Bell cross country runners excel in Lynn Camp, Harlan meets

Published 10:44 pm Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Bell County boys’ varsity cross country team placed 4th overall as a team in the 5,000- meter run in a meet at Lynn Camp Saturday. Coach Jason Stewart said despite the heat, his team did well.

“The boys overall ran well today. It was hot out there. Hopefully, after we get a race or two in, the rust from no track season in the Spring will really start to come off,” Stewart said.


Boys’ Varsity Results in the 5000 Meter Run

Caden Miracle 2nd place 17:47

Jacob Robbins 18th place 21:18

James Arno 24th place 21:57

Isaac Lefevers 27th place 22:14

Hayden Green 28th place 22:28

Lucas Miracle 36th place 23:49


The girls’ JV team also fared well in the 5,000-meter run, with Sophy Jones and Kaylin Hickey each placing in the top 10.

“These girls really worked hard today,” Stewart said. “Got out and raced hard early, ended up with some strong places.”


Girls’ JV Results in the 5000 Meter Run

Sophy Jones 3rd place 27:11

Kaylin Hickey 7th place 28:41


On the boys’ middle school squad, Bell athletes claimed five of the top nine finishing spots in the 3,000-meter run, taking first place as a team.  Stewart said his boys raced hard from start to finish.

“Nickel came out hard and set the tone early really pushing the pace. The rest of the boys came alive and ran several personal best times! Also some great kicks at the finish line, Landon Eldridge really finished strong,” he said.


Boys’ Middle School Results in the 3000 Meter Run

Nicholas Stewart 1st place 9:55 (New Lynn Camp Course Record, New Bell County Middle School Record)

Braydin Hickey 4th place 11:39

Reese Arno 5th place 12:00

Elijah Hampton 7th place 12:26

Landon Eldridge 9th place 13:48


Even the youngest runners, the boys’ elementary team, did well. Jacob Brannon and Tanner Simpson took first and third place respectively, and Eli Knuckles came in 11th.

“I’m really proud of these elementary boys, they raced hard today,” Stewart said. “Jacob stepped up and got his first invitational win, and I couldn’t be more proud! These guys know how to work.”


Boys Elementary Results in the 1600 Meter Run

Jacob Brannon 1st place 6:06

Tanner Simpson 3rd place 6:28

Eli Knuckles 11th place 7:09


Three days after a fourth-place finish at Lynn Camp, the Bell County Bobcats found the right formula Tuesday in the Harlan County All-Comers Meet by claiming three of the top four spots to win the team title with 39 points.

Caden Miracle, a sophomore, was the individual winner with a time of 17:51.97. Nicholas Stewart, a seventh-grader, was third at 19:42.94, followed by senior Jacob Robbins in fourth at 19:43.24. James Arno, Hayden Green, and Isaac Lefevers took the 13th, 14th, and 15th spots, respectively. Lucas Miracle rounded out the top 20.

“I was very pleased with how my guys ran today,” Bell County coach Jason Stewart said. “Caden came out hard and set the pace early cruising to a victory. I thought Nickel and Jacob really stepped up and had big races, finishing third and fourth. All of the guys brought it. It’s still a long time until region though, so they have to stay focused and keep improving week to week.”

Harlan County finished second as a team with 37,  led by Caleb Brock in second with a 18:44.38. Daniel Joseph was fifth at 20:12.94. Matt Yeary and Lucas Epperson finished 11th and 12th, respectively. Austin Crain and Cooper McHargue placed 17th and 18th, respectively, while Kyle Farley was 21st, followed by Breydy Daniels (25th), Andrew Year (26th) and Kaden Boggs (28th).

“I thought the boys were good, but we didn’t match Bell’s intensity and that was the difference,” Vitatoe said. “I think they all ran well, and it was a good step in the right direction despite not coming away with a win. I tip my cap to Bell. They were fired up and ready. It’s a challenge right now finding the right balance for training with being so far behind. We are going to keep working, stay positive, and focus on lifting each other up. That will be key to progressing toward our goals for October.”

