Boyle teams, Danville girls finish in top 10 at state cross country meet

November 09, 2003

LEXINGTON - Patrick Morgan and Abby Piper of Boyle County each earned a spot in the top 10 at the State Cross Country Championships, with Morgan finishing third and Piper finishing eighth in their respective Class AA races Saturday at Kentucky Horse Park.

They were among five area runners finishing in the top 25 individually, and they led the Boyle boys and girls to top-10 finishes in the team standings.

The Boyle boys finished seventh for the second consecutive year, and the Boyle girls were also seventh, up from 10th last year.

Danville's girls finished in the top 10 in Class A, placing ninth.

Morgan improved three places from his state meet finish last year, and his time of 16 minutes, 17 seconds on the 3.1-mile course was about 10 seconds off his personal record.


"I was really happy," he said.

Morgan's time would have won the Class AA boys race in either of the last two years, but this year he finished 15 seconds behind repeat champion Jacob Fortney of Muhlenberg North.

Morgan's strategy was to run with Fortney and the other frontrunners right from the start.

"Patrick went out really strong," said his mother, Boyle assistant coach Joni Morgan. "He took a gamble in terms of how fast he went out to challenge the leaders, but he was able to hang in there."

Patrick Morgan was running second to Fortney during the middle of the race but was passed in the final mile by Bell County's Nathaniel Blank. Morgan finished 2.5 seconds behind Blank and two seconds ahead of fourth-place Emon Casey of Paducah Tilghman.

"I went out about 4:50-ish with the front pack. About the two-mile mark everyone started fading, and Blank came on strong and passed me," Morgan said. "There was someone right on my shoulder the last mile (Casey) ... and I was of the mind, 'I've come this far, why blow it now?'"

Devin Lawson was Boyle's second-best runner in 18th place. The first five Boyle boys ran times under 18:15, and all finished 59th or better.

"We were really fast this year," Joni Morgan said. "That's pretty impressive."

On the girls side, Piper met her goal of finishing in the top 10

"I was real pleased with how I did today," Piper said. "I had a great season. I have no complaints."

Piper settled into seventh or eighth place early in the race and was able to hold her position thanks to a pack of runners right on her heels. She finished in 20:40, 1:38 off the lead.

"There was a huge pack of girls behind me, and I knew if they got to me I wouldn't come in in the top 15," she said. "I used the girl in front of me and held on to her for all I had."

"She had a really great season, and that was a great way to end it," Joni Morgan said.

Kelly Jameson helped secure the Boyle girls' top-10 finish with her fastest race ever. Her time of 21:21 was good for 22nd place.

"We knew she was coming on strong, but we didn't know how strong she'd be once she got to the state meet," Joni Morgan said. "To have both our teams finish in the top 10 is a great accomplishment."

The other area runner with a top-25 finish was Kaitlin Snapp of Danville, who was 25th in the Class A girls race with a time of 21:27.

"That was very impressive," Danville coach Ed McKinney said.

Snapp, a fourth-grader, ran out of one shoe during the second mile and finished the race without it.

In the Class A boys race, Stephan Crown-Weber, Danville's No. 2 runner, fell ill Friday and finished fifth on his team and 129th overall. Danville's top boy, Ross Hempel, was 32nd.

"We ran into a little bad racing luck today," McKinney said. "But I was proud of both the teams."

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