It’s safe to assume the Harlan County Lady Bears are fond of running at Corbin.
Harlan County placed three girls in the top 10, led by senior Allison Cornett, to win the Corbin Invitational on Saturday. In the history of the program, the Lady Bears have won all five meets they have run on the course at Corbin Primary School.
“The girls had a really good race. You can see they’re starting to round into shape,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said. “I think we are getting closer to our potential, but we have to keep working. I am very pleased to pick up a win, and I hope it makes them gain more confidence.”
Cornett placed fourth overall with a time of 24:22.14. She was followed immediately by sophomore Phebe McHargue, who outsprinted Corbin’s Alexis Mayne to the finish for a time of 24:55.14. Sophomore Katie Graham finished eighth with a time of 25:03.68.
Breezy Epperson (25:58.78) and K.K. Johnson (26:14.87) placed 13th and 14th, respectively, and Jordan Blevins (26:42.81) finished 16th. Shiann Westfelt (27:35.34) finished 21st to close Harlan County’s scoring.
Rounding out the Lady Bears’ results were Emma Day (24th, 27:45.27), Briana Roque (26th, 28:32.96), Katelyn Hensley (29th, 28:50.20), Janice Dean (33rd, 30:10.18), Mackenzie Combs (36th, 31:17.27), Taylor Jordan (39th, 31:39.93), Grace Dean (42nd, 32:41.86), Amanda Caudill (45th, 33:03.87), Madison Roark (48th, 33:39.70) and Laura Creech (50th, 35:25.21).
Harlan freshman Lucy Bryson placed 31st with a time of 29:50.58.
Corbin finished second, 21 points behind the Lady Bears. Williamsburg placed third, led by individual champion Selena Mattingly. The sophomore posted a winning time of 21:56.45, defeating the second-place finisher, Corbin’s Reese Helton (22:59.81), by more than a minute.
On the boys’ side, Harlan County stumbled to a third-place finish behind a dominant North Laurel team and five points behind Knox Central.
“We came out a little flat on the boys’ side today. I thought we ran pretty well for two thirds of the race, but fell kind of flat in the last mile,” Vitatoe said. “We’re still in a really good position, and we need to keep working as we have been. I know I hit them pretty hard this week in practice, but we have to push through that.
“I love this team, and I’m anxious to see how we handle our first bump in the road.”
Sophomore Josh Lee led the Bears with a fifth-place finish, posting a time of 18:58.23. Zackary Carmical (19:58.58), Alex Lewis (20:12.66), Seth Sanders (20:13.25), Dalton Shepherd (20:21.67) and James Chasteen (20:27.14) claimed 16th through 20th place, respectively, and James Dean placed 24th with a time of 21:01.44.
Rounding out Harlan County’s efforts were Zach Hunting (25th, 21:01.87), Cody Howard (27th, 21:09.54), Ben Lewis (32nd, 21:26.22), A.J. Teagle (44th, 23:18.00), Sean Cooper (45th, 23:34.55), Ulysses Roque (46th, 23:38.98), Tyler Kelly (49th, 23:59.61), Ryan Kilgore (62nd, 25:38.92), Andrew Crawford (67th, 27:55.27) and Jose Roque (69th, 28:01.84).
North Laurel’s Zach Collins (17:46.05), John Bowling (17:55.12) and Trey Valentine (18:21.46) claimed the top three spots as the Jaguars cruised to a 47-point win.
The elementary and middle school teams also had a successful day as the elementary boys and girls and the middle school boys each claimed second-place finishes to win trophies for the first time in more than five years.
“I’m very proud of all our kids today,” Vitatoe said. “It was exciting to see our younger teams have some success and bring home trophies. They work really hard and don’t get the press the older kids do.”
The elementary boys placed three in the top 10 as they finished eight points behind Corbin. Junior Sanchez (7:21.58) and Bryan Howard (7:22.37) finished third and fourth, respectively, and Andrew Yeary (7:30.03) placed eighth. Bradley Brock (8:12.77), Tristan Cooper (9:41.30) and Ethan Lewis (10:38.50) finished 15th, 23rd and 27th, respectively.
Hailey Austin (seventh, 8:46.19) and Haylee Couch (10th, 8:56.58) each placed in the top 10 to lead the elementary girls. Sophie Day (9:10.65) finished 13th. Emily Honaker (10:25.95) and Kaydie Coots (10:26.54) finished 27th and 28th, respectively. Adrianna Hockenberry (11:39.82) finished 32nd, and Abby Sherman (12:39.53) placed 37th.
The middle school boys also finished second to Corbin in the 4K race, led by Daniel Joseph (ninth, 18:14.62) and Matt Yeary (11th, 18:43.80). Cooper McHargue (19:46.02) and Lucas Epperson (20:15.27) placed 17th and 18th, respectively, and James Honaker (20:56.49) finished 20th. Rounding out the boys’ results were Brayden Blakley (24th, 21:23.27), Jarrett Austin (28th, 22:17.06) and Joseph Gordon (30th, 29:49.46).
Ariel Madden was Harlan County’s lone participant in the middle school girls race. The seventh-grader finished fourth with a time of 22:16.19.
The Black Bears will host an all-comers meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The varsity squad will travel to Ashland on Saturday for the Boyd County Invitational.