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East and West cross country book ticket into state tournament

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The state tournament has come knocking for the East and West Jessamine boys and girls’ cross country teams following a successful Region 7 AAA 5k meet on Saturday in Monticello, Kentucky.

Of the two programs, only the West girls’ team and the East boys’ team earned out-right bids into this upcoming weekend’s Class 3A state tournament at the Kentucky Horse Park.

However, the West boys managed to qualify two runners in Nathan Fielder and Quinn Endicott. The two finished back-to-back (eighth and ninth) with times of 18:00.60 (Fielder) and 18:08.26 (Endicott). Fielder fell just behind the seventh place finish of East’s Preston Sagastegui (18.00:35).

Rounding out the top 30 for East were Ryan Wall (12th), Jacob Markham (16th), Jalen Bietz (17th) and Austin Yates (19th).

Rounding out the top 30 for West were Evan Cook (23th) and Cyrus Neyman (24th).

Overall, within the boys team division, East finished in third place with 66 points and an 18:32 average. Pulaski finished just ahead with 63 points and North Laurel rounded out the pack with 60 points. West just missed the cut with a fifth-place finish (18:43 average).

Regions with seven-to-nine teams send just the top four teams to the state tournament.

According to West head coach Jason Moncer, the race was one of the closest regional finals ever, as two of the top four teams were separated by just eight total points.

For the West girls, the team wrapped up the day with its best finish since moving to Class 3A. The Lady Colts finished just a point behind Madison Central at 48 to 49. Bethany Hamilton led the way with an impressive second-place finish behind South Laurel’s Phoebe McCowan.

Hamilton finished with a time of 21:25.05, and McCowan finished with a time of 20:28.00.

West’s Gabby Long (6th) and Anna Hylen (9th) rounded out the top 10, and Isabel Peterson (15th), Ashton Fitzpatrick (17th), Melody Branan (22nd) and Lauren Hemenover (26th) rounded out the top 30.

The Class 3A boys’ meet will start at 1:30 p.m. and the Class 3A girls’ meet will start at 2:15 p.m on Nov. 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park.