Sixteen years later, the Wildcats have a strong shot at taking a team to next week’s state meet in Lexington.
First, they must qualify at Saturday’s Class A, Region I Cross Country Meet on their home course at the entrance to Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
"We’ve had some good runners and some good teams in the past, but just not enough to get over that hump and qualify," Wright said. "This is the deepest team I’ve had in years."
Wright is hoping for quality finishes from his son, Zack, who has missed considerable training time in the past three weeks while battling deep blisters on his feet, as well as Corey Harrison and A.J. Bridges, who spent the first three months of the season playing soccer.
All three have qualified for the state meet before and have big meet experience.
St. Mary, led by defending state champion Matthew Shoulta, and Hancock County are expected to battle for the region title.
However, the Wildcats could slide in and finish in the next two slots and qualify.
The top four teams and the next seven runners that are not on those four teams qualify for the state meet.
On the girls’ side, Wright admits it will be tough for his squad to qualify for state "because Hancock County, St. Mary, and Dawson Springs are all solid programs."
The Lady Wildcats need a strong showing from their top two runners to pull the upset and qualify as a team.
Like the boys, the top four teams and the next seven runners that are not on those four teams qualify for the state meet.
Times for Saturday’s races are 11 a.m. for the girls race and noon for the boys race.