Morgan, Boyle boys take first in region

November 02, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

Somewhere around the middle of the race, Patrick Morgan heard someone yelling at him from behind.

Morgan was leading the Class AA, Region 4 boys race, and he had no intention of being caught. But the yelling continued, and it was getting under his skin.

It turned out to be Boyle County teammate Devin Lawson, who was having a little fun at Morgan's expense. It was that kind of day for the Boyle boys, who cruised to their third consecutive regional title in Saturday's meet at Millennium Park.

"I thought it was a spectator, and that kind of made me mad," Morgan said. "Once I found out it was Devin behind me, I was fine."


Morgan won the 3.1-mile race with a time of 17 minutes, 37 seconds, but Lawson made it interesting, finishing just four seconds behind in second place.

That 1-2 punch helped Boyle's boys beat Lexington Catholic 44-54 even though six Lexington Catholic runners crossed the finish line before Boyle's fifth man.

The Boyle girls were edged by Rockcastle County for the second straight year and settled for second place, this time by just one point.

The boys, who have been bothered by injuries in recent weeks, came together for a strong showing that could catapult them to another top-10 finish at next weekend's state meet.

Boyle coach Doug Sharp said the boys were stronger than they have been since the Boyle County Invitational over seven weeks ago.

"Other than that, this was our best," Sharp said. "I expect we'll have an even better meet next week."

Perhaps no one was stronger than Lawson, who reportedly ran with a smile on his face through much of his first and only regional meet.

"After about a mile, something just clicked in me," said Lawson, a senior who joined the team this season. "I pretty much just decided to have fun."

That included having a little fun with Morgan when he started gaining on him.

"I was behind him, yelling things like I was going to catch him," Lawson said with a grin. "That's what I needed to do. If I'm gaining on him, he needs to run faster."

Boyle's girls ran as fast as they could, but they couldn't catch Rockcastle despite placing four girls in the top 10.

"If I told someone we placed four in the top 10, they'd say, 'You won, right?'" Sharp said.

Boyle didn't win because Rockcastle also had four top-10 runners. Rockcastle's top four runners were first, fifth, sixth and eighth, while the Boyle leaders were second, third, seventh and 10th.

Abby Piper, who missed more than a week of practice due to an Achilles tendon injury before returning two days before the meet, was second to Rockcastle's Kayla Hayes with a time of 21 minutes, 46 seconds, 36 seconds off the lead.

She was chased by teammate Kelly Jameson, whose third-place finish seemed improbable to her before the race.

"My goal this season was to be in the top 10 at region; I really didn't think I could come in third," Jameson said. "I've been working a lot harder this year, and I've improved a lot."

Kathryn Bayless was seventh, and she was part of a pack competing for fourth place before becoming frustrated by a zigzagging Rockcastle runner.

The places Bayless lost might have made the difference for Boyle, and it lost more points when No. 5 runner Amanda Sherwood was passed by three girls 30 yards from the finish after stopping to vomit. But Boyle also gained unexpected points when Kelsey Barbato finished 10th.

The Mercer County girls, with only one runner above the ninth grade, grabbed a state spot by finishing fourth.

"We have very young girls, but if everybody came in in the right mode today, we were hoping for the fourth spot," Mercer coach Leslie Smith said. "Our girls are excited because they'll have a state patch."

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