WEBSTER COUNTY, KY (11/14/12) – It was a historical day for WCHS cross country on Saturday during the 2012 KHSAA 2A Championships held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Webster County junior Iszack Whitsell placed his name in the WCHS cross country record books as did seventh grader Kendra Woodward. Whitsell ran to a fourth-place finish in the finals, the second-best finish ever at the state meet by a Webster County runner. Woodward turned in the fastest time ever by a WCHS girl at the state meet as both teams earned 17th-place finishes.
“Iszack placed himself in that category among being the best in the state finishing fourth overall. He was pre-season ranked 13th in the state and going into Saturday’s meet, he was projected to finish 11th thru 14th, so the odds were against him but he continued to tell me that he would stand on that stage and he did just that,” noted WCHS coach and Iszack’s father Todd Whitsell. “As a coach you love that feeling for any of your runners and God has blessed me with the opportunity to run and coach some of the best runners this school has seen in cross country — Matt Lowe (fifth at state), Jon Ashby (sixth and eighth) and Jeremy Kubach (11th) — all on the state course in Lexington. But as a coach and his dad getting to run all over the course, watch him step for step and see something in your child that you have never seen before is a father’s dream. I just can’t explain how proud I am of what he has accomplished.” John Warren’s third-place at the state meet in 1990 is the only performance to top Whitsell’s in Webster County School history. “Iszack was so determined and focused in on running that led him to believe and achieve that success. Iszack now can and will be considered a true contender for the Individual State Champion next year as two of the three that finished in front of him are seniors,” Whitsell continued.
The Trojans finished 17th out of 30 teams in the state meet with powerhouse North Oldham winning the state title with 110 points. Nicholas Laureano of Lexington Catholic won the individual title in 16:41.98 while Region 2 standout and Whitsell rival Sye Head of Logan County, also a senior, was second in 16:53.98. Whitsell crossed the finish line in 17:07.91 over the rugged and challenging course. Next in for the Trojans was Trevor Cole, just a freshman, with a 66th-place finish in 18:35.36. Nolan Pettit was 105th (19:06.83) while WC’s only senior Keenan Hall was 133rd in 19:32.92. Ronin Periard, an eighth grader, was 164th (19:57.03) while freshman Preston Glazebrook was close behind in 166th-place (19:57.83). Spencer McCormick, another freshman, finished 222nd (22:11.58) to round out the scoring.
“The boy’s team gained some valuable experience running in the state meet. Only two runners had run on this course (Iszack and Trevor) before Saturday and they found out exactly how tough and competitive this meet is compared to any other meet we run. I believe we held our own against the competition, getting our revenge against Hopkinsville who beat us at the Region,” explained Coach Whitsell. “And the Region Champs (Logan County) only finished two spots ahead of our guys. We were young but now that is just a description that will not be used again. We have gained experience and a hunger internally to be a top four team in the state next year.
“Returning our top 6-of-7 from this team and bringing back Robert Daugherty for the season (who sat out with injury), we will be ready to place ourselves back into the top 10 for next year and a real contender for a top four team finisher at the state meet. We watched the awards after our race and the guys all stated that they would be up on the stage next season, so we will have a lot of work to do but we believe we will get it done. Trevor Cole and Nolan Pettit continued to improve each race and helped this team over many challenges. Keenan Hall our lone senior, ran all season with a lot of heart and strength while Ronin Periard, Preston Glazebrook and Spencer McCormick all worked and battled each other every day at practice and in the races,” Whitsell stated.
In the girls’ 2A championship race on Saturday, the Lady Trojans also finished 17th out of 29 teams, led by another outstanding performance from Webster County seventh grader Kendra Woodward. She covered the 5K course, her first time at the state meet, in 21:54.94 to finish 57th overall. Gabriella Karas of Collins High School won the individual title in 17:44.18 while Fort Thomas Highlands earned the team title with an incredible 65 points, grabbing three of the top six spots in the race.
Woodward also put her name in the WCHS history books, running the fastest time ever at the state meet for a Webster County female. “Kendra ran extremely well, placing 57th in a time of 21:54 which is the fastest time any Lady Trojan has run on the state course since it was moved to the new location at the horse park in 2009,” Coach Whitsell explained. “That’s just an awesome feat for such a young runner and her first trip to the state meet.”
Taylor Wilson completed her cross country career 13 seconds away from a personal record (22:40) but destroyed her time from 2011 state meet by one minute and 50 seconds running a 22:53 to finish 98th overall. Ali Cherry, just a sophomore, was right behind Taylor by four seconds running a 22:57 for 103rd position. Chanler Cole, an eighth grader, was 115th (23:21.96), while a trio of sophomore followed. Hannah Pritchett was 136th (23:43.74), Cassidy Thomas was 152nd (24:07.41) and Madison Townsend 191st (25:25.52) to complete Webster’s scoring.
“Not a bad day for these young ladies who had never experienced the state meet. They ran hard and we’re very satisfied with their performances. All of these girls will return next year, so there’s certainly a bright future for cross country at Webster County High School,” Whitsell concluded.
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