Cold temperatures, wind, cloudy skies, precipitation and 52 scantily-clad runners came together on the challenging cross country course at Mason County’s Jockey Field to compete for region honors and state championship qualification.
The young men representing Rowan County did not disappoint in either area.
Shelley Deharte ran the best race of his career to finish as the second place individual. Deharte traversed the wet, hilly, 5-kilometer course in a personal record time of 16 minutes 52 seconds.
Roy Wright, Rowan County cross country coach, was impressed with his junior runner’s performance.
“Shelley ran a great race,” Wright said. “We knew he had a realistic shot at the individual title, he ran a very gutsy race and put himself in contention for the win.”
Deharte led the Viking Harriers to a fourth place team finish which qualified them for the state championship meet.
The lone senior running in his first season for the Vikings, Daniel Johnson, finished in 12th place with a time of 18:18. The third man for Rowan County, 8th-grader Nick Anderson, placed 17th with a time of 18:33.
Freshman Brandon Marcum crossed the finish line with a 19:27 clocking to place 26th. Josh Gilliam, a sophomore followed in 19:49 to finish 30th. Travis Curtis and Jon Erni placed 34th and 38th respectively with times of 20:04 and 20:21.
“Several of our fans asked me in the days leading up to the meet if our guys were ready, our first five runners set new personal record times and the other two guys were just seconds off their PRs, I believe they answered that question with their performances. I am proud of their efforts.” Wright said.
Deharte and Johnson were selected to the All-Region Team for their performances. Deharte was named to the 1st Team All-Region and Daniel was tabbed for the 2nd Team All-Region.
The Vikings will be competing in the State Championship Meet at the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:15 p.m.