For the first time since 1987, the Wildcats finished in the top two in the region and qualified for the state meet for a second straight year, also for the first time in 18 years.
“I was proud of the way the guys ran. In 20 years of coaching, that was the toughest course I have ever seen,” head coach Mike Wright said of Hancock County’s Vastwood Park course, which featured several steep inclines over the 3.1-mile distance.
Junior Zack Wright was Trigg’s first runner across the line in fifth place, despite falling down one of the hills. He finished the race in 18:34, which was 1:02 behind the winner Jeremy Waldrip of Hancock County.
Trigg County later sent three consecutive runners across the finish line – Zach Storms in 12th (19:26), Michael Polanec in 13th (19:51), and Corey Harrison in 14th place in 19:58.
Freshman Jay Jolly wasn’t too far behind in 16th place with a time of 20:22.
“Our pack ran really well. It’s always good to look up and see three runners from Trigg cross the finish line together,” Wright said.
Zeke Wright was 21st in 21:08, and Chase Thomas was 43rd in 24:05.
Hancock County put the first three runners across the finish line and won the meet with 32 points, while Trigg was second with 60. St. Mary was third with 71 points, and Ballard Memorial finished fourth with 106 points.
The Wildcats qualify for Saturday’s state cross country meet at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
“Used to, a strong pack was enough to score in the top three, but things have changed so much at the state meet that you need three runners in the top ten to win,” said Wright, who won a boys’ state title in 1986 and a girls’ title in 1991.
Harrison and Zack Wright will be making their fourth straight appearance at the state meet, where the Wildcats finished 17th as a team last year. Wright was 42nd, while Harrison was 73rd.
On the girls’ side, Trigg County finished sixth with 178 points and failed to qualify for the state meet as a team.
Fourth grader Macey King was Trigg County’s top runner with a 29th place finish in a time of 26:22 on the 3.1-mile course.
King nabbed the final qualifying spot and is believed to be the youngest Trigg County runner to qualify for the state meet.
Melissa Taylor (27:50) finished in 36th place, followed by Leigh Groves (39th, 29:18), Taylor Bryant (40th, 29:46), and Kanisha Frye (41st, 30:19).
Dawson Springs junior Heather Martin won the race with a time of 20:52, while St. Mary edged Dawson Springs by a point to win the team title.