HALL OF FAME
CROSS COUNTRY: Tigers peaking
November 28, 2012Bardstown High School
CROSS COUNTRY: Tigers peaking
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm
All coaches hope to have their teams peaking in time for the post-season, and it appears that Dylan Mays has his Bardstown cross country team doing just that as they prepare for Saturday’s Class 1A Region 3 race.
“I intentionally scheduled four meets in the last week or so before the regional because I want our kids to be peaking at the right time,” he said. “That’s my job as a coach.”
His top boys’ runner, Brandon Price, is leading that charge. The junior, who has qualified for the state meet in his first two years on the team, finished second in the conference meet Oct. 23 and ran a career-best 16:50 in capturing first place in the Tom Williams Invitational Thursday.
“Brandon has had an excellent year for us,” Mays said.
He pointed out that Price is ranked 18th in the state and finished second in the Capital View Classic earlier this year.
“We finished third as a team and that is a high point of our season because that is a very prestigious race because of its longevity. It’s been going on for nearly 30 years. I think that race showed that our best is yet to come.”
Mays is molding his team back into shape after the recent fall break. He believes the time off can hurt a team’s momentum.
“That time off gets an athlete out of his routine,” he said. “I think sometimes it can be as much a mental setback as anything.”
The Tigers will have their work cut out for them if they are to win the Class A race.
“Historically, we run against some of the best private schools around,” he said. “You might say that we rank as the best public school in the region.”
Price admits that despite the improved times and his success this season, his chances of winning the individual crown is slim. Unfortunately, he will be competing against Jacob Thomson of Louisville Holy Cross.
“He’s the number one runner in the whole country,” said Price. “I just have to not try to run with him and run my race and stay with the pack.”
As with most Class A schools, Mays’ team must share athletes with other sports. Many cross country runners don’t join the team until late in the season.
“We have football players and soccer players and golfers on our team,” he said. “Football players and soccer players do a lot of running, but it’s not the same type of conditioning that is required of a cross country runner.”
To compete in Saturday’s regional meet, an athlete must have competed in four races.
“Sometimes we have a football player who is exhausted after a Friday game run a cross country meet on Saturday,” Mays said.
Besides Price, Mays is hoping for big races from several other runners on Saturday at Wickland. The girls’ race gets started at 10 a.m., with the boys’ race at 10:45.
“Tad Scyphers is our number two runner,” the coach said. “He’s only an eighth-grader but has been running since he was in the third grade. As he gets stronger, het gets better.”
Soccer player Carlos Sustarta and football player Logan Downs are also expected to contribute.
According to Mays, the number of teams advancing state competition is dictated by how many teams line up on Saturday. In addition, seven individuals who are not on teams who make it to the state will also advance.
While Mays is confident in his boys’ squad, he admits that his girls have not had the season he would have liked.
Katie Sidebottom is his top runner. The sophomore soccer player is running for the second year. She ran a personal best of 23.32 in the 5K at the Hillbilly Run on Oct. 6.
Jansen Mays, the coach’s daughter, has been hampered by injury and illness this season. She is rounding into shape after running a personal best of 26:04 in the Mid-Kentucky Athletic Conference race last week.
Mays says that senior Victoria Yocum is a leader for the girls’ squad, but will not be available for the regional competition.
“She’s a state champion in track who runs cross country to stay in shape,” he said. “Track, not cross country, is her premier sport. She is very helpful in working with a lot of the younger kids.”