Boyle County's Abby Piper was the top area finisher, coming in second with a time of 20:24.69 to help Boyle's girls to a second-place finish. Mason Glass of Boyle finished third on the boys side in 17:21.63.
Crowell said her time is precious, trying to mix the two sports in with homework.
"I do basketball, and whenever I'm not doing basketball, I run," Crowell said. "I don't have much time for schoolwork, but I do it."
Crowell joined the cross-country team last year to get into better condition for her basketball games. Next year when she's in high school and basketball is in the winter, Crowell said she plans on joining the cross-country team full-time.
She said she knows she'll improve with more practice time.
"I don't have as much endurance as I would if I was practicing full-time," Crowell said.
Her endurance may not be up to par, but Smith said her mental conditioning is right where it should be, if not better. Smith said it's rare to find the mental strength that Crowell has in an athlete her age, but that is one of her strong attributes.
"She has that competitive drive that you love to see," Smith said. "You'll get those few, and those are the ones that end up being at the top. Most of the time, the middle school kids are out there just going. She's having fun, but she's competitive, too.
"It's her mental capacity to compete. I saw it in track, and when she plays basketball, I see it. If she makes a mistake, she just digs down and goes harder. You like to have that in an athlete."
The Mercer team already has Daniel Crowell, a senior who was 66th in the boys varsity race; Jessica Crowell, a sixth-grader who finished 38th in the girls varsity division; and second-grader Jacob Crowell.There's a younger sister on the way up, too.
"If I can just get the Crowells to have some more kids, I'll be all right," Smith said.
The future looks good for Mercer's girls with just the Crowells they already have and a couple other young runners. Amber Tyler, the team's No. 2 runner, is in seventh grade and two fifth-graders - Olivia Logue and Halee Jackson - round out the roster of the future for Mercer.
"We're probably two years away from being fairly tough," Smith said. "Olivia Logue is in her first year running and she was seventh in the middle school race and Halee Jackson, in her second year was 11th in the middle school race. We're a couple of years away, then we should be all right."
Team scores - 1. Henry Clay 50; 2. West Jessamine 77; 3. Woodford County 81; 4. Franklin County 94; 5. Boyle County (BC) 128; 6. Anderson County 139; 7. Danville (D) 159; 8. Lincoln County (LC) 173; 9. Mercer County (MC) 249; 10. Casey County (CC) 264.
Overall winner - Zach Wilder, Woodford, 16:43.14.
Area finishers - 3. Mason Glass (BC) 17:21.63; 10. Devin Lawson (BC) 18:03.05; 11. Ross Hempel (D) 18:05.45; 13. Stephan Crown-Weber (D) 18:24.83; 15. John Anderson (BC) 18:29.31; 20. Brandon Sanders (LC) 18:38.59; 25. Elizha Burdette (LC) 18:53.46; 35. Chris Wilkinson (CC) 19:39.31; 39. Josh Kidd (MC) 19:54.27; 41. Keegan Wilson (D) 19:59.33; 45. Jonathan Evans (LC) 20:15.94; 51. Larry Cooper (LC) 20:35.25; 54. Nate Todd (LC) 30:53.57; 56. Daniel Bastin (BC) 21:17.06; 57. Zach Gosser (CC) 21:25.89; 58. Daniel Bodner (D) 21:30.11; 59. Jim Bob Mangum (MC) 21:31.38; 60. Bobby McCloy (LC) 21:34.02; 61. Patton Williams (D) 21:54.28; 63. Kylor Wilson (D) 22:12.70; 65. David Smith (MC) 22:21.73; 66. Daniel Crowell (MC) 22:29.60; 67. Jonathon Crowe (BC) 22:30.79; 71. Reid Williams (D) 23:03.25; 73. John McMaine (MC) 23:37.92; 76. Andrew Lay (CC) 24:44.73; 77. Bryan Sanders (LC) 25:09.07; 78. Trey Naron (LC) 25:17.01; 79. Joey Marzoni (LC) 25:24.99; 81. Matthew DeLuca (D) 26:30.95; 82. Seth Dixon (CC) 29:02.83; 83. Bryan Buis (CC) 29:12.02.
Team scores - 1. Woodford County 51; 2. Boyle County (BC) 57; 3. Franklin County 78; 4. Danville (D) 89; 5. Frankfort 112; 6. Henry Clay 119.
Overall winner - Kim Grieshaber, Woodford, 20:01.12.
Area finishers - 2. Abby Piper (BC) 20:24.69; 6. Kelly Jameson (BC) 21:45.35; 7. Kaitlyn Snapp (D) 22:04.29; 12. Mollie Pittman (D) 22:36.50; 13. Loran Crowell (MC) 22:43.18; 14. Kathryn Bayless (BC) 22:46.54; 17. Kelsey Barbato (BC) 23:00.35; 18. Rita Dixon (CC) 23:18.13; 20. Maddie Meckes (D) 23:24.07; 22. Hayley Barbato (BC) 23:30.80; 27. Morgan Young (D) 24:22.59; 29. Elicia Burdette (LC) 24:26.31; 31. Amanda Sherwood (BC) 24:37.30; 34. Julie Johnson (D) 24:54.52; 35. Brittany Baierlein (D) 24:58.72; 38. Jessica Crowell (MC) 25:43.01; 39. Alex Meckes (D) 25:58.40; 43. Jerrica Payton (CC) 26:18.87; 46. Kelly Embree (D) 26:46.66; 49. Leigha Coats (MC) 27:02.10; 50. Sarah Vonderbrink (D) 27:02.72; 55. Jessica Propes (CC) 28:23.92; 56. Sara Peavler (D) 28:35.29; 58. Sarah Noland (LC) 29:07.29; 60. Meg Kellam (LC) 29:57.40; 63. Samantha Lane (LC) 32:28.97; 64. Jessica Bayless (BC) 37:06.50.
Jill Erwin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.