STANTON – Most of those who ran at Saturday’s Area 7 Championship cross country meet got a preview of the course which will be used for their state qualifier.

Judging by the results, the defending regional champs look to be in good shape.

Last year’s Class 2A, Region 6 team title holders, who also were the defending Area 7 champions, came out on top in Saturday’s competition at Powell County’s Lions Club Park.

Boyd County continued its dominance in local meets by easily winning the boys’ varsity event. The Lions scored 30 points with Rowan County in second at 83 points, Russell in third at 106 points and Mason County in fourth at 108 points.

Bracken County (145), Montgomery County (148), Elliott County (158), Ashland Blazer (168), Bath County (244), Morgan County (247) and host Powell County (295) rounded out the field that also included runners from nine other schools which did not enter a complete team.

Mason County’s girls captured their third consecutive area varsity crown after finishing Saturday’s meet with 27 points. Boyd County took second with 52 points, followed by Bath County (105), Greenup County (110), Russell (123), Fleming County (149), Montgomery County (164) and Morgan County (179). Twelve other schools either had individual runners or competed as “open” entrants.

The Powell County 5K course was new to many of the teams in the northeastern part of the state and the lack of hills made for fast races.

“I think everything the kids saw today with their times and their performance, they like the course, which is always a coach’s dream,” Boyd County coach Becca Chaney said. “When you run on the course before region and they do like it and they favor it and they do well on it, I think it’ll be a good thing for us to come back here in two weeks (for the regional meet).”

Mason County coach Mark Kachler agreed, but had one caveat.

“We liked it. It’s very, very flat, but the course we ran last year at Boyd County was very flat. So, that seems to be the norm right now,” he said. “But, it could all change if the weather was bad.”

Boyd County’s J.B. Terrill and Isaiah Caperton have rotated winning their races most of the season. On Saturday, it was Terrill who came out on top in 16:46.40. He was the lone runner to break 17 minutes.

“Today, I wanted to just take out hard and keep that position. We like to yell some crazy stuff at practice, like ‘obtain and sustain’ — you know you gotta just get the lead and keep the lead. All I did was try to keep myself going at the same speed. Try to notice if I was slowing down at all and (if I was) just pick it back up,” he said.

Terrill was not the first off the line, but it did not take long for him to move in front.

“At the start, there were a couple of kids ahead of me, but once we got down on the field I tried to get up there and I just held it the rest of the race,” he added.

Caperton finished second in 17:01.01.

The top 14 runners earned all-area honors. That group included: Lucas Ison (Elliott County) in 17:19.60, Isaiah Riggs (Mason County) in 17:23.35, Logan Stafford (Montgomery County) in 17:23.42, Jonah Stanley (Rowan County) in 17:28.31, Davis Brown (Russell) in 17:30.51, Grant Chaffin (Boyd County) in 17:32.14, Spencer Elswick (Boyd County) in 17:32.71, Gavin Brock (Boyd County) in 17:46.12, Trad Egleston (Rowan County) in 17:56.24, Tyler Conn (Boyd County) in 17:56.37, Damon Bryant (Bracken County) in 17:56.62 and Jayson Ingles (Rowan County) in 17:58.91.

Chaney is pleased with how her team has progressed to this point.

“JB Terrill is coming on strong at the end of the season. Spencer Elswick is usually our six or seven man and he was up to our four man today,” she said. “They are all just packing in there together. I think we were one, two, seven, eight, nine, 10 (in individual finishes). So, when you have packs like that coming in to the finish line it makes everything better.”

Mason County’s Paige Decker outlasted defending champion Bekah Howard of Ashland to win the girls’ race. After running together most of the day, Decker surged in front before a big hill near the end of the course. Decker finished in 19:30.71. Howard was second in 19:43.83.

Bath County’s Isabella Copher finished third in 20:11.55 just in front of Boyd County’s Sophia Simmons (20:15.35).

Mason County had four of the next seven finishers with Elizabeth Lavinder (20:24.23) in fifth and Alyssa Bisotti (20:40.91) in sixth. Ashland’s Aubree Hay was seventh (20:49.85), followed by Boyd County’s Emily Harrington (21:05.71), Russell’s Jordan Riley (21:11.91), and Mason County’s Hayden Faris (21:18.56) and Morgan Carpenter (21:27.62). East Carter’s Ryann Brown was 12th in 21:31.70, with Boyd County’s Emma Steel in 13th in 21:35.75 and West Carter’s Elizabeth Middleton in 14th in 21:38.18.

Each of the top 14 finishers earned all-area honors.

“I thought we ran pretty solid,” Kachler said. “We were led by Paige Decker, who had a very gutty performance. Rebekah Howard gave her all she wanted, ran on her shoulder almost the whole race. Paige made a very decisive move there at the end.”

The Lady Royals followed Kachler’s race strategy.

“Our other girls were really aggressive today, that’s the thing we were looking for. They went out very hard and that’s the thing we were promoting most of the day — that they attack the course, because it is a very level course,” he said. “We had seven girls in the top 20 … I think six of the seven were sub-22s (in time), so that’s really good.”

Several area teams will compete in the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Meet of Champions next Saturday in Lexington, before the Class 2A, Region 6 and Region 7 and Class A, Region 7 teams return to Powell County the following week.

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