The Fort Campbell girls cross country team took fifth overall in the Christian County High School cross country meet, Saturday.
Katie Lever, an eighth-grade competitor, placed highest for the team with a 20:23.70 third place finish. Eileen Sullivan, senior, and Shantel Calbreath, sophomore, placed next highest for the team with a 22nd and 26th place finish, respectively.
The boys’ team placed 12th, with Chris Schlangen completing the course in 19:02.20 for 34th place. Seconds behind his teammate was seasoned runner Jordan Gibbs-Francis at 19:24.10.
“They did really good this weekend, I was proud of them,” said Fort Campbell’s Head Coach Vicki Gibson. “It was a fast meet, and they did well. I was very impressed with all of them.”
For Lever, who consistently places at the top with runners often much older, it was a good sign of more success to come.
“I’m predicted to get first [Tuesday],” Lever said of her participation in the Hopkinsville City-County Invitational cross country meet.
For members of the Fort Campbell cross country team, enjoying the competition and supporting fellow teammates is often the most important part as the runners improve week by week.
“I thought the meet was a lot of fun,” Sullivan said. “It was a good course. It was nice because it was close. I thought my time was all right. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I usually run better in the cold weather.”
The girls’ team is also expected to take first place in regionals, much like they did last year.
“I’m still going to try and go my hardest,” Lever said. “I love competition … I just want to do my personal best.”
For the boys, chances are good they will place in regionals and advance to state despite tough competition from schools such as Paducah’s St. Mary High School, whose runners won the Christian County Invitational with 51 points.
“I really just look for St. Mary’s,” explained junior runner Levi Gibson of regionals, scheduled for Nov. 5 at Heath High School in Paducah. “They’ve got a lot of fast runners on their team, so that’s who I’m looking to beat.”
Gibson’s personal best is 17:40, and he hopes to exceed that finish when running against Nathan Ellis, of St. Mary. Gibson has considered this school his staunchest rival for the past two years.
“I’m pretty sure girls will come in first,” Vicki Gibson said of her expectations for regionals. She is not quite as certain what the future holds for the boys on her cross country team.
“Boys, I’m not sure where they’re going to come in, maybe second or third. It just depends on the day. I expect both teams to go to state though.”
The cross country teams are fast approaching the ends of their seasons. The culmination of their efforts takes place Nov. 12 when they challenge each other at the state meet in Lexington, Ky.
To stay updated on the latest cross country developments, visit ky.milesplit.com and search for Fort Campbell High School.