This past Saturday the Cooper Boys Cross Country team won their 4th straight regional championship! They beat out rivals Covington Catholic and Ryle by a score of 47-62-82 (low score wins). For most of the team, it was the first time they had a hand in producing a regional win. It was a great race where the boys remained calm and ran the same winning way they have all season. They stayed calm the first mile, and then rushed everyone else as a pack over the last 2 miles of the race. At the mile mark the team score did not look great: CovCath 41, Ryle 50, Cooper 64. But there was hope that CovCath had gone out too hard. They had the 5th through 8th places and Coopers 3rd through 6th runners were hanging with CovCaths #5 and #6 runners. Ryle had 2 in the top pack as usual, but their 3rd man had started with them and was already fading, and their #4-5 were not in contention. Senior Caleb Watson has been running away from the team pack more lately as he has gained confidence. He has been able to hang with the top runners in the region more and more. He stayed with them for the first 2 miles and just after that they broke away from him. He managed to hang on and run well enough to finish 4th by the end. He has been a great leader for the team the past month. Sophomore Arthur Sonzogni started just behind the CovCath top 4. He has been going out a bit harder than the pack as well. He eventually worked on the CovCath #3 and 4 runners slowly gaining on their #2 runner. He ran out of course to catch him but finished as Coopers other medalist as 7th.
The race swung in Coopers favor at about 2k mark when Senior Hayden Dwyer led a charge with Sophomore Nathan Byrd to begin tracking down more runners. Junior Michael Hoffman and Sophomore Jacob Weis were in close pursuit. Hayden would push hard until the 2 mile mark and then hang on well to finish 12th. Hayden has given tremendous effort in every race this year. He has not had a bad race all season and cares deeply about his performance. He desperately wanted to win a regional title and was very helpful in keeping the team humble after winning Conference so easily. Nathan eventually kept his pace going and would finish 10th, one place ahead of CovCath’s #3 runner. Michael and Jacob struggled through the second mile but then surged ahead of fading runners to finish ahead of CovCath’s #4 runner.
The outstanding performance of the race was saved for Junior Tim Stidham. He starts steady and never slows throughout his races. He has been a reliable runner, but always finishes as our 7th man, or maybe 6th if someone is injured or running poorly. Tim was probably in the 30’s place-wise at the mile. He gains strength as the race goes on. He never was too far from our pack, maybe 10 seconds, but our pack doesn’t slow down either. Tim seemed to gain strength as the race went on, and he reached the 2 mile just behind our #6 man in about 20th place. He continued to press on and pass our #6 and #5 man and finished just 3 seconds behind our #4 man in 14th place overall! It’s tough to get beat when your 5th man is in the top 14 in a regional.
This season has been about taking these guys and convincing them they could be a great team and carry on a tradition started 7 years ago. Thanks to the alumni and parents that came out.
The official results are here: http://ky.milesplit.com/meets/222631-region-5-aaa
Combining all 3 classes from the day would show that Cooper had the best team effort of the day. They would have edged out St. Henry 105-116 with Highlands a close 3rd.
Saturday November 7 the boys race at the Kentucky Horse Park in the State Meet. Race time is 2:15pm. The team has a solid chance at a top 10 finish in the state if they run well.