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Darnell finishes in top-20 at cross country state championships

Curtsinger finishes 122nd; Lewis places 152nd

Mercer County freshman Clayra Darnell is pictured sprinting during the last stretch of the Class AA state cross country meet on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Kentucky Horse Park, in Lexington. Darnell was the highest finishing female runner for Mercer County, placing 19th. (photo by Arpan Dixit)

Arpan Dixit
Herald Staff      

After finishing in second place at their regional meet, the Mercer County Lady Titans cross country team qualified as a team and competed at the state championships on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

They placed 20th overall as a team, with seven runners competing in the race.

Freshman Clayra Darnell was the top finisher for the Lady Titans, placing in the top-20 in 19th place in 20:30.67. Two Lady Titan runners finished in the top-100. Senior Haley Blevins was the other one, placing in 96th in 22:38.60.

After Darnell and Blevins, junior Erin Darland finished 137th in 23:40.92, eighth grader Katie Lewis finished 140th in 23:52.12 and junior Emma Leitenberger finished in 153rd place in 24:03.07.

The Lady Titans had two more runners compete in the race that had a total of 237 female runners.

Junior Madison King placed 194th in 25:31.25 and junior Brianna Wimsatt placed 197th in 25:45.43.

“I’m very excited that Clayra (Darnell) was in the top-20,” said Head Coach David Teets. “She has been a strong runner all season and it’s great to see her hard work pay off in the last meet of the season.”

The boys’ Class AA meet followed the girls’ meet around noon.

Senior Cody Curtsinger and sophomore Jonah Lewis were the two individual qualifiers for the Titans.

“Cody performed better than last year at the state meet and it was good to see his high school career end on a good note,” said Teets. “Jonah did very well at his first state meet and I look forward to coaching him the next two seasons.”

Curtsinger placed 122nd in 18:59.00 in his last cross country meet and Lewis placed 151st in 19:30.94.

“We have had another great cross country season,” said Teets. “A great season that included a lot of personal best times and having a lot of fun. I wish the best of luck to my seniors Haley (Blevins) and Cody (Curtsinger) that are graduating and as always, I look forward to next season.”

With numerous runners coming back next season, Teets should have one of the best teams in the region on both sides and should make another run at the state meet in 2020.

All photos by Arpan Dixit:

MCSH sophomore Jonah Lewis (middle) keeps pace with runners at the Class AA state meet in Lexington.


MCSH senior Cody Curtsinger (left) runs side-by-side with East Jessamine’s Collin McElfresh at the finish line during the XC state meet.

MCSH junior Madison King (949) leads a group of runners towards the finish line at the cross country state championships.

MCSH junior Emma Leitenberger (left) makes a move to catch a runner approaching the finish line as the cross country state meet.

MCSH Brianna Wimsatt approaches the finish line at the cross country state meet at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington on Saturday, Nov. 2.

MCSH eighth grader Katie Lewis takes a deep breath as she approaches the final stretch at the cross country state championships.

MCSH junior Erin Darland (left) catches up to a runner during the first stretch of the cross country state meet at Kentucky Horse Park.

MCSH senior Haley Blevins (front) leads a pack past the half mile mark during the cross country state meet on Saturday, Nov. 2.

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