HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Central's O'Shea wins record fifth-straight state title

Oct. 30—Nathan Hutchinson

PARIS — Ciara O'Shea's gameplan is almost always the same.

Go to the front of the pack, early.

Take control.

Don't bother looking back.

That strategy helped her win four-consecutive Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 3A individual state championships — all by rather comfortable margins.

The Madison Central senior, however, thought things might play out a little differently on Saturday at Bourbon County Park.

"I was kind of expecting people to come (after me)," O'Shea said. "It's the state meet."

Jessica Secor of Dupont Manual did just that.

And the senior was able to hang with O'Shea — at least for a while.

"I was prepared for that," O'Shea said of the early challenge from Secor. "I knew she was going to push me for the first little bit. But, once we hit the hill just before the mile mark, that's where I wanted to be alone."

By that point, O'Shea had indeed pulled away from Secor and the rest of the pack.

The Madison Central senior closed out her historic high school cross country career with another remarkable performance.

O'Shea claimed her record fifth-straight title, beating out Secor by a minute. The senior's time of 17:07.60 was a new all-class state championship record and also a new course record.

Led by O'Shea, the Lady Indians finished fourth in the team standings with 175 points.

Dupont Manual (77) claimed the championship, Assumption (106) was third and Oldham County (132) was third.

Freshman Shelby Lamb posted a time of 18:36.10 and finished fifth, individually. Meredith Campbell was 25th with a time of 19:32.00. Eighth-grader Abigail Beall was 78th. Amilya Reynolds was 79th. Alexis Ngetich was 96th and Makayla Bickett was 109th.

In the boys state championship race, Madison Central placed 16th with a score of 460.

Conner (73) claimed the title, while St. Xavier (154) was second and Covington Catholic (161) was third.

Will Sheets of Covington Catholic took the individual title with a time of 15:28.20.

Central senior Chase Lochmueller finished 49th with a time of 16:57.10.

Junior Carter Lamb (17:16.50) was 65th. Brody Coleman was 94th. Elijah Carrico was 145th. Michael Kipelio was 162nd. Mark Kipelio was 214th and Caden Coleman was 275th.

Several others female runners had won four-straight KHSAA state titles — including Gabriella Karas of Collins (2011-2014), Emma Brink of Sacred Heart (2007-2010) and Rachel Sanford of Southwestern (1993-96) — but no one had ever claimed five-straight titles.

On Saturday, O'Shea added that unprecedented accomplishment to her stunning resume.

Earlier this year, she posted the fastest time ever run by a female high school runner from Kentucky (16:52.10). The senior claimed her fifth-straight region title last weekend, cruising to victory at Cake Lake Park, while setting a new course record.

After she reached the one-mile on Saturday in Paris, O'Shea had already shed off the challenge of Secor and was — once again — all by herself and on the way to a record-setting victory.

"It kind of doesn't feel real yet," O'Shea said winning her fifth-straight title. "I'll celebrate it tonight, then focus on the postseason."

Class A

Model Laboratory had two runners compete in the KHSAA Class A State Championships on Saturday at the Bourbon County Park.

Senior Sahil Kutty-Poffenberger finished 49th in a time of 18:08.71.

Ty Balser was 71st in a time of 18:31.89.