Nicholas Laureano didn't waste time searching the Internet for names of entrants in Saturday's Franklin County Invitational cross country meet.
Didn't need to.
"I knew there was a good chance, just based on last year's race, that there were going to be some really good guys here," Laureano said. "So my plan was just kind of maybe set the pace for the first mile, make sure it wasn't too quick, then kind of settle in with the pack. Then, about a mile and a half, two guys started to separate so I went with them."
Laureano, a Lexington Catholic senior, went with Daviess County's Daniel Southard and Apollo's Alex O'Bryan, then broke them to win the 5,000-meter event on the same Kentucky Horse Park course that will be used for the State Championships on Nov. 10.
Laureano finished in 16 minutes, 29.6 seconds, 7½ seconds ahead of Southard. O'Bryan faded to sixth place. Keegan Raidt and Evan Hancock placed 3-4, leading Trinity to the team title with 33 points. Daviess County was runner-up with 75, followed by Paul Laurence Dunbar with 197.
Daviess County's Whitney O'Bryan and Claire Payne went 1-2 in the girls' race, O'Bryan winning in 19:10.74. Fourth-place finisher Caroline Grogan paced Oldham County to team honors with 67 points, followed by Daviess and South Oldham with 108 each.
Laureano passed the first mile in 5:04. Battling wind and a long hill, he and Southard reached 2 miles in 10:35.
The final move belonged to Laureano, with about 500 meters left.
"That's kind of when I started my surge — just a long, continuous kind-of-drawn-out surge. I was kind of building on the speed," he said. "At that point, I kind of took a peek back even though Coach (Timothy Wiesenhahn) always says not to, and I had seen that I put a little distance on him. Then, confidence just kind of grew and compounded on itself."
Malik Mahmud, finishing 23rd overall, led Dunbar's third-place team.
The girls' race came down to Daviess County teammates O'Bryan and Payne.
"It definitely went the way I had planned," said O'Bryan, a junior. "My coach (Mark Fortney) and I had a plan for me and my other teammate, Claire Payne, to go out at a six-minute pace at the mile, and hang on to it from there, and try to stay together.
"We try to work together and pass on both sides to kind of intimidate people."
Michelle McKinney from Eaton (Ohio) placed third, followed by Grogan.
Eaton, which finished fourth in the team standings, had most of its team in the lead group 800 meters into the race.
O'Bryan showed no fear.
"I just kept saying the Bible verse that you've got to put your faith in God," she said, "and he'll do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Maddox Patterson, Class A three-time defending state champion, placed seventh.
Tates Creek, led by Emma Anderson in 23rd, paced city teams in fifth place.
Franklin Co. Invitational
Girls' teams — Oldham Co. 67; Daviess Co. 108; South Oldham 108; Eaton, Ohio 122; Tates Creek 212; Mercy 271; St. Henry 303; Male 346; Muhlenberg Co. 365; Boyd Co. 373; Central Hardin 386; Elizabethtown 407; Louisville Christian 424; Lafayette 433; John Hardin 443; Walton-Verona 475; Paul Laurence Dunbar 488; Pulaski Co. 491; Lloyd 533; Henry Clay 537; Lexington Catholic 550; Eaton, Ohio "B" 570; Mason Co. 585; Scott Co. 606; Rockcastle Co. 631; Trimble Co. 686; Fleming Co. 695; West Jessamine 704; Wayne Co. 716; Franklin Co. 721; Mercer Co. 791; Western Hills 826; Collins 826; Montgomery Co. 846; Letcher Co. Central 855; Nicholas Co. 870; Bracken Co. 947; Madison 954; Bath Co. 970.
Individual girls (5,000 meters) — Whitney O'Bryan (Daviess Co.) 19:10.74; Claire Payne (Daviess Co.) 19:15.61; Michelle McKinney (Eaton) 19:38.33; Caroline Grogan (Oldham Co.) 19:42.19; Amelia Reynolds (Daviess Co.) 20:02.54; Grace Whitworth (South Oldham) 20:03.51; Maddox Patterson (Sayre) 20:06.14; Keightley Dudgeon (South Oldham) 20:06.85; Kayla Ste. Marie (Eaton) 20:07.19; Hannah Godfrey (Elizabethtown) 20:11.05; Lindsey Mathis (Muhlenberg Co.) 20:12.08; Taylor Broermann (Eaton) 20:16.02; Meagan Smith (Danville) 20:19.82; Hannah Mullins (Oldham Co.) 20:20.18; Haley Mullins (Oldham Co.) 20:21.78; Hannah Herd (Lou. Christian) 20:33.28; Alyssa Hyden (Pulaski Co.) 20:37.30; Taylor Connett (St. Henry) 20:42.77; Chelsea Bear (Oldham Co.) 20:44.63; Jennah Flairty (Campbell Co.) 20:48.50.
Boys' teams — Trinity 33; Daviess Co. 75; Paul Laurence Dunbar 197; Apollo 208; Pulaski Co. 281; North Hardin 291; Walton-Verona 293; Grayson Co. 305; Tates Creek 326; Manual 341; Central Hardin 348; Lexington Catholic 361; Lafayette 364; St. Henry 371; Eaton, Ohio 417; South Oldham 446; Collins 465; Henry Clay 467; Oldham Co. 501; Male 506; Louisville Christian 578; John Hardin 600; Letcher Co. Central 602; Mason Co. 626; Campbell Co. 701; DeSales 705; Wayne Co. 725; Owen Co. 729; Scott Co. 805; Elizabethtown 867; Trimble Co. 878; Franklin Co. 881; West Jessamine 883; Mercer Co. 898; Bracken Co. 927; East Jessamine 986; Thomas Nelson 1,047; Lloyd 1,073; Muhlenberg Co. 1,117; Bath Co. 1,148; Powell Co. 1,149; Eaton "B" 1,168; Lexington Christian 1,245; Henry Co. 1,258; Montgomery Co. 1,309; Clinton Co. 1,312; Fleming Co. 1,315; Madison 1,353.
Individual boys (5,000 meters) — Nicholas Laureano (Lex. Catholic) 16:29.60; Daniel Southard (Daviess Co.) 16:37.09; Keegan Raidt (Trinity) 16:41.44; Evan Hancock (Trinity) 16:41.80; Jonathan Taylor (Portland Christian) 16:42.25; Alex O'Bryan (Apollo) 16:45.53; Cameron Quisenberry (Daviess Co.) 16:46.39; Derrick Stauble (Trinity) 16:58.07; Daniel Wolfer (St. Henry) 16:58.71; Andrew Ireland (Trinity) 16:59.38; Blake Merkley (Trinity) 17:02.51; Dusty Johnson (Apollo) 17:04.82; Hunter Trenary (Owen Co.) 17:06.61; Bret Crawford (Grayson Co.) 17:10.56; Tyler Breeds (North Hardin) 17:11.58; Cole Dowdy (South Oldham) 17:12.45; John Spencer (Lafayette) 17:14.30; Mason Blevins (Pulaski Co.) 17:16.14; James Cecil (Daviess Co.) 17:20.43; Nick Eckert (Trinity) 17:21.17.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com