Prep Cross Country: Garrard County's Cole Grecco likes the competition of cross country
Cole Grecco of Garrard County runs through standing water near the 2-mile mark of the boys varsity race Tuesday during the Central Kentucky Conference Championships at Admiral Stadium. Grecco finished second to Lincoln County¿s Brian Carlson. (Mike Marsee / September 26, 2012)
The Garrard County junior says the competition and the cheering crowd make give cross country races an atmosphere that few other races can match, and he thrived on that atmosphere Tuesday night as he contended for a Central Kentucky Conference title.
Grecco pursued Brian Carlson of Lincoln County for most of the boys varsity race at the CKC Championships at Admiral Stadium before settling for second place and his second-best time of the year.
He stayed within a short distance of Carlson for much of the race before Carlson pulled away to win by 24 seconds, but Grecco said he was satisfied with his race.
“I didn’t have much to lose, I guess, because he was expected to win,” Grecco said. “I thought I had an outside shot at beating him, so I figured I’d stick with him as long as I could and see what happens.”
It was only the fourth race of the season for Grecco, a dedicated distance runner who has run a number of 5-kilometer road races this year. He said it’s easier to run those races on streets and sidewalks, but most of them aren’t as exciting as races like this.
“I like the competitive (nature) of this better, but on the concrete, obviously you flow a lot better,” he said. “It’s a lot easier, but I like the cross country atmosphere way more. There are very few 5K races like this.”
Grecco’s time of 17 minutes, 14 seconds was his second-best time of the cross country season and his third-best 5K time. He ran a 17:04 earlier this month at the Trinity/Valkyrie Invitational in Louisville, where he had the 74th-best time among Kentucky runners in the elite field, and he ran a 17:01 in a 5K road race this summer.
“I’ve been getting in some good workouts, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with my times,” he said. “I haven’t broken 17 (minutes) yet, but I’ll be there at some point.”
Grecco said he hopes that will happen Saturday in the Wayne County Invitational, where he said he’ll be running alongside a friend who could help push him to a new personal best.
Carlson, who extended his lead in the final half-mile to win in 16:50, said it was the first time he has run against Grecco this year.
“He’s doing pretty well,” Carlson said.
Carlson said he didn’t do as well as he thinks he could have, even though his time over a rain-soaked course was 5 seconds faster than his winning time over the same course 17 days earlier in Danville’s E.G. Plummer Invitational.
“It was a long school day, and then coming into this with the hills and the wind, I wasn’t really satisfied with the way I ran today,” he said. “Going up those hills along with that wind made it just all that much harder.”
Defending CKC champion Alex Beckerson of Burgin, who is still getting up to speed after an injury, finished third with a time of 17:29 that was his best time of the season and 34 seconds better than his time in the Plummer. Bryant Qualls of Mercer County was 14 seconds faster than in the Plummer, finishing fourth in 17:38, and Austin Anderson of Boyle County improved by 17 seconds and placed sixth.
In the girls race, Danville rookie Meagan Smith ran under 20 minutes for the first time and was 18 seconds faster than in her first race on the Admiral Stadium course, but she finished second to Mia Cornette of Woodford County, who won in 19:48 and beat Smith by 7 seconds.
Alex Bunch of Lincoln County was third in 20:01, Nikki Coffey of Boyle County was fourth in 20:35 and Taylor Gray of Mercer was seventh in 21:51.
The Woodford girls and Henry Clay boys won the team championships. Mercer was third and Burgin was fourth in the boys standings; Boyle was fourth and Mercer was fifth on the girls side.
Central Kentucky Conference Championships