Cross country walks away from Fern Creek Relays with records

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Kate Hatter

The cross country team opened up their season Tuesday night by winning both the boys’ and girls’ six mile relay in the fifth annual Fern Creek Relays at Vettiner Park.

Yared Nuguse (11) and Chris Adams (12) broke a course record together in the first event of the night to give Manual first place in the boys’ six mile relay; Former Manual runners Darius Payne and Austin Snider held the previous course record.

“The hardest part would definitely be the second mile, because I know I have to go fast like before, but there’s still the thought that I have to do another mile after this,” Nuguse said.

Partners Alena Sapienza-Wright (10) and Emma Kuntz (11) also set a course record and placed first in the girls’ six mile relay. Sapienza-Wright said she was satisfied with her time today, but has had faster times in practice.

Alena Spaienza-Wright (10) finishes with a record-breaking time. "Emma Kuntz (11) had a great race, and we both ran really well. It was really fun actually, once you got going, I kind of got over my nerves. Emma started out really strong," Sapienza-Wright said. Photo by Kate Hatter
Alena Spaienza-Wright (10) finishes with a record-breaking time. “Emma Kuntz (11) had a great race, and we both ran really well. It was really fun actually, once you got going, I kind of got over my nerves. Emma started out really strong,” Sapienza-Wright said. Photo by Kate Hatter

“I ran well, and I ran fast,” Sapienza-Wright said. “But many people always think that they can always do better, and I’ one of the people that always sees some kind of improvement every time I run. And so I was like ‘Ugh, I could’ve ran faster’ but really I did fine.”

The Vettiner course begins uphill before going down then uphill again, until the last section of the race, which is flat.

Each runner had a partner that began the race. One partner would run one mile then tag the other partner to run a mile. This alternating action continued until the partners ran a total of six miles.

Some runners were confused in regards to the finish line– running their last lap through the exchange line instead of the finish line.

Shea Dobson (12), who finished in the wrong place, said, “I remembered the rule about the finish line, but the last half of the course is mostly uphills. The concentration and energy it takes to run up hills sometimes makes you forget everything else.”

Leading up to the Fern Creek Relays, the team did tiempo runs among distance training.

Austin Bridges (11) begins his first leg of the relay, after his partner Connor Gerhardt (11) tags him. Photo by Kate Hatter
Austin Bridges (11) begins his first leg of the relay, after his partner Connor Gerhardt (11) tags him. Photo by Kate Hatter

The Crimsons treated the event like a scrimmage to immerse themselves into the year and did not focus on the possibility of breaking records.

“Basically, this is more of a fun, early season meet,” coach Tim Holman (Social Studies) said. “We look to run our best times at the end of the season and get better at the beginning of the season. This was an opportunity for the kids to run fast, to have a little bit of fun in the relay, but I don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on these early season meets.”

Fern Creek High School cross country coach Andy Ames has been organizing the Fern Creek Relays for the past five years.

Jackson Haile (11), Clayton Wagoner (10) and Graham Jolly (11) run down the last hill of the course to finish about half of their first mile. "[When you are coming out of the woods down the first hill], the feeling is exhilarating. You feel like you can run for days," Haile said. Photo by Kate Hatter
Jackson Haile (11), Clayton Wagoner (10) and Graham Jolly (11) run down the last hill of the course to finish about half of their first mile. “[When you are coming out of the woods down the first hill], the feeling is exhilarating. You feel like you can run for days,” Haile said. Photo by Kate Hatter
“I know that the kids are really driven to do well for their partner, there’s some extra motivation there, maybe even more than running for their team in a regular meet because they have one person that’s counting on them,” said Ames.  

“We are training through these early races, which means later in the season we will have some rest going into big meets, but these aren’t big meets,” Holman said. “There’s no tapering here. We went real hard Saturday, we went on a long run yesterday. So for today, this is more of a workout for us than anything.”

The Crimsons will participate in Tiger Run on Saturday, August 29 at Champions Park.

“We’ll train through Tiger Run, but it will give us some indication of where we are right now,” Holman said.