Tiger Cross Country started their first race of the year winning the Varsity, JV, and Freshman races at Tiger Run. The Tigers won by 16 with 84 points. Trinity finished second with 100 points and nudged out South Oldham who had 101 points.
Seniors Matthew Thomas and Spencer Hayden placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in the varsity race. Sophomores Cooper Marchal, Eric Portaro, and Clay Meiers also placed top 5 for varsity.
“I definitely wanted to win,” said Matthew Thomas. “It was a fast time for this early in the season, and I know I can compete with them. It doesn’t matter now though; it matters in November. I feel confident that we will win state. If we can win here with missing Ryan Guenthner and Patrick Schaffer, two of our top 5 scorers, and two freshman [Shiftlet and Larkin] showing out the way they did, we look pretty good. Grady and Zach will probably be in our top 7 if not top 10 and at least one of them will be running state for us. To win with Trinity, South Oldham, Eastern, and other big names in the state and still being able to beat those teams without some guys was a big boost and gets us rolling into the season with a great start.”
The JV team placed first with 5 guys finishing in the top 10 including junior Brennan Schaeffer, Alex Weber, Thomas Knepshield, Brock Mayer, and Seth Goodwin.
The freshman were also succesful with Grady Shiflet winning the freshman race, followed by Zach Larkin placing 2nd and Eoin Corbett placing 4th.
“It was good,” Larkin said. “We look really strong having three of our guys in the top 4. I’m really excited for the rest of the season.”
NEXT MEET: September 12 at Rumble through the Jungle (North Oldham Invitational)
Part five in a 5 part series previewing the 2015 St. Xavier Track and Field Tigers: Distance
800 meter run
1600 meter run
3200 meter run
WHERE DID THEY FINISH LAST YEAR?
800 – William Mulloy (2nd), Eli George (5th at Regional)
1600 – William Mulloy (1st), Max Mudd (5th)
3200 – Chris Striegel (2nd), Spencer Hayden (13th)
William Mulloy (SR) – 800, 1600
Eli George (SR) – 800
Spencer Hayden (JR) – 3200
Last year at State, Senior William Mulloy was one of the main contributors for the Tiger Track and Field Team. He contributed in 20 of St. X’s 65 points. This year should be no different. He is the favorite once again in the 1600 and a legit chance to contend in the 800. Throw in a possible 3200 and running in the 4 x 400 meter relay, and he has a chance to have one great Saturday.
“I’m working on becoming a smarter racer,” said Mulloy. “Last year I got myself into some pretty tricky situations because of flawed racing tactics. Also doing all of the extras to become the best athlete I can be whether it’s my diet or weight lifting/cross training.”
What kind of cross training is he doing?
“Well unfortunately I was on the bike and in and out of the pool all fall due to injury,” said Mulloy. “But even now that I’m healthy and running, I’ve found that I have had a hard time getting away from those things. So while we are in the process of building mileage and getting in shape, I’ll hop on the bike or in the pool because they are both great ways to stay in shape while not having to worry about injury.”
In the 800, look for Senior Eli George to be the 2nd participant again this year at Region for St. X. George was going into Region with a lot of confidence, but a quick start ruined his race.
“Everything felt good, the weather, my legs, and we were doing well on the day,” said George. “I went out 4 seconds faster for the first 200 than I usually do. Just a huge mistake that a junior shouldn’t have made.”
How far can he go this year?
“It’s tough to say,” said George. “I had a nice indoor time that I was nowhere near last year around that time. If I work hard, I can see 1:57 being a real possibility. As for state, it’s just about racing my team. I don’t see any problem getting past regional, but I just have to be one of the two that coach chooses to put in the 800.”
One of the people that could be coming for that second spot in the 800 is junior Matthew Thomas. He was injured most of last year’s track season, and he could make some noise in May. He will most likely also be the second participant in the 1600, so be prepared to hear more about Thomas this season.
In the 3200, the Tigers lost Chris Striegel to graduation. They return junior Spencer Hayden, but he is currently out with an injury. Hayden should be back before state, but it will be interesting to see how fast he recovers. While Hayden is absent, look for senior Andrew Garvey to step up and fill that spot. He really turned it on at the end of last year, and if he continue that into this year, he could turn some heads in Lexington.
The new KYtrackXC.com was released, and the Tiger Cross Country team remained number 1 in class 3A. In the individual rankings, Junior Spencer Hayden is 3rd, Junior Matthew Thomas is 13th, Sophomore Ryan Guenthner is 18th, Senior Andrew Garvey is 28th and Senior Ben Kleine-Kracht is 30th.
