Cross country Cats impress at state championship

Published 2:06 pm Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Bell County Bobats cross country team are, from left, coach Stewart, Nathan Miracle, Johanan Woodring, Hayden Green, Caden Miracle, Jacob Brannon, James Arno, Nicholas Stewart, and coach Simpson. – Photo submitted

The Bell County Bobcats wrapped up an impressive cross country season with one last historical moment for the boys’ program: a 7th place state finish. The cross country boys’ program had never cracked the top 10 in the state championship, but on Friday at the KHSAA Class AA State Cross Country Championship hosted at the Bourbon County Park in Paris, history was made.

“People outside of the cross country community often don’t understand how hard it is to get to the state cross country meet and then how hard it is to place top 10 as a team or to even win it,” coach Jason Stewart said. “These kids accomplished something today that hadn’t been done before in Bell County on the boys’ side by finishing 7th overall. This was a huge moment for our boys’ program.”

The Bobcats got off to a fast start in the 5K race with Caden Miracle winning the state championship with a time of 16:04.67.

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“These state meets are huge, our boys had a set a goal to finish top 10. I knew Caden was in front with the leaders with about 800 meters to go but then I look and see Nickel (Nicholas Stewart) back there in what I knew had to be top 75 at the moment, I think he was projected 97th,” coach Stewart said. “I got real excited at that moment, I see Johanan, Nathan, JJ, then Hayden and Jacob. All of our guys were running great. They were all crushing it out there. All of them ran their hearts out today on a big stage, in a big moment. I’m so proud of them.”

Nicholas Stewart placed 54th overall (18:25.00), while Johanan Woodring was 62nd (18:31.56), Nathan Miracle finished 76th (18:43.39), James Arno was 91st (18:59.65), Hayden Green finished123rd (19:25.32), and Jacob Brannon came in 142nd (19:50.52) for the Bobcats.

The Bell County Lady Cats cross country team members are, from left, Lily Nolan, Jasmine Clouse, Kaylin Hickey, Bianca Echeverria, Jazmine Brannon, Coach Simpson, Sara Saylor, Milka Woodring, and coach Stewart. – Photo submitted

Also earning a trip to the state meet was the cross country Lady Cats.

“The girls ran hard today, I think all of them ran a season PR at the state meet. Milka (Woodring) had a big race going sub 24 for the first time all season. We lose two seniors in Jaz (Jazmine Brannon) and Sara (Saylor) but I think these girls can earn a trip right back here next season as well,” coach Stewart said.

For the Lady Cats, Milka Woodring came in at 147th place (23:56.30), Kaylin Hickey in 170th place (24:33.55), Jasmine Clouse in 171st (24:36.56), Bianca Echeverria in 198th (26:10.34), Jazmine Brannon in 200th place (26:51.27), Lily Nolan in 206th place (27:47.01), and Sara Saylor in 216th (31:54.68).