LEXINGTON — Nikki Coffey wasn’t sure she even had enough strength to finish her race.
Turns out, she had enough to run her fastest race ever.
The Boyle County sophomore kicked it in with half a mile to go Saturday and finished ninth in the girls Class AA race at the state cross country championships at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“It was tough. Every year since I’ve been to state, I’ve picked it up at the finish,” said Coffey, who finished the race in a personal-best time of 19 minutes, 55.81 seconds. “Yesterday we came here and my coach (Donna Anderson) showed me where the last 800 (meters) is, and I thought to myself this is what I do at track, this is what I won the region in track.
“And then I heard people all around me telling the other runners, you’re like 11th right now, go, go. So I was like, ‘I’m very close,¿I think I can do this.’ So I gave it all I got.”
And she literally gave it all she had, collapsing at the finish line after exhausting every bit of energy she could muster.
Coffey, who was seeded 46th coming in, was in the middle of pack through the first part of the race, but that was by design.
“In the beginning my coach told me to be patient in my first 800 because I always try to go out fast,”¿Coffey said. “And then in the middle of the race, I was dying. I didn’t know if I could do it or not. But then I got in my head how I worked hard for this and right before state they changed top 15 to top 10 (for all-state), and I was like I really want that because I won region, so I thought if I could win region then I could finish the season with a top 10.
“And I was about to die at the finish.”
Lincoln County’s Brian Carlson had the best finish of any area boy Saturday, placing 16th in the Class AAA race in a time of 16 minutes, 50.54 seconds. In the girls Class AAA race, Lincoln’s Morgan Gourley was 110th in 22:17.12.
In the boys Class A race, Burgin’s Alex Beckerson shook off knee troubles and finished 29th in 17:53.71.
“I had a good first mile, but my knees didnt’ hold out like I wanted to and I dropped back the second mile. And I really tried to push the third mile. I wanted to be sub-17 (minutes), but with knee problems it was tough,”¿Beckerson said. “It was a few seconds slower than at Danville, but for the most part I was satisfied. Most people would be happy to be in the position I am, to be injured and run sub-18.”
Garrard County’s Cole Grecco led Class AA boys with his 35th place finish in a time of 18:02.69.
State Cross Country Championships
At Kentucky Horse Park
Team scores —¿1. St. Henry 62; 2. Green County 105; 3. Bishop Brossart 126.
Winner — Meagan Smith, Danville, 19:16.39.
Team scores — 1. St. Henry 84; 2. Walton Verona 116; 3. Bishop Brossart 146; 21. Burgin (B) 544.
Winner — Jacob Thomson, Lou. Holy Cross, 15:21.54
Area runners — 29. Alex Beckerson (B) 17:53.71; 41. Cole Steber (Danville) 18:12.07; 116. Michael McChesney (Danville) 19:39.35; 149. Nick Beckerson (B) 20:26.9; 154. Charles Holsinger (B) 20:37.3; 158. Cooper Shearer (B) 20:46.68; 186. Trevor Ley (B) 21:39.89; 195. Michael McKenzie (B)¿22:13.95;
Team scores —¿1. Highlands 65; 2. South Oldham 96; 3. North Oldham 117; 18. Boyle County (BC) 456.
Winner — Gabriella Karas, Collins, 17:44.18.
Area runners — 9. Nikki Coffey (BC) 19:55.81; 95. Ada Benson (BC) 22:49.93; 106. Lena Hutchins (BC)¿23:05.88; 131. Taylor Gray (MC) 23:36.65; 137. Kate Leahey (BC)¿23:45.7; 199. Samantha Price (BC) 25:57.12; 221. 28:37.12; 230. 31:22.45.
Team scores — 1. North Oldham 110; 2. Bullitt East 212; 3. Edmonson County 213; 19. Mercer County (MC)¿475; 28. Boyle County (BC) 700.
Winner —¿Nicholas Laureano, Lex. Catholic, 16:41.98.
Area runners — 35. Cole Grecco (Garrard Co.) 18:02.69; 38. Austin Anderson (BC)¿18:04.28; 64. Blake Durham (Casey Co.) 18:33.47; 77. Jacob¿Crowell (MC)¿18:47.83; 107. Bryant Qualls (MC) 19:08.9; 121. Dean Tyler (MC)¿19:26.21; 122. James Stinnett (MC)¿19:26.79; 128. Jawan Smith (MC)¿19:29.6; 161. Taylor Whitsell (B)C¿19:55.68; 188. Nathan Winter (BC)¿20:31.11; 191. Lex Burkhead (MC) 20:33.29; 196. Jordan Woods (MC) 20:36.55; 210. Patrick Leahey (BC)¿21:30.43; 221. Drew Dear (BC)¿22:10.83; 224. Jack Lammy (BC) 22:29.94; 231. Taylor Jameson (BC) 23:11.08;
Team scores — 1. Assumption 31; 2. Bowling Green 78; 3. Sacred Heart 101.
Winner — Bailey Davis, Assumption, 18:12.72;
Area runner — 110. Morgan Gourley (Lincon Co.) 22:17.12.
Team scores — 1. St. Xavier 20; 2. Trinity 87; 3. Daviess County 145.
Winner — Chase Geary, Muhlenberg County, 15:58.66.
Area runners — 16. Brian Carlson (Lincoln Co.) 16:50.54.