MAYSVILLE — The weather was wicked — 39 degrees and a whipping 15-mph wind — at the Class 3A Region 6 cross country meet Saturday afternoon, but Tates Creek senior Ben Young still managed a smile afterward.
Young, top-ranked in 3A, won in a time of 16:12 and certified himself as the favorite in next week's state meet at the Kentucky Horse Park.
"The weather definitely made it a lot less fun," Young said. "It was brutal, really cold, and the wind made it even worse. But I'm pretty happy.
"This gives me a lot of confidence for next week. I know I have a lot of competition this year at state, but hopefully I can go out and win."
Alex Mortimer, Young's Tates Creek teammate, finished second in 16:37.
Paul Laurence Dunbar's boys edged Tates Creek by one point to take team honors. The Bulldogs were led by Elijah Olige (third) and Timmy Michael (fourth), and they got strong support from Andrew Shoaf (seventh), Matthew Inman (14th) and Connor Chlebowy (16th).
Dunbar Coach Zach Ivester wasn't surprised his team prevailed.
"We viewed Tates Creek as the favorite, but we knew we had a chance. We believed all week and prepared all week, to win," he said. "To win by one point was a storybook ending. It was amazing to see how our guys ran."
Olige said even though he ran behind Young and Mortimer, "when I looked back, I saw two of our guys right behind me, so I knew we could win."
Henry Clay's girls out-distanced Tates Creek to take the region team title.
The Blue Devils were led by Daria Ochenkowski (fourth) and Julia Sammet (fifth). They got a boost from Jennie Clark (10th), Eliza Schaeffer (11th) and Jenna Lawson (20th).
"I came in very confident we could win," said Ochenkowski, a senior who's helped Henry Clay build toward this the last four years. "When I crossed the finish line and saw our next three girls come in, I was pretty sure we had done it."
Coach Steven Riley said the Devils' top three runners "did the same great job they always do," but the key to victory was the support provided by the other girls.
Riley said he was a little nervous with the weather conditions "because we've had beautiful weather all season. But we've been building toward this all year, and I knew the girls would give us all they had."
Clark County seventh-grader Makenzie Cooper, running in her first region meet, won the 3A individual title.
Cooper, 12, said the biting, blustery conditions weren't too difficult. "I like running in the cold better because my legs don't burn as much," she said. "The wind was a little hard, but I tucked into people for a while."
Cooper is accustomed to performing well in big meets. Last year she won the cross country (3K) nationals for 11-year-olds in Louisville.
■ Mason County's girls, led by Rheagan Sizemore and Cara Woods who ran sixth and seventh, won in 2A, Region 6. Olivia Leet of Fleming County took individual honors with a time of 19:49.
Russell's boys were runaway winners in 2A, Region 6. The Red Devils took four of the top six spots, including winner Tyler Andre in a time of 17:13. Russell's Jax Downs, Chris Cooper and Seth Atkins finished 4-5-6.
CLASS 3A, REGION 6
Teams (top five advance to state meet): Paul Laurence Dunbar 44, Tates Creek 45, Lafayette 96, Scott County 103, Henry Clay 115, Bryan Station 147, Montgomery County 212, Woodford County 214, Clark County 216, Anderson County 296.
Top 20 individuals: Ben Young (TCreek) 16;12; Alex Mortimer (TCreek) 16:37; Elijah Olige (PLD) 16:57; Timmy Michael (PLD) 17:07; Thomas Hill (Lafayette) 17:11; Carter Whalen (HClay) 17:12; Andrew Shoaf (PLD) 17:16; Kyle Sprague (TCreek) 17:21; John Rodes (BStation) 17:24; Scott Kaiser (Lafayette) 17:33; Harrison Owens (BStation) 17:39; Adam Castleberry (TCreek) 17:39; Jacob Fryer (Scott Co.) 17:43; Matthew Inman (PLD) 17:49; Harrison Keith (Woodford) 17:52; Connor Chlebowy (PLD) 17:52; Noah Murphy (Lafayette ) 17:56; Zakry Zwygart (Scott Co.) 17:57; William Atkins (HClay) 18:03; Edward Ash (PLD) 18:04.
Teams (top five advance to state meet): Henry Clay 47, Tates Creek 65, Woodford County 66, Paul Laurence Dunbar 135, Clark County 135, Montgomery County 145, Scott County 156, Bryan Station 204, Anderson County 209.
Top 20 individuals: Makenzie Cooper (Clark) 19:51; Savanna Duff (TCreek) 20:05; Kendall Hayes (Woodford) 20:15; Daria Ochenkowski (HClay) 20:36; Julia Sammet (HClay) 20:44; Emily Gogel (Scott Co.) 20:45; Annie Vandenburg (PLD) 20:58; Mary Grace Hill (Lafayette) 21:02; Maddy Jenkins (PLD) 21:03; Jennie Clark (HClay) 21:08; Eliza Shaeffer (HCLay) 21:10; Kendall Johnson (Woodford) 21:11; Emma Wells (TCreek) 21:12; Regan Martin (Woodford) 21:28; April Eling (Montgomery); Jordyn Hurley (TCreek) 21:47; Kyle Russ (TCreek) 21:52; Jewelee Holbrook (Montgomery) 21:54; Bekah Hall (Woodford) 22:01; Jenna Lawson (HClay) 22:01.
CLASS 2A REGION 6
Teams (top five advance to state meet): Russell 25, Boyd County 65, Ashland Blazer 65, Mason County 91, Bath County 100.
Top 20 individuals: Tyler Andre (Russell) 17:13; Elijah Miller (Boyd) 17:16; Austin Craft (Ashland) 17:32; Jax Downs (Russell) 17:44; Chris Cooper (Russell) 17:50; Seth Atkins (Russell) 17:51; Dale Curtis (Bath) 17:57; Tanner Kirkland (Mason) 18:01; Blake Campbell (Russell) 18:02; Joey Williams (East Carter) 18:09; Hunter Gullett (Ashland) 18:12; Noah Miller (Boyd) 18:17; Dylan Boyle (Ashland) 18:19; Nick Anderson (Rowan) 18:24; Tristan Kennard (Ashland) 18:29; Jacob Medley (Boyd) 18:29; Jordan Vallance (Russell) 18:47; Logan McNabb (Bath) 18:51; Tyler Toombs (Mason) 19:11; Joshua Heininger (Lewis) 19:16.
Teams (top five advance to state meet): Mason County 66, Russell 70, Boyd County 76, Fleming County 85, Ashland Blazer 101, Bath County 125, East Carter 155.
Top 20 individuals: Olivia Leet (Fleming) 19:49; Carrie Staviski (Bath) 20:15; Darian Steele (Boyd) 20:23; Courtney Gibson (Boyd) 20:30; Mary Thornburg (Ashland) 20:54; Rheagan Sizemore (Mason) 21:07; Cara Woods (Mason) 21:30; Peyton Cantrell (Russell) 21:39; Brianna Dewitt (Rowan) 21:48; Abby Fearin (Fleming) 21:58; Renae Keeton (Russell) 21:59; Kelsey Cyrus (Rowan) 22:02; Kara Coldiron (Russell) 22:03; Cydney Thompson (Boyd) 22:04; Lakin Delaney (Ashland) 22:04; Nicole Caba (Mason) 22:08; Abigail Keeton (Russell) 22:12; Michaela Polley (Ashland) 22:23; Josette Isaacs (East Carter) 22:26; Julie Perkins (Fleming) 22:30.