Middlesboro was third in the team standings with 67, led by Ozzy Norris and Brendan Delph in ninth and 10th, respectively. Trevor Raney was 23rd, Drew Martin was 24th and Caleb Brock was 29th.

Javier Polly and Grant Barto led Letcher Central, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively, with times of 20:37.32 and 20:40.34. Nathan Kiser was 32nd and Andrew Little finished 33rd.

Tristen Cornett (30th) and Ethan Farley (34th) represented Harlan in the race.


After a breakout season as a seventh-grader last year, Harlan County’s Peyton Lunsford won’t catch anyone by surprise this fall. That’s one reason why not many were surprised when Lunsford crossed the finish line first Tuesday in the Harlan County All-Comers Meet with a time of 23:07.97.

“Peyton ran a great race today. We had a strategy coming in and she ran it to perfection, which speaks a lot to her growth as a runner in the last year,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said.

Middlesboro won the team competition with 25 points, placing four in the top eight. Harlan County was second with 52 points, followed by Lynn Camp with 63 points and Letcher Central with 81.

“I am blessed to coach great kids. Our boys and girls teams both ran well tonight,” Middlesboro coach Luke Gilly said. “Our conditioning is improving and I’m always impressed with their competitiveness and grit during a race.”

Mallory James, of Middlesboro, was second with a time of 23:43.03. Teammate Grace Rose was third at 23:59.88. Katelyn Delk and Kennadi Larew were seventh and eighth, respectively Kirsten Keith and Hannah Fleet were 12th and 13th, respectively. Kamryn Keith was 29th.

Cadence Ferguson had the second-best finish for HCHS in 11th place. She was followed by Olivia Kelly (15th), Caitlin Rice (23rd), Lainey Garrett (27th) and Abby Vitatoe (33rd).

“I thought the girls ran well overall despite being without Leah (Taulbee) and Riley (Key),” Vitatoe said. “They battled the entire race. Middlesboro is a great team.”

Ella Morton led Harlan as she finished ninth. Mia Pace was 19th and Haylee Couch was 31st.

Heather Crawford led Letcher Central by finishing 14th, followed by Hope Roark (18th), Abby Little (24th), Abigail McDougal (25th), Emilee Jensen (30th) and Grace McDougal (32nd).

“In this being our first showing of the year, we looked forward to setting the first block in the foundation of a strange season,” Letcher Central coach Winston Lee said “ In reflecting, it was a solid start given our circumstances. The plan is to now continue to build up as we hope to develop a more consistent routine and schedule. See a lot of potential in younger athletes that have joined the program this fall. I’m looking forward to a great season and truly appreciate HC’s willingness to host.”

Sophy Jones led Bell County, finishing sixth with a time of 25:44.63. Kaylin Hickey was 16th.

“We didn’t have a full team today due to injury but the girls raced hard tonight,” Stewart said. “Sophy Jones ran well, finishing sixth place. She’s new to distance running but doing very well so far. Kaylin Hickey is also working hard and improving. Hopefully, by region, they’ll be healthy and ready to go.”


Bell County’s Nathan Miracle and Braydin Hickey finished first and second, respectively, in the boys’ junior varsity race. Harlan County’s Tanner Daniels was third. Bell’s Reese Arno and Elijah Hampton rounded out the top five. Harlan County’s DaShaun Smith was sixth, followed by Noah Stewart and Landon Eldridge, of Bell County. Conner Mabe and Clayton White, both of Lynn Camp, rounded out the top 10.

Lynn Camp’s Laren Partin rounded out the girls’ junior varsity race. Katie Combs and Kandace Collins, both of Letcher Central, and Lily Nolan and Sara Saylor, both of Bell County rounded out the top five. Letcher Central’s Mackenzie Nantz, Isabella Swanson and Covia Isaac, of Letcher Central, took the next three spots, with Harlan County’s Kaydie Coots placing ninth.