LaRue County High School junior cross country runner Ryan Durbin finished the Class AA boys' state cross country meet Saturday in 66th in the field of 237.
His time in the five-kilometer race at the Kentucky Horse Park was 18:14.78.
Durbin recorded his best time ever the previous Saturday to take third in the Class AA, Region 2 championship at First Baptist Church in Hodgenville. His time in the regional meet was 18:09:57.
“It was on my home course, so I pulled away from the pack right at the very beginning,” Durbin said.
Durbin, who won Marion County’s Smokey Pig run this season, said he began competing after last year’s cross country coach, Jack Mitchell, looked at his 6-foot 4-inch, 135-pound frame, and told him he would make a natural distance runner.
“With his long legs, he can cover in one stride what would take two for a lot of runners,” said the coach. “He’s really developed a competitive nature this year, running with a lot of confidence, placing in the top 20 in big races and in the top seven in smaller ones.”
“He’s learned how to relax on the courses, like on downhills where he lets gravity take him forward instead of constantly pushing his muscles,” he continued.
Samantha Ray, girls’ cross country coach, also praised Durbin’s work ethic.
“He shows a lot of talent and works hard, too,” she said. “He’ll be out there practicing when no one else is.”
The Hawks took ninth place in a 66-runner regional field. Junior Alex Wood finished 29th in 20:01.17; other Hawks placements: 40. senior Jacob Jones 20:50.38; 50. junior Brandon Whelan 21:48.51; 52. seventh-grader Adam Sandidge 21:56.79; 60. junior Truman Padgett 22:51.45.
Among the 51 female competitors at the regional event, LaRue eighth-grade runner Amarah Reed finished 26th in 24:14.99. Junior Meagan Williams ended in 33rd place in 25:31.79.
“Amarah is very young, but if she works hard in the off season, she is a good prospect for the future,” Ray said.
The coach noted two other youngsters with good performances during the season, Christina Durbin, a sixth-grader, and a second-grader, Clair Keller, who are expected to be important contributors to the girls’ team.