Lady Hawks show leadership, speed

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By Ron Benningfield

Though her girls’ cross country team is few in numbers, Coach Jackie Harley is hopeful determination, endurance and some runners with great speed will lead the LaRue County High School team to a successful season.

Veterans returning for the Lady Hawks include juniors Kristina Durbin, Kaelyn Herrin and Amanda Brewer. Seventh grader Clair Keller is back after sitting out a season. The coach said she is close to running her average time from two years ago.  

“She has been out the last couple of weeks due to a concussion, but will return at the end of August,” said Harley.   

Joining the varsity team for the first time this year is senior Gabby Carson.

“Gabby came out just to run with a friend and we asked her to join the team,” Harley said. “She shows a lot of promise and her endurance level is already where it needs to be at this time of the season.”

Middle school runners returning include sixth graders Alexis Grimes, Samantha Martin and Emily Pearman as well as Avery Murray, a fourth grader. Another fourth-grade runner, Macie Sandidge, is the newest addition to the elementary team.  

The coach said she’s blessed with several good team leaders.

“Kaelyn, Amanda and Kristina are all setting great examples for our younger runners,” said Harley. “Kristina normally helps to get stretches started and the other veteran runners jump in and help.”

Harley said all of her girls have built up their stamina and endurance earlier than last year.  

“The weakness that I see for our team is that we have low numbers,” she said. “We do have five girls eligible for a varsity team, however.

"If we keep them all healthy this season the girls should be able to qualify at region.”

Harley, a special education teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary in her third year of coaching cross country, said the team, even though small, has set a big goal against Class 2A Second Region foes that include Adair County, Allen County-Scottsville, Bardstown. Breckinridge County, Edmonson County, Elizabethtown, Franklin Simpson, Hart County, John Hardin, Marion County, Nelson County, South Warren, Taylor County, Thomas Nelson, Warren Central and Warren East.

“Our goal this year is to go all the way,” she said. “We want to make it to region, qualify and head to state.”