Entering November, St. Xavier’s Connor Sheryak had never recorded a non-dual meet victory.
Now the junior has an individual regional title and last Saturday became the 2011 Class AAA state champion after posting a 16:00.21 to beat a loaded field at the KHSAA Cross Country Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
“I thought it was going to be a lot closer,” said Sheryak, who separated himself from the pack during an uphill stretch at the race’s midway point. “I felt really good at the mile-and-a-half mark…so I just surged and took over from there.”
St. X’s Sam Lewis was runner-up (16:23.22) and Kyle Covert of Eastern took third (16:25.73).
In addition to Sheryak and Lewis, the Tigers placed three runners in the top-12 to earn a record-tying 18th team title (Trinity also has 18).
Zack Beavin (8th, 16:48.45), Nick Reader (11th, 16:52.51) and Mark Johnson (12th, 16:58.75) rounded out the scorers for St. X.
With four of their top five runners returning, the Tigers look to be formidable again in 2012.
Class AAA Girls
After four years of domination by Sacred Heart’s Emma Brink, there is a new girls’ individual state champion. Manual junior Cassidy Hale filled the vacuum and took the title with a time of 18:55.89.
“I was pretty nervous because it’s the state meet,” said Hale. “I tried my best to stay calm and focused.”
Assumption placed five runners in the top-13 to claim the team title with 34 points. Sacred Heart was a distant second with 153.
It was the second win in a row and fourth in five years for the Rockets, who are ranked No. 13 in the nation by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA).
Coach Barry Haworth was especially impressed with sophomore Bailey Davis, who was runner-up (19:02.53) and finished ahead of teammates Katherine Receveur and Emily Bean for the first time this season.
“She’s just a tough kid,” said Haworth. “She’s one of these girls when I see her at the end of the race, it doesn’t even matter who the other girl is that she is trying to beat, she’s going to get her.”
Assumption’s Receveur was fourth (19:06.79), followed by Bean (7th, 19:34.42), Caroline McCaslin (8th, 19:35.95) and Kenzley Defler (13th, 19:57.09).
The future looks promising for Haworth’s squad as four of the Rockets’ top-five runners are sophomores.
Class AA Boys
North Oldham senior Taylor Sanders won the individual title (16:20.40) and the Mustangs placed three runners in the top-7 to win their second-straight team title.
Class AA Girls
A sibling rivalry highlighted the AA girls’ race as the Karas sisters of Collins ran 1-2. Seventh-grader Gabriella finished in 18:30.31 and knocked off her sister and 2010 state champion Caterina by 15.89 seconds.
Even with No. 3 runner Erin Wilson ill, South Oldham claimed a fourth-straight team title, placing three runners in the top-15. Grace Whitworth (20:18.21) was sixth, followed by Keightley Dudgeon (13th, 20:49.01), Alex Gilliland (15th, 20:54.09), Kami Orrender (22nd, 21:08.44) and Wilson (41st, 21:42.50).
Class A Boys
Holy Cross’ Jacob Thomson set a new Class A record and took the individual title with a time of 15:55.83.
The junior had his sights set on breaking the course record of 15:33, but the strong morning wind was too much to overcome.
St. Henry won its 10th straight title with a score of 82 and Collegiate was runner-up with 115.
It was the best finish in school history for the Titans, who placed three runners in the top-20, including Lucas Boatwright (17:35.08), Tucker Kirven (17:35.25) and Matt Bode (17:37.64).
“I knew in August that we had something special,” said coach Doug Peterson. “This is absolutely the finish that we expected.”
Fitz Mullins (38th, 18:11.72) and Frankie Wiley (52nd, 18:25.73) rounded out Collegiate’s scorers.
Class A Girls
Freshman Maddox Patterson of Sayre won her third-straight individual title in 18:58.53.
Representing the Louisville-area in the top-10 were Sarah Bode of Collegiate, who took fourth with a time of 19:49.04 and Holy Cross’ Karly Gawarecki, who finished sixth at 19:55.02.
St. Henry (100) edged Fairview (104) for the team title, followed by Green County (126) and Collegiate (156).
Pleasure Ridge Park senior Max Clemmons has signed a national letter-of-intent to play basketball for defending Division-II national champion Bellarmine. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4 assists a game as a junior for PRP.
“Max comes ready to play college basketball from both a mental and physical standpoint,” said Knights coach Scott Davenport. “And, he comes to us from one of the most tradition-rich programs not only in Kentucky, but in the nation.”
Michael Scheid of St. Xavier has signed a letter-of-intent to swim at Notre Dame. The senior owns two individual state titles in the 100 backstroke and a team title in the 200 medley relay. Scheid, who also swims with the Lakeside Seahawks, boasts a 4.0 GPA and plans to study finance.
Manual signees: In basketball, Lauren Bodine (Maine), April Wilson (Purdue) and Kara Wright (Southeast Missouri State); in volleyball, Emma Roberson (Evansville).
Sacred Heart signees: Golfer Emily Tofaute (Florida Southern); swimmers Miranda Mercke (Missouri) and Kelsey Buese (Michigan State); diver Becca Corbett (Virginia) and in volleyball Megan Lipski (University at Buffalo-SUNY) and Meredith Ashy (Ohio University).
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at at email@example.com.
Category: High School Sports Report