WINCHESTER — Domination. That was the method by which Woodford County's girls and Lafayette's boys ran away with team titles in Saturday's Class 3A Region 6 cross country meet at Lykins Park.
Woodford finished with five of the top eight girls to win a 10-team race with a mere 27 points. Runner-up Tates Creek totaled 61. Also qualifying for next week's State Meet were 3-4-5 finishers Henry Clay (105), Lafayette (116) and Paul Laurence Dunbar (129).
Lafayette, competing without No. 1 runner John Spencer, still placed five boys among the top 11 and scored 35 points. Tates Creek nipped Dunbar for second place, 66-68. Then came Henry Clay (130) and Clark County (159).
Individual honors went to Lafayette's Emma Valle and Tates Creek's Ben Young.
Valle, a freshman, covered 5,000 meters in 19 minutes, 54.12 seconds. Woodford seventh-grader Kendall Hayes was runner-up in 20:13.83, followed by Bryan Station's Emma Guilfoil in 20:50.19.
"She comes to practice every single day and just loves to work hard," Lafayette Coach Sean McNulty said of Valle. "Her dad tells me that she watches Steve Prefontaine videos almost every morning. ... She loves the sport, she loves hearing about races and race tactics. And today we kind of had to work on some of those race tactics because she's going to need them next week."
Valle kept her strategy simple: "Just go out conservative, not go out too fast," she said.
Runner-up Hayes said she "felt really good the whole race, and I am proud of myself. And I'm only 11, too, so I did really good, I guess."
Yes, as did her team.
"They ran incredibly awesome," Coach Brooke Stickel said of her Woodford girls. "Having five in the top eight is just great."
"I had hoped that we would do well, and I expected us to do well. We had a couple of runners really step up. Regan Martin (fourth) stepped up and ran just an incredible race. Then Emily Leach (eighth) stepped up and ran an incredible race as well."
In between Martin and Leach, the Yellowjackets had dependables Mia Cornette and Adira Jarman place 6-7.
"Our goal is to be better than we ever have before," Stickel said of next week's State Meet. "Our top place in the past has been seventh. I'm hoping for top five at least."
Young literally ran away with the boys' title, crossing the finish line in 16:53.56.
"I knew I needed to go out and have a hard race and just push what I could do," Young said. "It feels really good. It still hasn't hit me yet, but it feels nice."
Dunbar's Malik Mahmud outkicked Lafayette's Kadesh Murphy for second place, 17:08.11 to 17:08.90.
But Murphy led a wave of Generals to the team title.
Lafayette's Zach Murphy placed fourth, with Caleb Joy seventh, Scott Kaiser 10th and Thomas Hill 11th.
"I told them that 'you're your brother's keeper,'" McNulty said. "'If you're going to run for each other, then we have a very good chance to win today.'"
The Generals did, even though Spencer was out nursing a calf injury.
"It's been a fantastic season because we've had a lot of guys that weren't runners per se at the start of last year, and now they're out here, they're all working hard, they're putting in the miles, they're putting in the sweat," McNulty said. "It's a family. ... They will not let each other down, and that's a beautiful thing."
Teams—Woodford Co. 27; Tates Creek 61; Henry Clay 105; Lafayette 116; Paul Laurence Dunbar 129; Scott Co. 155; Montgomery Co. 167; Bryan Station 210; Clark Co. 220; Anderson Co. 266.
Individuals—Emma Valle (Lafayette) 19:54.12; Kendall Hayes (Woodford) 20:13.83; Emma Guilfoil (Station) 20:50.19; Regan Martin (Woodford) 21:00.90; Maddie Covey (Tates Creek) 21:09.17; Mia Cornette (Woodford) 21:20.87; Adira Jarman (Woodford) 21:24.23; Emily Leach (Woodford) 21:26.15; Emma Anderson (Tates Creek) 21:33.17; April Eling (Montgomery) 21:36.09; Lorren Sales (Tates Creek) 21:44.33; Daria Ochenkowski (Henry Clay) 21:48.38; Jodie Smith (Woodford) 21:56.14; Ivory Nava (Scott) 22:01.44; Mary Grace Hill (Lafayette) 22:02.84; Ann Louise Cooper (Dunbar) 22:06.25; Jordyn Hurley (Tates Creek) 22:10.19; Gloria Pulley (Henry Clay) 22:22.79; Kara Weaver (Tates Creek) 22:25.24; Eliza Schaeffer (Henry Clay) 22:46.93. Other State Meet qualifiers — 25. Samantha Correll (Scott) 23:07.65; 26. Lacey Johnson (Montgomery) 23:29.17.
Teams—Lafayette 35; Tates Creek 66; Paul Laurence Dunbar 68; Henry Clay 130; Clark Co. 159; Scott Co. 172; Woodford Co. 187; Bryan Station 191; Montgomery Co. 237; Anderson Co. 263.
Individuals—Ben Young (Tates Creek) 16:53.56; Malik Mahmud (Dunbar) 17:08.11; Kadesh Murphy (Lafayette) 17:08.90; Zach Murphy (Lafayette) 17:25.29; Grayson Brookshire (Clark) 17:37.71; Alex Mortimer (Tates Creek) 17:43.37; Caleb Joy (Lafayette) 17:51.55; Harrison Keith (Woodford) 17:57.05; Elijah Olige (Dunbar) 17:58.88; Scott Kaiser (Lafayette) 18:03.63; Thomas Hill (Lafayette) 18:06.06; Ben Hart (Tates Creek) 18:06.82; Mitchell Kilgore (Lafayette) 18:07.87; Ben Petrey (Clark) 18:08.31; William Atkins (Henry Clay) 18:08.84; John Rhodes (Bryan Station) 18:14.33; Carter Whalen (Henry Clay) 18:16.78; Joseph Ash (Dunbar) 18:21.93; Cesar Gonzalez (Dunbar) 18:33.29; Michael Wetzel (Dunbar) 18:35.32. Other State Meet qualifiers — 21. Jacob Brumley (Anderson) 18:38.83; 28. Zachary Zwygart (Scott) 18:53.40; Harrison Owens (Station) 18:54.06.