We knew going into this meet that weather was going to be a competitor with which to contend, and Mother Nature did not hold back. With 50 degree temperatures, cold rain, and slick conditions, the Camels charged ahead for our best team performances of the year. We knew this was a day to focus on place more than time, and every Camel who took the line knew his/her goal in the lineup and pushed with determination and focus.
The Lady Camels took the line with fierce determination to defend their regional championship from 2018. When the gun went off, our Camel pack charged the front of the race immediately. Olivia Holbrook once again set the pace with the front pack, following her strategy in text-book style. At the 1.5 mile mark, she made her move and pulled away from the other runners, winning the regional championship by 45 seconds. Emilie Zengel also ran a determined race, fighting through a tight pack that continuously traded places throughout. Her confident drive pushed her to a 4th place finish. Kylie Little pounded the course in a HUGE way that was integral to the ladies’ team score. Her fight through the top 10 was just what the ladies needed and placed her 6th with a season best time. Kaitlyn Strange once again ran with consistent splits and focus on her goals. Her calculating focus reigned in a 12th place finish. Emma Hogle stepped into the 5-spot when Savannah Krift went down with an ankle injury halfway through the race. Noel Slone fought her own injury to finish the Lady Camels’ performance for the day. When the points were totaled, the Ladies placed 2nd and claimed the 2019 Regional Runner-up trophy, just 2 points shy of first, and only 3 points ahead of 3rd in one of the tightest regional finishes in many years. This team simply pounded the course, even with slipping, mud, and injury, it was an outstanding showing of guts and grit. Mental tenacity.
The Camels had their eyes set on state this weekend and knew what they needed to do. Like the girls, the focus was on place and points in the race. Each runner knew where they needed to cross the line to try and clinch a qualifying spot for the state meet. The boys’ start was a little more conservative as they worked to move up in the pack. Noah Slone was stuck in a pack fight with three Covington Catholic Runners fighting through the top 10 for his finish. A tough fall in the race cost him a few spots, but he was able to battle back and finish 12th. This was just shy of his goal, but still in the top of the race that set the stage for the rest of the team. Freshman Colin Grothaus has been chipping away at the Camels top 5 all season, and yesterday was no different. He turned on the heat at just the right time to move through the line finishing 15th overall, well ahead of his ranked position. His hard work this season has solidified his spot as the 3rd fastest Freshman in our region. Senior Anthony Ronnebaum was the Camels 3rd runner to cross the line, having fought through illness all week to make sure he got to run the state course one more time. He finished 29th overall, the start of a Camel pack that included Adam Ruschman and David Howard finishing within the next 12 seconds. This gave the Camels a 50 second 1-5 split! Corey Robinson and Brady Baker worked hard to push our competition back in the pack from their positions, and it was integral to the boys’ team finish. Brady’s hard work this season has led to a 9th place ranking among all Freshmen in the region. The boys pulled out an upset and placed 4th, higher than their predicted berth, and beating a Simon Kenton team that had been just ahead of us all season. This was a strong team finish and qualifies the boys for the state meet as a team.
All Camels should be proud of their performances this weekend. Although there were some things beyond our control, the fight, determination, and strength that our team showed was evident of the passion and mental focus that we have. We now turn our focus to state and setting new goals for the biggest meet of the season!
Toni is the Cross Country and girls Track & Field coach.
Connect with Toni at firstname.lastname@example.org