The Knox Central Panthers were willing to suffer on Saturday, and their efforts paid off. The boy’s team swept both the JV and Varsity contests. With heat indexes in the mid-90s by mid-morning, the Knox Central All-Comers held this past Saturday certainly tested the athletes’ mental toughness.
Mitchell Trent and Zak Willis led the Knox Central Cross Country squad with first and second places, respectively. Trent commented, “Zak and I left the pack behind right around the second mile, and we just didn’t look back. We fought all the way to the end, but we have a lot of fun with that. Coach Rieth told us to go out and run consistent [mile] splits, and that’s what we did.”
Not far behind Willis were fellow teammates Jared Saylor, Caleb Teague, and Tyler Rice. Rice placed 12th in the meet, and rounded out the top 5 for KC, solidifying their first place finish as a team.
“I did not run well today,” admitted Rice. “My goal is to beat Mitch [Trent] and Zak, and I think with some more training I will get close.” Other notable performances from the boys team included Jacob Logan, a rookie this season, with a new personal record of 20:49, and Logan Lambo, a sixth grader, who placed seventh overall in the Middle School race with a new personal record of 13:05 (3 kilometers).
Overall, boys head coach Wesley Rieth was pleased with his team’s performance. “If nothing else, this is a good morale boost for us,” he stated. “While I don’t think we’ve come anywhere near this team’s potential for the season, we are on the right track. We don’t care as much about being competitive locally—we want to be competitive on a statewide scale. We have some audacious goals for the season.”
The girl’s team also performed well despite the rising the temperature and humidity. Coach Wilder was impressed with the size of his team this past Saturday. “This is the biggest team we’ve had out all season,” he explained. “The more we recruit, the better we will be—it’s just a matter of time.” The girls varsity team placed third overall behind South Laurel and North Laurel, with sophomore Madison Gibson leading the way for the Panthers. “It was very hot today,” lamented Gibson, “and that made things tough. We are really looking forward to some cooler weather to train in.”
The Panthers have some traveling to do this week, as they head to Harlan County on Tuesday, followed by the Southern Harrier Classic in Somerset this coming Saturday. Next Saturday, September 19th, the Panthers will return to KC to host the Harley Laxton Memorial Invitational. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.