HCHS boys roll to win at Middlesboro

Published 9:45 pm Monday, September 9, 2019

The Harlan County boys cross country squad continued its hot start, winning for the third time in four meets with a dominant 36-point victory in the Crater City Invitational on Saturday at Middlesboro.

Despite being without senior Zack Carmical, the Black Bears boasted four of the top 10 finishers. They were led by junior Caleb Brock, who finished second with a time of 17:43.38. Also cracking the top 10 were Austin Crain (19:09.34), Daniel Joseph (19:31.84) and Matt Yeary (19:50.40), who finished fourth, seventh and ninth, respectively.

Rounding out the Bears’ results were Luscas Epperson (11th, 20:08.97), Sean Cooper (16th, 20:40.75) and Cooper McHargue (21st, 21:22.09).

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“I’m proud of our boys. To come down here and win without Zack was impressive,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said. “I really like this team and how well they pack up and work together. The teamwork with this group is really impressive, and it seems like a different guy leads the second pack each meet.”

Harlan junior Tristen Cornett finished 34th with a time of 23:48.22.

Lynn Camp finished second with 69 points to Harlan County’s 33. Red Bird senior Dustin Driver was the individual champion with a time of 17:27.91.

Harlan County finished second in the girls race behind strong showings by Peyton Lunsford (23:09.91), Cadance Ferguson (23:54.53) and Baili Boggs (25:21.44). The trio of Lady Bears finished fourth, fifth and 10th, respectively. Also running for the Lady Bears were Ariel Madden (14th, 26:45.75), Caitlin Rice (20th, 27:51.03) and Lainey Garrett (23rd, 29:07.06).

“The girls ran well. We’ve yet to put our full team together on the line at one time, but I’m really impressed with the work they’re doing right now,” Vitatoe said. “You can see progress each week, and the margin between us and other teams is shrinking. They are working hard.”

Harlan senior Lucy Bryson (24:11.06) and junior Ella Morton (25:09.25) also cracked the top 10, posting sixth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively. Mia Pace (19th, 27:35.66) and Emma Owens (26th, 30:51.59) also participated for the Lady Dragons.

“”I am really excited that we have a full girls team this year,” Harlan coach Connor Sakati said. “That means we can start running more aggressively and thinking about placement as well as time. The additional drive of supporting a team has already led some of our girls to PR early in the season.”

“We are small but mighty, and I am looking forward to a season of success for our team,” Harlan co-head coach Trevor Fitzpatrick added.

Mallory James and Grace Rose took the first two spots with respective times of 21:27.28 and 21:49.44 to lead Middlesboro to the team title by 11 points over the Lady Bears.

Andrew Yeary won the boys junior varsity race with a time of 20:32.38, and Breydy Daniels was third with a time of 22:25.15. Harlan County’s Taylor Clark (33:31.28), Kiki Dean (35:26.50) and Peyton Griffin (38:54.66) and Harlan’s Madison Forrester (46:01.18) finished first through fourth, respectively, in the girls race.

“I was really impressed with several of our varsity guys today, but I also wanted to commend Andrew Yeary, who ran a great time in the JV race and has emerged as another varsity hopeful,” Vitatoe said.

Nazareth Sanchez won the boys middle school race with a time of 13:31.09, and Bradley Brock (14:44.28) finished third, to lead the Black Bears. Rounding out the team’s results were Kaden Boggs (sixth, 16:12.41) and Seth Coogle (ninth, 17:38.59).

Harlan’s Dylan Cox was second with a time of 14:01.62, and Ethan Farley (16:15.72) finished seventh.

Harlan County Christian’s Olivia Kelly was second in the girls race with a time of 16:35.25, followed by Harlan County’s Kaydie Coots (13th, 20:21.94) and Mary Gross (16th, 21:41.91).

The Bears dominated the boys elementary race, taking seven of the top eight spots. Harlan County was led by Tanner Daniels, who won the race with a time of 8:42.44. Rounding out the results were Luther Gross (second, 9:41.31), Trey Creech (third, 9:55.91), Ethan Lewis (fifth, 10:48.94), Timothy Hickson (sixth, 12:04.38), Carson Sanders (seventh, 12:37.31) and Zakk Collins (eighth, 15:29.12). Alice Gross (13:35.52) and Anna Gross (15:04.94) finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the girls race.

“I also want to acknowledge our JV, middle and elementary school kids,” Vitatoe said. “They all ran great as well.”

Both teams return to action Thursday at Lynn Camp.