The Franklin County Cross Country Invitational turned out to be the Shelby County Showcase.
Competing over the new 5,000-meter course at the Kentucky Horse Park that will be used for the State Championships, Stacey Eden of Shelby County won the boys' race. Schoolmate Caterina Karas took girls' honors.
A steady rain made for slippery footing, with mud spattering every which way.
"It seemed like every step you took, you slid back about a foot," said Eden, the runner-up in last year's Class 3A State Meet. "It was awful. But they couldn't do anything about it with this rain. They did a great job of setting up the meet."
Said Karas: "It's pretty fun. It was slippery on all the turns. I had to stop and slide along them."
Eden, a senior, covered the 3.1 miles in 16 minutes, 46.12 seconds. Todd Hewitt of Eaton (Ohio) was second in 16:52.39, followed by Walton Verona teammates Trevin Petersen and Jacob McIntyre.
"With these conditions, I wasn't even going to worry about getting a good time," Eden said. "I just wanted to stay with the lead pack for the first mile or mile-and-a-half, which is about halfway. I figured, depending on how I felt, I was either going to take off there or maybe wait another mile."
Hewitt matched Eden step for step, though.
"He hung in there," Eden said, "so I didn't 'go' until the last half-mile."
South Oldham, led by Austin Pfeifer in 11th place, topped 42 other schools for the team title with 142 points. Male edged Shelby County for second place, 240-241.
Karas, a sophomore, dominated the girls' race in 20:01.73. Jenna Rogers of Christian Academy of Louisville took second in 20:25.41. Then came Anna Bostrom of Woodford County, Ashey Svec of St. Henry and Amanda Hancock of Paul Dunbar.
Karas' plan was simple: "I want to win today.
"At the mile, I wanted to make my move and start getting farther and farther away because I feel like I don't have a kick at the end of the race, so the girls can catch me. So, if I can get away earlier, then they won't."
Svec propeled St. Henry, the two-time defending state champion in Class A, to team honors with 65 points. South Oldham was next with 92, 102 less than Oldham County.
In conjunction with the meet, Georgetown College hosted collegiate sections.
Centre swept team honors.
Bekah Rehkamp led a 2-3-4-6-7 finish as the Centre women scored 22 points.
Georgetown, second with 38 points, had the individual winner in Britney Chesser. The senior out of Seneca High School completed 5,000 meters in 20:40.59.
Centre's men, with a 1-2-4-5-7 wave, netted a mere 19 points. Runner-up Kentucky Wesleyan scored 51.
Clinton Cahall, a junior from Georgetown, Ohio, won in 27:34.06 for 8,000 meters.
"It was an experience," Cahall, who is majoring in physics, with a minor in math, said of the course conditions. "It was fun nonetheless. It's always fun to play in the mud!"