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Pictured: Reese Arno, Eli Knuckles, Nicholas Stewart, Jacob Brannon, Elijah Hampton, Tanner Simpson, Coach Jason Stewart.

Bell cross country continues to do well, sets new personal records

The Bell County boys and girls cross country teams continued their stretch of great finishes after dominating in the elementary boys events, the mixed middle school events, varsity boys and varsity girls events in the Somerset Invitational at SomerSplash Water Park on Oct. 12.

The elementary boys got things off to a good start for the Bobcats by grabbing the top four spots in the boys 1600-meter run. Nicholas Stewart nabbed first with a time of 7:00.59. Elijah Hampton grabbed second with a time of 7:38.64. Reese Arno finished third with a time of 7:40.88 and Jacob Brannon finished fourth with a time of 7:49.57.

Tanner Simpson and Eli Knuckles grabbed top-20 finishes by finishing 10th and 19th, respectively. Olivia Morales was the lone girls runner for the 1600-meter event and finished in 13th with a time of 9:52.05.

Hayden Green and Brandon Hickey finished inside the top-seven in the boys 3000-meter event. Green finished third with a time of 11:23.20 and Hickey finished seventh with a time of 12:01.26. Jeremiah Saylor, Hunter Smith and Dawson Brown grabbed 23rd, 26th and 34th place. Bell County finished second in the team event behind Lake Cumberland.

In the varsity boys 5000-meter event, Bell County’s Caden Miracle grabbed the top spot with a time of 16:36.40. Bryson Baker, Jacob Robbins, Peyton Mason, James Arno, Nathan Miracle, Lucas Miracle, Isaiah Ingram and Noah Stewart all finished inside the top 84. The Bobcats took fourth in the team score.

Wrapping things up in varsity girls action, Jazmine Brannon grabbed a fourth place finish in the women’s 5000-meter event with a time of 23:05.48. Kaylin Hickey finished 16th with a time of 27:22.33. Sara Saylor finished 29th with a time of 36:22.04.

“I felt like the boys varsity raced very hard,” said Bell County coach Jason Stewart. “We’re missing one of our top runners, but the other guys picked up the slack. A fourth place finish in this meet wasn’t bad at all. Caden help set the tone, setting a new course record and winning his seventh meet of the season. Every one of them raced hard.

“The middle school boys ran very hard. I think every single one of them had a personal record. Hayden and Braydin set the tone with a solid third and fourth place finishes, leading the team to a nice second place finish.”

As well as performing well in the Somerset Invitational, the Bell County elementary cross country team went undefeated this season. The team won 10 cross country meets this year, and if all of the meet records are tallied, they finished 57-0.

Meets that the Bobcats won include: Pulaski County Invitational, Catbird Classic, Harlan County All-Comers, Southern Harrier Classic, Bobcat Challenge, Cards XC Challenge, Wayne County Invitational, Middlesboro All-Comers, Berea Invitational and the Somerset Invitational.

“I’m so proud of these elementary boys. I had a feeling after they won the first meet at Pulaski County they were going to be special,” said Stewart. “I told them then that they could win them all if they kept working — and that’s what they did. We had a very challenging schedule, but all six boys poured their hearts into every race, every practice and they got it done.”