Boyle's Morgan second at state cross country meet

November 14, 2004

LEXINGTON - It may have been a cross country race, but Patrick Morgan relied on his background in two other sports in the homestretch at the State Cross Country Championships.

The Boyle County senior passed three runners in the final quarter-mile to finish in second place in the Class AA boys race Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Morgan has spent his fall sports season competing in both cross country and soccer, and while it means he hasn't been able to focus entirely on running, he said it helped him in this race.

"I think it helps that I've been doing soccer, too," Morgan said. "It gives me that kick at the end. I don't regret playing soccer. And I think track, running the 400 and the 800 (meters) helps, too."


It was the best state meet finish for Morgan, who was third last year and sixth in 2002.

"It's about perfect," Morgan said. "I ran my own race, and I got to come in second."

Morgan's day got even better when he received one of the six sportsmanship awards presented at the meet. Meet officials vote for one boy and girl in each class for the award, and Morgan said it caught him by surprise.

"It's such an honor, but when they tagged my jersey coming across the finish line, I thought I'd been disqualified at first," he said. "When they got me on stage I was just stunned. It's an honor to have those officials think of you that way."

Three area teams earned top-10 finishes, led by the Boyle girls, whose sixth-place finish equaled their best finish ever.

"We were really pleased with how our kids finished," Boyle assistant coach Joni Morgan said.

Boyle finishes ninth; Danville 10th

Boyle's boys were ninth in their 24-team field, and the Danville boys were 10th in Class A.

Five local runners finished in the top 25 in their respective races, which qualified them for all-state honors.

Patrick Morgan settled into fifth place in his race after the runners sorted themselves out over the first mile, and he was about five seconds behind the second, third and fourth runners with 800 meters to go. At the top of the downhill run leading to the homestretch, he began to put on the pressure.

First he passed Paducah Tilghman's Chase Wilson, then he blew by Ron Duncan of Fleming County and Nathan Liversedge of West Jessamine with about 400 meters to go, leaving him comfortably in second place.

"I was going all out," Morgan said. "I had to make sure they wouldn't come back on me."

Morgan's time on the 3.1-mile course was 16 minutes, 34 seconds, and he beat Duncan, the third-place runner, by five seconds. He was 21 seconds behind race winner Daniel Murner of South Oldham.

"I'm going to take about a week off, and I'm going to start distance training (for track season)," Morgan said.

The Boyle girls matched their sixth-place finish at the 2000 state meet. Senior Abby Piper led the team with a 19th-place finish, and junior Kelly Jameson ran a personal-best time to finish 23rd.

Casey County eighth-grader Jenna Lee was 26th in the same race.

Morgan's younger brother, sophomore Sam, was 24th for the Boyle boys, and senior Mason Glass was 34th.

"Most years you either bomb or have good times (at state), and we all had good times," Patrick Morgan said. "Everyone ran their race today and did great. I'm happy for all of them."

In Class A, Ross Hempel led the Danville boys with a 30th-place finish. Fellow freshman Molly Pittman finished in 23rd place for the Danville girls, who were 13th in their team standings.

Lincoln County was last among the 24 Class AAA boys teams. Its top runner, freshman Jordan Wilkinson, was 67th.

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