Class 3A Rankings
1. St. Xavier
2. Daviess County
5. Tates Creek
7. North Hardin
8. South Oldham
10. duPont Manual
Last year, the Saint Xavier Cross Country team won their third straight state championship and became the first 3A team to ever win 20 state championships. This year, the Tiger Cross Country team looks to make even more history, as they go for four in a row, which has never been done before in Class 3A. The Tigers lost 5 of their 7 state team members but don’t expect this to be a rebuilding year for the Tigers. St. X simply reloads, and this year is no different.
Key Losses – Chris Striegel, Ben Metzger, Max Mudd, Jack Minogue and Stephen Kinny
Key Returnees – Spencer Hayden (Junior) and William Mulloy (Senior)
The Tigers already show the potential to win a fourth straight championship, as they have put together a couple of great pre-season performances. Spencer Hayden and Matthew Thomas have finished 1-2 in both races, but positions 3-7 have flipped around in order between the time trial and the Manual Practice meet, something you could see a lot of this upcoming season.
|Time Trial||Spencer Hayden||Matthew Thomas||Ben Kleine-Kracht||Ryan Guenthner||Tyler Just||Andrew Garvey||Henry Geisler|
|Manual Practice Meet||Spencer Hayden||Matthew Thomas||Tyler Just||Andrew Garvey||Ben Kleine-Kracht||Ryan Guenthner||Henry Geisler|
Hayden and Thomas led the team in the pre-season (Note: Senior William Mulloy was out due to an injury), but the state championship will be won on the strength of spots 3-7. As of right now, the Tigers have a very strong core of Ben Kleine-Kracht, Tyler Just, Ryan Guenthner, Andrew Garvey and Henry Geisler. They also have some depth past that with Brennan Wheatley, Ben Glover, Ben Farber, Andrew Edwards, and freshmen Patrick Schaefer and Clint Sherman.
Junior Matthew Thomas said, “We have a very strong front pack of Spencer Hayden, William Mulloy and myself who are all fighting to be up in the top 10 individuals, and then our #4 – 9 guys are all very close to each other. They are all within about 30 seconds of each other and really not all that far from behind our front pack.”
In years past, the main opponent to winning a state title was Trinity. This year a team from Northern Kentucky has jumped into contention.
“Cooper is definitely the biggest threat this year,” said Senior Ben Kliene-Kracht. “They had several guys finish better than 16th place last year, and they graduated no one. They gave us a hard time freshman year, so it will be tough this year too. As always, Trinity is a threat, but I’m confident we can win the state title.”
“There are a lot of solid teams in the state this year, but we’ve had our eye on Cooper High School since last year and knew they were returning some good runners,” said Senior William Mulloy.
The Tiger Cross Country team wants to win their fourth straight championship, but they also have their eyes set on a later meet: Nike Cross Regionals in Cary, North Carolina. “Besides state this is our most important race because it gives us a chance to qualify for Nike Nationals in Oregon,” said Mulloy. “Plus anytime the team gets to travel out of state together we have a lot of fun.”
“I’m looking forward to NXR the most because of a few reasons,” said Junior Spencer Hayden. “Firstly, the team gets free gear there. Secondly, it is the meet that will determine whether or not we will be attending the Nike Cross Nationals. Thirdly, it is very fun as the weather is usually mild and the mall across from the hotel has many great restaurants inside it and stores to go into. It is the most fun meet to be with the team.”
Why is St. X going to win the title? “Because I know the team we are up against, but they don’t know us,” said Kleine-Kracht. “Milesplit just hosted a poll and Cooper won as the favorite to win. No one knows us yet. We have guys that have had great seasons but have just been overshadowed by the greats in the past couple of years. No one has heard of guys like Ryan Guenthner, Andrew Garvey, Tyler Just and Ben Farber, but they will know us by the end of the year. We have the element of surprise going for us. That, our determination and the hard work we have been putting in since day one will give us the title.”
The Tigers first race will be on Saturday, August 30th at the Tiger Run.
Go Tigers! We Are!
KYtrackXC.com is trying to decide who will take over the best boy runner in the state of Kentucky, and they are putting it to a vote. There are 16 names to vote for and also an “other” answer if you believe you know someone better who is not on the list. St. X was one of 3 schools to have more than one name, with the others being South Oldham and Cooper. It is a blind vote, and the results will be revealed at a later date.
Head on over and vote for your Tigers!