Saturday's cross country race at Masterson Station Park, the Meet of Champions, should have been dubbed the Mud Run.
Overnight rain and no less than 11 races left the course and parking areas looking like Woodstock. All that were missing, one wag said, were some hippies and drugs.
Saturday's celebrants opted for "runner's high."
Three-time state champion Kaitlin Snapp of Danville led the way for more than 200 runners in the girls' high school race. Bell County's James Brown ruled in the boys' 5,000-meter event.
High school teams competed in one of two races — boys or girls — but the meet was scored in three classes.
Walton Verona's girls edged Danville in Class A, 25-47. Bell County topped 2A with 65, with Boyle County edging Franklin County 87-89 for second. Woodford County won 3A with 38 points, trailed by Henry Clay with 84 and Shelby County with 98.
Snapp, a sophomore, took the lead 400 meters into the race and never let it loose.
"I felt pretty strong but the mud definitely slows you down and weighs you down, so you feel more tired than usual," said Snapp, who finished in 18 minutes, 52.29 seconds. "But it was good to learn to work through it and do well anyways."
Woodford County senior Anna Bostrom finished second overall and first in Class 3A, timed in 19:14.44.
"I felt strong, a lot stronger than I have this whole season, so that's a good sign," Bostrom said.
Conditions, she said, "were rough, but I think it's more fun that way, honestly. Our team really has a lot of fun with it and I think everyone does. It just makes it a really nice community feeling where you just help each other out."
Boyle County's Emma Ditto claimed the 2A title in 19:38.07, placing third overall.
Burgin's boys downed Elliott County 42-101 in Class A. Ashland Blazer led the 2A boys with 92, with Boyle County nipping West Jessamine for second place 103-107. Conner placed five runners among the top seven in 3A and scored a mere 19 points. Paul Dunbar (105) edged Henry Clay (116) and Tates Creek (117) for second.
Bell County's Brown slogged home in 16:26.57 to edge Franklin County's Robert Sandlin (16:33.42) for 2A and overall honors.
Next came 3A champion Sean Vandermosten of Conner in 16:48.32. Burgin freshman Alex Beckerson, sixth overall, led Class A in 17:14.86.
In a lead group of four at the 2-mile mark, Brown and Sandlin took off.
"I just knew Robert was there and I was wanting to try to stay away from him this race," Brown said. "I just kept going and I figured if I die, I die. Just try to hold it out."
As for the mud, "the first mile or two miles wasn't so bad," he said. "When we started coming up the hill to the finish, it was terrible."
Sandlin was happy to run well despite straining a hamstring earlier in the week.
"I felt pretty good. I just didn't want to mess it up bad," he said. "We took it pretty slow the first 2 miles."