LEXINGTON - Bracken County's Jared Jefferson wasn't satisfied.
Despite a school record third place finish at the KHSAA Class A state cross country meet, Jefferson wanted more.
"I didn't get off to a good start which kind of hurt me," Jefferson said. "People started dying off which I expected here. I didn't get what I wanted here though."
That just shows how far Jefferson has come, running a 16:35 as he received a medal at consecutive state meets. Teammate Brandon Cox wasn't too far behind, also medaling in 13th place, running a 17:18.
"When I got the report that I was anemic, it surprised me. I didn't even know if I was going to be able to race in the 17's. It took a whole lot of dieting and help from everyone. To get to this point is amazing," Cox said.
The Polar Bears as a team placed seventh, two spots off from where they were last season, but return everyone of their top seven runners next season.
"We lose nobody to graduation. We've already had the conversation to be on the podium or even a state champ next year," Polar Bears coach Forrest Hunt said. "They're hungry and know what’s required to take things to the next level."
Louisville Holy Cross' Keeton Thornsberry won his second straight state individual title, running a 16:09 to take the first spot. St. Henry's Ethan Snyder placed second in 16:35 with Jefferson .68 seconds behind him in a tight finish.
Louisville Holy Cross took home the team title as well with 68 points, blowing away the field as Owensboro Catholic placed second with 140 points.
Augusta made their first trip to state as a team and placed 33rd. David Reed led the Panthers in 129th with a time of 19:36. Seth Fouts (189th, 20:33), Conner Snapp (191st, 20:35) and Adam Sallee (201st, 20:53) all placed within 12 spots and 20 seconds.
"I regret not taking these guys during the regular season," Panthers coach Tim Litteral said. "The course was a little more challenging than they thought. But it was a great experience for them and to experience that atmosphere."
Closing out the Panthers squad was Clayton Jamison (255th, 23:55) and Stephen Cordle (33:01).
Saint Patrick's Marvin Koch came away with a 74th place finish and a time of 18:40. Teammate Willie Franco placed 131st at 19:39.
"We're looking forward to next season and the promise it can bring.," Saints coaches Marcus and Vicki Bess said.
CLASS A GIRLS
Bracken County's Macie Sharp was the top area finisher in 69th with a time of 22:32. The Lady Bears placed 17th as a team.
"I'm extremely impressed with Macie's time. She ran great today, a PR on that course for her," Hunt said.
Following Sharp was Augusta's Emma Young in 75th place in a time of 22:42 with Lady Bears' Heather Ebert placing 77th at 22:47.
"Emma had to split time with middle school basketball and cross country which makes me look forward to next season for her not having to do that. She works hard, was one of the top qualifiers at region and had a solid performance at state," Panthers coach Tim Litteral said.
Bracken's Holly Ebert (92nd, 23:09) and Gracie Ramsey (97th, 23:21) followed with St. Patrick's Allison Hughes (113th, 23:42) behind them.
Rounding out the area finishers were Bracken's Chloe Routt (144th, 24:36) and Joy Ebert (152nd, 24:47).
Much like the Polar Bears, the Lady Bears return their top six runners next season, looking to build upon four straight top 20 finishes.
"If this group of girls make the same commitment this year and we can tighten up scoring in the fifth spot and get a minute improvement from each, I feel like we can be in the mix for a podium spot next year," Hunt said.
Williamstown's Selena Mattingly (19:28) edged out defending state champ Kailee Perry (19:44) of Morgan County to win the individual title.
Bishop Brossart won the team title with 107 points, topping Walton Verona by 42 points.
CLASS 2A GIRLS
Mason County was projected for a podium finish, but the fast race caught up to them as they ended with a tenth place finish.
"The kids ran as hard as they could. When you have a tight spread across the board for us and today was not as fast as you want, maybe I let up on gas in training, this one's on me," Royals coach Mark Kachler said. "There's a fine line to walk between over and under training. But they had a great year and are great kids."
Alyssa Bissoti led the pack with a 53rd place finish, coming in at a time of 21:32. As like they've done throughout the majority of the season, the 1-5 runners on the Lady Royals weren't far behind as Paige Decker (57th, 21:45), Hayden Faris (71st, 22:03), Elizabeth Lavinder (79th, 22:11) and Kylee Howe (83rd, 22:15) followed.
Rounding out the Lady Royals were Olivia O'Hearn (163rd, 24:12) and Abi Dawson (179th, 24:57).
Fleming County had two individuals with Carys Earlywine placing 72nd in a time of 22:03 and Erin Peese 103rd at 22:35.
The individual Class A girls' winner was Rockcastle County's Victoria Dotson in a time of 19:15. Highlands came away with the team title with 77 points, edging out Ashland Blazer in second with 91 points.
CLASS 2A BOYS
The Royals came away with a 22nd place finish in the boys' meet.
Connor Linville, still feeling the ill effects of a stomach bug, battled through and showed a top 50 finish, placing 49th in a time of 18:11.
Fleming County's Robert Applegate followed shortly behind him in 53rd with a time of 18:17 as the lone Panthers runner.
Closing out the Royals were Isaiah Riggs (82nd, 18:39), Carson Adams (98th, 18:56), Nicholas Drury (177th, 20:14), Caden Tuel (212th, 20:59) and Zach Walters (230th, 21:36).
"Connor and Isaiah both had decent runs and Carson was right up there with them," Kachler said. "Connor and Isaiah are starting to get to the age where you can start increase their training and it will be interesting to see what they can do over the next two years.".
Winning the Class 2A boys' race was Christian Academy of Louisville's Steven Ott in a time of 16:07. Lexington Catholic ran away with the team title, scoring 39 points and beating out Warren East by 95 points.