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LEXINGTON -- Anderson County High School sophomore Austin Dillow turned in one of his best performances ever in the KHSAA state cross country meet on Saturday.
Dillow covered the 5K course at the Kentucky Horse Park in 17:56.11, good for 76th place in the field of 222 runners in Class 3A, or the large school division. Dillow's time was just over two minutes behind the individual winner, Ryan Eaton of Greenwood.
Dillow, running in his second state meet, improved his placing by 67 spots over last year's finish.
“I thought Austin did an outstanding job. His goal was to hang in there and come in under 18 minutes and he succeeded in both. It was a beautiful day to run and he was psyched and ready to go,” said Anderson coach Rich Nolan.
St. Xavier took the team title over Daviess County. Anderson did not qualify as a team.
Dillow ran well the entire race, moving in the middle of the pack at the first mile mark, then gradually easing up into Anderson's best individual placing at the state since Anderson was moved to class 3A in 2006.
“The first mile he was running in the pack which really didn’t start to get strung out until about halfway through the race. After it thinned out, he started to make his way up and held onto his place.” Nolan said.
The race was run on a new course that was a bit hillier than in the past but appeared to have more sweeping turns.
“When compared to the old course, it really is too hard to say which was hillier or better or worse—each runner is an individual and performs best under their own unique circumstances and what may work good for one, won’t for another,” Nolan said. “All we can say is that Austin did a great job, all of his hard training paid off, and this course worked well for him.”
Dillow is expected to lead a strong Anderson team in 2010.
E-mail John Herndon at firstname.lastname@example.org.