Boyle trio will compete in state meet

November 11, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

They aren't through running, and they certainly aren't through being friends. But Saturday's Class AA state cross country meet in Lexington will close a chapter for three Boyle County seniors.

Mason Glass, Patrick Morgan and Abby Piper have been at the heart of Boyle's cross country program for the past two seasons, and they have been good friends for far longer than that.

They have three distinctly different personalites, but they have the same competitive drive to make themselves and their team better.

"The seniors work really well together," Piper said. "Both teams merge together pretty well. We work at that, and that's one thing that makes Boyle County different."

Their final cross country races come Saturday, and they said the finality of that has begun to creep into their minds.


"I've thought about it a little bit," Morgan said. "We've been running together for a long time."

When it's time to race, Glass is the one who will be cutting up long after Morgan and Piper have put on their game faces.

"He's just so much fun," Piper said. "You can always count on Mason to keep things lively and loud."

"I'm like that all the time," Glass said. "I like people to know where I am, and I like to get things started."

Glass said Morgan is decidedly different in his approach to running.

"Patrick's the businessman," Glass said. "He likes to have fun, but Patrick does his thing."

Glass said Piper's approach is serious, too.

"You can't joke with her," he said. "I get under her skin so much. But I know how to get on her sweet side, too."

Morgan could contend

Morgan is the most accomplished of the three and could contend for the individual championship in the boys race. Glass has a good shot at a spot in the top 30, and Piper should be in the top 15 in her competition.

Morgan was sixth among Class AA boys as a sophomore, and he was third last year.

"Patrick's just an amazing individual," Piper said. "Words cannot express how amazing he is."

Boyle coach Doug Sharp said he was recently talking with Morgan, who first ran cross country in the second grade, about filling out scholarship applications when Morgan made what Sharp saw as a fitting statement of his commitment to his craft.

"He made a very humble statement about his extracurricular activities that says it all: 'I just run,'" Sharp said. "How do you replace a kid with that dedication and devotion to an activity? I know he has had a great family of role models, but his internal motivation to run is undeniable."

Morgan said Glass is every bit as serious, even when it looks like he's just clowning around.

"He's fun to run with in practice, but during meets he's pretty serious, and he gets the job done," Morgan said. "That's the perfect runner right there."

Glass said he wasn't sure just how much of a runner he would be when joined the team as a freshman.

"When I started cross country, I was hoping just to get more friends and have a good time with them," he said. "It turned out I was a good runner who could contribute to the team, and I got something more out of it."

Glass considers himself a track runner first, but Sharp said it only took him a year or so to figure out how to run cross country well, too.

"He incorporated his track skills onto the grass, and we all marveled as his cross country times came down," Sharp said.

Injury has slowed Piper

Piper's times have gone up as a result of a tendon injury that forced her to sit out for three weeks in October. That has also caused her to adjust her goals for this week's state meet. She was eighth at the state meet last season, but her chances of finishing that high again have diminished.

"At the beginning of the season, I was looking to crack the top 10 again," she said. "Now, because of the injuries and having to take time off and be careful, I haven't really set a placement goal."

Sharp said Piper has become a better tactical runner as she has tried to work through her injuries.

"She knows that she will not run as fast this year, but her mental approach is phenomenal," he said. "She runs much smarter races than ever before."

They'll again be part of Boyle's track and field team next spring, but they'll go their separate ways to run in college, Piper for Sewanee, Glass most likely for Bellarmine and Morgan for one of the numerous schools recruiting him.

"I'd love to keep in contact with them," Glass said. "I can't wait to be sitting on the couch one day - or maybe in the broadcast booth; I want to get into broadcasting - watching them run and do great things, maybe even be in the Olympics, possibly."

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