By David Green
LEXINGTON – Kyle Barry, ranked 45th among 228 runners going into Saturday’s state Class 3A cross country meet, finished 22nd to lead the Marshall County contingent in the 5-kilometer race at Kentucky Horse Park.
Barry and teammate T.J. Lampkin finished their high school careers with four consecutive trips to the state meet. The two qualified as individuals last year when Marshall County did not finish high enough in team standings to earn an invitation.
The Marshals, who qualified with a fourth-place finish in the region meet Nov. 3 at Owensboro, took 21st place out of 28 teams.
Coach Chris Kerrick described his reaction as “extremely pleased,” but was a bit wistful about how close to the top 20 the Marshals came.
“We had set a goal of finishing in the top 20, and missed it by one place,” he said. Also, “the top 20 individuals are all-state,” and Barry missed that by just two spots.
Rachel Northcutt qualified as an individual with her performance in the regional meet. Northcutt, a freshman, finished 153rd in a field of 225 runners in the girls’ 5K.
A trio of Louisville schools dominated the boys’ race, with Catholic powerhouses St. Xavier and Trinity taking first and second. St. X totaled 31 points to easily outdistance Trinity, with 120. Eastern was third at 123.
Region 1 representatives filled out the top five, with two Owensboro-area schools carrying on their fight from the region meet. Apollo avenged a loss to Daviess County by taking fourth place in the state meet.
Daviess and Apollo were third and fifth last year, respectively.
Marshall County came up short in its effort to top a region rival. Owensboro, which outpointed the Marshals to take third place in the region, had a strong run at the state meet, finishing 12th with 391 points. The Marshals totaled 495 points and trailed the Red Devils by nine spots in team standings.
Barry completed the run Saturday in 17 minutes, 12.94 seconds, nearly six seconds better than the time he posted in the region at Panther Creek Park but slower than the time he ran at state in 2010, the first year for the new Kentucky Horse Park course. Barry ran 17:09.53 a year ago, finishing 30th.
The entire field was slower this year, though, compared to last year’s winning time of 15:33.24 by Evan Ehrenheim of Daviess County. Individual honors this year went to Connor Sheryak of St. Xavier, who ran the course in16:00.21.
“Kyle knew he had to get out a little stronger,” Kerrick said. “He stayed pretty solid. The first mile and a quarter or so, he was in the mid 30s.”
Kerrick said he called out to Barry, “That pack in front, that’s the top 20.”
“I don’t know if he heard me or not,” Kerrick said. “He passed people the rest of the way. And that’s what you like to see. He wasn’t just running, he was racing.”
Barry, who transferred from Oldham County after his freshman year, was 35th as a sophomore with a time of 17:19.10 in 2009. He finished 96th his freshman year at 18:00.49.
Lampkin, 19th in the region meet at 18:08.00, ran 17:54.15 Saturday to take 65th place. He improved by more than a minute over his time last year of 19:04.69, which placed him 182nd.
He showed steady improvement from his first two appearances with the Marshal team, with 19:29.28 in 2009 and 19:49.29 in 2008. He finished 192nd and 205th in those meets.
“He was extremely ecstatic, and he should be,” Kerrick said of Lampkin. “To finish in the top 100 runners in the start, that’s pretty awesome.”
Sheryak finished comfortably ahead of St. X teammate Sam Lewis, who was timed at 16:23.22. Kyle Covert of Eastern was third at 16:25.73.
Patrick Gregory of Butler was fourth and Luke Weishaar of Oldham County fifth.
Region 1 winner Chase Geary of Muhlenberg County finished sixth individually, the high finisher from the western end of the state. His time was 16:34.41, more than 12 seconds faster than his winning time of 16:46.70 at the region meet.
Others in the Marshal contingent were paced by Mark Gallagher, 147th; Hunter Hillmann, 149th; Jake Devore, 200th; Nick Gibson, 216th; and Colton Holstead, 228th.
In girls’ competition, two Louisville Catholic girls’ schools dominated, with Assumption outpointing Sacred Heart 34 points to 153. Bowling Green was third, followed by Oldham County and DuPont Manual.
It was the second straight title for Assumption, which was runner-up to Sacred Heart in 2009.
Kerrick said Northcutt was “a ball of nerves before the start” of the girls’ race.
“It was her first visit, she’s just a freshman, there were so many fans, it’s so loud, and that was by far the largest field she’d ever been in,” he said.
“The first mile, she was really in it, really focused,” Kerrick said. “By mid-race, she sort of disappeared mentally. Her eyes were down. But she got her focus back.”
Region 1 champion Daviess County was the top finishing team from the far western region, in sixth place. Region runner-up Muhlenberg County was eighth.
Whitney O’Bryan of Daviess County finished third individually. She ran 19:05.03, behind winner Cassidy Hale of DuPont Manual at 18:55.89 and Bailey Davis of Assumption at 19:02.53.
Amelia Reynolds gave Daviess County a pair of high finishers with a 10th-place effort.
Northcutt was clocked at 22:38.37 Saturday. She ran a 22:08.70 in the region meet at Owensboro, finishing 20th.