Brendan Nagle laid it all on the line in his final attempt to beat Riku Sugie but fell just short of his quest in Saturday’s Class 2A cross country championship race at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The John Hardin standout collapsed at the finish line, running the race in 15:52.47, placing nearly 13 seconds behind Sugie, who won his second straight title.
“I had a plan to try to stay with Riku and then pull away in the last 800 meters,” Nagle said. “It wasn’t until that last 800 where I was supposed to go that I felt it. I knew it was going to be hard from the beginning, but I was totally underestimating how bad it was going to hurt.”
It still was his best finish in the state competition, and the Middle Tennessee commit closed out his cross country career with no regrets.
“Reflecting back, I’ve never made negative progress,” he said. “I’ve always progressed forward from where I started and that is really what this is about.”
Bulldog coach Josh Vogel was proud of Nagle’s progression both as a runner and a person.
“I’ve watched him grow from a shy young man into such a great kid,” he said. “Runners like Brendan only come around maybe once every 20 years and I was fortunate enough to coach him. His impact on our program will last a while.”
John Hardin placed eighth as a team in the race.
The area’s other contenders for a state championship also fell short.
LaRue County sophomore Isabella Day led for much of the girls’ Class 2A race but faded to seventh at the end. She ran a 20:03.65.
“I am sad for Isabella because she didn’t have another positive weekend,” said LaRue County coach Jamie Hardin about her star runner who also finished second at the region. “I know it was definitely not the finish she wanted but she did make it to the podium for the second year in a row. She is a super-talented runner, and quite possibly one of the best to come out of our area in a while. We have two more years to achieve the goal of state individual champion.”
Hardin’s team also finished in the top 10 in eighth, the best in school history. The weekend before, the Hawks won the region for the first time.
“We have accomplished a lot this season and have made history in the process,” Hardin said. “I am so proud of these young ladies. It can only go up from this point for them.”
LaRue County returns its top runners next year, including Ella Tucker (who just missed out on joining Day on the podium with her 16th place finish) and Mia Dennis who was in 39th.
Meade County junior Mikie Carnell was 19th in the Class 3A race with his time of 16:20.36.
“They took out extremely fast in that first mile, and after getting into position in mile two, I just didn’t have anything left in the end,” he said. “I gave it everything I had and left everything out on the course.”
The Green Wave finished 17th in the state’s largest class, but didn’t have their best day on the difficult course, coach Larry Garner said.
“I saw great effort from each of them,” he said. “We are already talking about how to improve for next year.”
Class 3 A Results
17. Meade County — 19. Mikie Carnell, 16:20.36; 37. Fidel Garcia, 16:56.39; 99. Lance Garner, 17:49.22; 194. Ben Lewis, 19:00.17; 198. Chamberlin Hipple, 19:02.26
26. Central Hardin — 33. Jared Fairbanks, 16:51.18; 135. Brock Angell, 18:19.67; 147. Zak Rigney-Ellis, 18:31.11; 179. Mason Durham, 18:49.47; 220. Tyler Payne, 19:21:41
North Hardin (no team finish) — 73. Justin Bynum, 21:33.41; 137. Jesse Brewer, 18:21.49; 210. Caleb Burjaski, 19:15.93
29. Meade County — 92. Lily Helton, 21:33.41; 184. Abigail Hopkins, 23:14.70; 189. Annie Archibald, 23:19.01; 198. Josie Corbin, 23:27.93; 208. Addison Poole, 23:42.50
Central Hardin (no team finish) — 99. Hanna Grass, 21:37.52; 114. Julia Hobbs, 21:48.94
Class 2 A Results
8. John Hardin — 2. Brendan Nagle, 15:52.57; 55. Jorden Gibson, 18:22.71; 78. Darian Gibson, 18:58.51; 81. Lucas Keown, 19:01.30; 94. Patrick Routt, 19:16.98
16. LaRue County — 62. Brock Gross, 18:32.42; 69. Nate Faulkner, 18:45.98; 99. Tyson Dennis, 19:20.82; 113. Mikeal Aldridge, 19:44.62; 157. Jaylen Curry, 20:26.22
Elizabethtown (no team finish) — 40. Harris Springsteen, 18:04.04; 181. Cameron McCullough, 20:53.46
8. LaRue County — 7. Isabella Day, 20:03.65; 16. Ella Tucker, 21:05.37; 39. Mia Dennis, 22:21.03; 106. Gabbie Kresel, 24:41.90; 107. Payton Ditto, 24:42.15
John Hardin (no team finish) — 48. Brooke Swanson, 22:45.69
Elizabethtown (no team finish) — 55. Anna Johnson-22:56.47
Class 1A Results
23. North Hardin Classical — 54. Jack Staderman, 18:30.30; 130. Jack Seelye, 20:21.10; 159. Shawn Rodgers, 20:58.00; 170. Tinden Nirenburg, 21:16.50; 174. David Sowell, 21:22.80
26. Fort Knox — 84. Sasha Stark, 23:54.13; 169. Alice Allen, 26:33.93; 184. Leah Fantauzzi, 27:30.30; 185. JaSaisha Todd, 27:30.49; 192. Payton Robinson, 28:06.23