4. Sam Ackerman, Eastern, 15:54.96; 5. Hayden Tinal, South Oldham, 15:57.47; 6. Sam McCalpin, Trinity, 16:02.95; 7. Emerson Wells, Eastern, 16:14.38; 8. Luke Hoover, Eastern, 16:15.33; 9. x-Ben Currey, Ballard, 16:22.29; 10. x-Marcus Grady, Atherton, 16:26.02; Jacob Burnam, Trinity, 16:30.06; 12. Joseph Brown, South Oldham, 16:30.69; 13. Aidan Skeeters, South Oldham, 16:32.62; 14. Avery Evans, Eastern, 16:36.94; 15. Michael Drury, Oldham County, 16:38.86; 22. x-Dana Thomas, Fern Creek, 16:52.15; 26. x-Kainen Grimm, Atherton, 17:01.85; 27.x-Connor MacLeod, Fern Creek, 17:24.86.