Coach Laster comments on Cougar cross country success
By Coach Joe Dan Laster


Posted on November 14, 2016 10:23 PM



Joe Dan Laster, a former standout cross country performer for the Logan County Cougars is now in his second year as LCHS cross country coach. His boys and girls teams both had excellent seasons, with the boys finishing second in their Class 3A region and 12th in the state. These were his comments after each meet:

The first weekend of November, your boys varsity cross country team went to compete at the State Championships in Lexington. It was a perfect day for running and the boys were ready to do something special.

The night before the race we held a team meeting and talked about why we were all on the team and or what our goals were. As a team we were going for a top 10 finish and to beat regional rival Central Hardin. It was refreshing to hear that many of the guys accomplished goals they had set for themselves at the beginning of the season. We discussed how that for a lot of the guys on the team that this could be their last Cross Country race ever. Three of the seven that ran at the state meet were seniors. It was a humbling experience to have that conversation with all of them. These boys have run beyond their own expectations and have accomplished a lot as a team. 

I feel like as soon as we got to the park we were packing up to leave because of how quickly everything went by. The boys were ready for what was in front of them. They got off to a great start and avoided getting caught up in the big packs of runners. They executed our strategy we had for the race. It was an awesome scene to see these boys run with the best of the best and they proved they belonged at that race. 

Senior and team captain Thomas Lyne led the charge for our team at the beginning of the race. The other runners always feed off of Thomas. He has been leading this team all season with flying colors and much of our success has been due to his leadership.  

John Hdill endricks, in his first year of running cross country, has been working his tail off to beat Thomas. As a coach, you love seeing your athletes push one another to be the best they can be. That's what these two have done for one another.

Tanner Morrow has really started to come into his running self. I've been very pleased with his dedication to the team this year and the progression he's made as a runner and young man.

Gage Cousineau has been dealing with adversity all year and it struck again. He was running with a nagging foot injury that would not subside. But to still run under 18 minutes at the state course with an injury shows the kind of man and athlete that he is.

Conner Dill has impressed me with his work ethic and his determination. When faced with being left out of the top seven, he rose to the occasion. He shaved off about two minutes off of his time to insure his spot in the top seven.

Dean Heltsley and Damanuel Barbee are both seniors on the team. Their times do not correctly identify what they have been to this team and to their teammates. We would not have had the success that we've had the past two years without them. 

Here are their times and places:

17:10.71

SB

John Hendricks

49th

Class AAA Boys

17:23.78

 

Thomas Lyne

69th

Class AAA Boys

17:43.26

 

Tanner Morrow

93rd

Class AAA Boys

17:50.55

 

Gage Cousineau

109th

Class AAA Boys

18:05.77

 

Conner Dill

135th

Class AAA Boys

18:58.66

 

Dean Heltsley

201st

Class AAA Boys

19:15.01

 

Damanuel Barbee

224th

Class AAA Boys


We finished 12th as a team in the class 3A race. While we may have just missed the top ten, we did take down Central Hardin by almost 30 points. I cannot put into words how proud I am of their effort. I've said this several times, these boys are the embodiment of Cougar pride. 

 

MileSplit put together the times from classes A, AA, and AAA from the state meet. Out of the 83 total teams that competed last Saturday in all classes, Logan County would have finished 19th. I am very happy and proud of that.

Your Logan County boys Varsity Cross Country team finished as a TOP 20 TEAM IN THE STATE! These young men have been an extraordinary representation of our school and of our community. 

July 16 can't get here soon enough! I wish all of the other coaches around our county the best of luck in their coming seasons!

Region

5,000 METER RUN

22:15.10

Meredith Johnson

21st

Varsity Girls

 

22:43.80

Eliza Hagens

24th

Varsity Girls

 

23:55.50

Alyssa Garret

35th

Varsity Girls

 

27:00.50

Haleigh Duncan

52nd

Varsity Girls

 

29:34.70

Kela Heltsley

54th

Varsity Girls

 

BOYS

ATHLETE

PLACE

RESULTS

 

5,000 METER RUN

17:14.50

John Hendricks

4th

Varsity Boys

 

17:19.30

Thomas Lyne

6th

Varsity Boys

 

17:49.80

Gage Cousineau

12th

Varsity Boys

 

18:04.60

Tanner Morrow

18th

Varsity Boys

 

18:16.70

Conner Dill

19th

Varsity Boys

 

18:43.30

Dean Heltsley

29th

Varsity Boys

 

19:10.10

Damanuel Barbee

39th

Varsity Boys

 

 

The boys varsity executed our strategy that we had for the race. We had 3 in the top 15 and our top 5 in the top 20. I couldn't have asked any more from this group of young men. Everyone did their job. And that was the message going in.

We were hoping to come out as champions but Central Hardin had an excellent race and was able to get 3 in the top 8.

But these boys were running for their teammates and the race was an awesome event to watch. I can't accurately describe how proud I am of this group of young men. They placed second and still came home with a trophy!

This is the first time that when Logan County has been classified as a 3A (the largest class in cross country) cross country school that we have: 1) brought home a regional trophy and 2) qualified a whole team for the state meet. These boys have left their mark on the history books and left a legacy of greatness for the years to come.

Next year we will have some big shoes to fill. Thomas Lyne, Damanuel Barbee, Devin Roche, Dean Heltsley, Woody Stamps, and John Higgins will all be graduating this year. Some of them have been running for six years and others this was their first year. They have set the bar very high for the years to come. 

The girls day unfortunately did not go as we hoped. Two of our top five had to drop out due to injury. The girls were running in the hottest race at that point in the day.

But I know these girls. They won't hang their heads on this for long. We have a VERY talented group of middle school girls that will be joining us next year. I'm very anxious to see how these girls will perform next year as a team.

I'm very proud of the season these girls had. The girls 3k AND 5k records were broken. Alyssa Garret, an eighth grader from Lewisburg, who was running in her first race EVER, broke the girls 3k record by several seconds.

Meredith Johnson, junior at LCHS, has been working her tail off to break to the school's 5K record. She did so with flying colors by breaking the old record by 20 seconds.

These girls have a lot to look forward to in the coming season and I'm excited to see how far they will go!

Shown in the team picture, from left, are Damanuel Barbee, John Hendricks, Dean Heltsley, Devin Roche, Coach Laster, Tanner Marrow, Wesley Abney, Gage Cousineau, Conner Dill, Thomas Lyne. Not Pictured Coach Abney 




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