OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY — Eaton’s cross country program continued its tradition of traveling to Kentucky to compete against some of the Blue Grass state’s best teams.
This year the Eagles traveled to the Owensboro Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 3 and came away with second and third place finishes.
“(We traveled to the) Owensboro Invitational to compete in a smaller, but highly competitive invitational. This is the first time we have ever traveled to compete in this meet even though our program has been traveling to Kentucky for the last 44 years,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said.
The Lady Eagles placed third with 76 points behind first place South Warren’s 49 points and runner-up Daviess County’s 68 points and ahead of several other Kentucky top 25 ranked teams in the overall team standings.
South Warren is currently the overall No. 4 ranked team in Kentucky (all divisions combined) while Daviess County is currently ranked No. 6 overall in the state of Kentucky.
The girls’ race also featured three of the top 10 female runners from across the state.
“Overall, it was a great race for us, especially early in the season,” McKinney said.
Kiera Elliott and Lauren Guiley placed eighth and ninth overall followed by Kaili Hewitt 18th, Cami McCloud 20th, Addi Guiley 21st, Stephanie Gibson 27th, Kyeleigh Gifford 28th Rylie Haynes 30th, Emily Haynes 33rd, Josie Eilerman 43rd, Elise Simmons 47th and Ally Schmidt 67th.
The men’s team placed second overall with 64 points behind Madisonville-North Hopkins who placed first with 49 points and ahead of third place Daviess County who had 79 points.
Madisonville is currently ranked 12th overall in the State of Kentucky while Daviess County is currently ranked No. 10. Two other Kentucky top twenty-five ranked teams that placed behind the Eagles were Grayson County – currently ranked No. 16 and McCracken County – currently ranked No. 25 overall.
Senior Kolby Hamilton led the way for the men’s team with a fourth-place finish followed by Tanner Davis eighth, James Baker 15th, Jack Richardson 18th, Bradley Gifford 19th, Wes Kitchin 26th, Nick Laycox 35th, Jaxon Roth 45th, Aidan Foster 47th, Charles Kochensparger 73rd, Dylan Staley 75th, Elijah Thacker 82nd, Connor Cook 123rd and Carson Alexander 127th.
“The humidity, rolling terrain of the course, outstanding team and strong individual competition created a great early season challenge for all our athletes,” McKinney said. “The outstanding competition was a major reason for us making the trip to compete in the meet. Several of our athletes improved upon their season best times while a few others managed to run a career personal best. We have some great competition for the top seven spots on both the men and women’s teams, which I expected this season. It’s friendly, but one of those things that is going to make us better as we progress through the season.”
Eaton will this weekend off before hosting its annual invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Fort St. Clair Park.
“Now we have some time to take a break from racing and really focus on two weeks of training before we race again at our Eaton Invitational,” McKinney said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr