|Highlands Girls Finish Runner-up, Boys Take Fifth|
|Contributed Photo. Highlands senior Maggie Schroeder crosses the finish line for her second Class 2A individual state championship in three years.|
Maggie Schroeder knew she had the chance to record her second individual Class 2A state championship entering the season.
But the Highlands Bluebirds girls cross country knew the biggest challenge was not letting anything come between her and that leading up to that final race Friday. Nothing did as Schroeder recorded that second title in three years running the 5,000 kilometer/3.1-mile race in 19 minutes, 16.87 seconds at the Bourbon County Cross Country Course in Paris.
"There was a lot of strong competition this year and there were so many new courses that different races were held on that might have been a little short or a little long that nobody had seen before for standards of comparison," Schroeder said. "Times this season were all over the board this season and nobody quite knew what everybody else was capable of doing. Going into state, I definitely had an idea that I had a good chance to win. But I in no way was 100 percent sure that I was going to win by such a large margin there. Everything played out right. I felt good. The weather ended up being much nicer than I thought. The course was hilly. I'm impartial to hills. It was a great race."
Schroeder won the race by 25.14 seconds. Christian Academy of Louisville junior Addi Dewey took second in 19:42.01.
"People forgot about Maggie Schroeder last year," said Brian Alessandro, Highlands Head Coach. "It was a dominating performance (Friday) with some really good runners. But she's put in a ton of work so I'm very proud of her."
Schroeder said she was glad to see the season take place unlike other states such as New Mexico where state governments did not allow any high school athletics to take place in the fall. Schroeder ran in the state meet last year. But mono forced her out of some of the races last year so she was not 100 percent last season.
The Highlands girls finished second overall with 112 points despite not being 100 percent out of 26 teams. The Christian Academy of Louisville took first with 97 points and two-time defending state champion Scott finished third with 125.
"We were missing one of our runners. She's been second runner all year," Alessandro said. "We had some girls step up big-time to finish second. We told them that they were going to run for her since she couldn't be here. They were pumped up and ready for that task."
The other four scorers finished in the top 47 out of 216 runners. Sophomores Eden Brumer and Alyssa Harris finished 20th (19 points) and 21st (20) in 20:59.7 and 21:04.37. Eighth grader Adrienne Harris took 33rd (31) in 21:25.27 and sophomore Ruby Smith finished 47th (41) in 22:00.56.
Two middle schoolers also ran in the race. Seventh grader Isabella Neufarth finished 97th in 23:12.68 and eighth grader Sarah Jones took 111th in 23:37.47.
The Highlands boys took fifth out of 32 teams with 174 points. North Oldham won it with 78. But the Bluebirds did beat Region 4 rival Lexington Catholic, who finished sixth with 174. Corbin (133), Webster County (136) and Boyd County (137) finished real close to each other second through fourth.
"It was real close to second place so I think we ran as well as we could," Alessandro. "We beat Lexington Catholic who beat us badly at the regional last week so we're happy."
The five scorers placed in the top 56 out of 252 runners. Both teams ran in the first wave of three that came about as a result of Coronavirus 2019 restrictions.
Highlands seniors Peter Lasky and Will Griffith led the way placing 21st (20) in 17:37.85 and 28th (26) in 17:48.37. Freshman Malcolm Robertson placed 39th (37) in 18:01.03 and junior Sam Jones took 42nd (39) in 18:05.19. Junior Thomas Gray-Torsell took 56th in 18:27.61.
Sophomores Sam Hopper and John Laskey also ran. Hopper took 57th in 18:29.15 and John Laskey took 88th in 18:55.18.
Both teams will have to fill in for the graduation of key seniors next year. But the pipeline continues to fill up for the Bluebirds under Alessandro's leadership.