- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Veteran North Hardin boys’ cross country coach James Jackson thinks Marcus Terrell is one of the area’s hottest runners over the last two weeks.
The junior has hit his stride, winning the Central Kentucky Run for the Gold two weeks ago and following that up with a victory in the Lincoln Trail Heartland Conference meet.
“His desire is there,” Jackson said Thursday afternoon. “Marcus has really stepped up his game after South Oldham, where he did not run well. It’s just what our shirts say on the front: Believe. He is believing in his ability to be successful.”
Terrell ran a season-worst 17:22.50 at the Dragon Invitational on Oct. 13, but bounced back the next two weeks as he set and broke his personal record in consecutive meets.
His performances in those races have him believing he can contend for the Class 3-A, Region 2 title at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the Hardin County Fairgrounds.
“I’m feeling pretty confident,” Terrell said. “I’ve got my race strategy set, and I’m feeling pretty good about the meet Saturday.”
But he knows the competition will be fierce.
Standing in his way is defending champion Keith Prive, a Greenwood junior, and a slew of local runners – including Central Hardin senior twins Josh and Michael Price and John Hardin senior Johannesburg Boulware.
Terrell will also be pushed by two teammates – junior Tyler Breeds and senior Brandon Ignas. And Terrell said you can’t count out Grayson County sophomore Bret Crawford, who finished second behind Terrell two weeks ago.
“I definitely think there’s going to be some good competition with Bret from Grayson County, Josh and Mike from Central and Keith from Greenwood,” Terrell said. “The best thing about running against them is having fun and just running with them.”
And if that isn’t enough to drive him, all Terrell has to do is remember last year’s region race when he finished 11th.
“I think he will be motivated by his race from last year,” Jackson said. “He did not run as well as he was capable of running last season, and I know he’s ready to step up. This is the best time for year for him to step up.”
The team race should be a tightly contested battle as well.
According to KYTrackXC.com, Bowling Green and the Trojans are considered the front-runners to win. Greenwood, Central Hardin, Grayson County and John Hardin are in the running to contend for the region’s other two State qualifying spots.
“Bowling Green and Grayson County are looking strong, and Central Hardin has looked pretty good,” Jackson said. “It will come down to who has the best day. Bowling Green, with its top seven runners under 18 (minutes), puts them in the favorite role. I see it as any team has a shot. Grayson County proved that last year by winning the region. If everybody brings their ‘A’ game, it could be very close.”
It’ll be the complete opposite in the girls’ race, which starts at 10.
With five runners projected to finish in the top five, Bowling Green is the team to beat.
“They’re ridiculous,” Lady Trojans coach John Russell said. “I hope it doesn’t come down to them getting a perfect score, but they can take two out of their top five and rest them for State, and still be the top team in the region. They are, by far and hands down, the best in our region.”
That leaves a handful of teams jockeying for the region’s other three automatic qualifying spots. Russell said that will make things a lot more interesting Saturday.
The veteran coach thinks his team will be one of the teams, but is hoping for a runner-up finish. In fact, he’s put his hair on the line. If the Lady Trojans place second, the team gets to shave his head. The last time North Hardin won a region trophy was 2002, when Russell’s wife, Michelle, was the coach.
“I put my hair on the line for top two,” Russell said. “It’s been a long time since the team’s brought home a trophy in cross country. I’m getting tired of my wife telling me that it was her team, so I need to fix that. She doesn’t want me to lose my hair. She wants me to get a haircut, but not lose all my hair.
“I’m pretty confident; I’m just not sure which way,” he added. “It’s going to be extremely close. We’re putting the pieces together and we’re all going to have to wait till Saturday to see how the rest of us perform.”
Sophomore Jillian Shufelt said the Lady Trojans have had one of the best weeks of practice they’ve had in a while, and they hope it pays off Saturday.
“We had some good practices this week,” she said. “They’ve made me really confident heading into Saturday. We need to run as a team and stay together, and not let anything else make us worry. We’re feeling very good heading into region. We’ve just been doing really, really good in practice this week and we’re all pretty confident.”
CLASS 3-A, REGION 3. The Meade County Green Wave and Lady Waves will be competing Saturday afternoon at Champions Park in Louisville. The girls’ race is scheduled for 2 p.m., with the boys’ set for 2:45.
Led by senior Will Strickland, the Green Wave are projected to finish second behind Louisville St. Xavier. The top five teams move on to the State meet.
The Lady Waves, meanwhile, are projected to finish sixth – just missing out on a qualifying spot.
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.