All-Area Track Teams includes Boyd runners, Miller named Runner of the Year

All-Area boys cross country: Run of the Miller

  • Ray Schaefer | For The Daily Independent
  • Updated 


All-Area Boys Cross Country Team 2017.

The 2017 All-Area Boys Cross Country Team selections are pictured.  Front row, left to right:  Caleb Handley, Elijah Miller, Eric Sparks, Gavin Brock, Grant Chaffin.  Back row, lett to right:  Braxton Ward, Lucas Ison, Bryson Hackney, Carson Kidwell, Jules Scott, Noaln Sabotchick (Honorable Mention) and Coach Chuck Cantrell. Absent from photo:  James Overholser, Eric Mettey, Jared Goodman, Jax Downs, Caleb Bowen and Robert Applegate.
Photo by Kevin Goldy, The Daily Independent.


You hear the lyric near the end of a 2001 Neil Diamond tune.

“Dream, ’cause dreams come true/Someday when you’re big and strong/You’ll remember Elijah’s song.”

For much of the 2017 boys cross country season, Boyd County junior Elijah Miller was big and strong among area runners. Northeastern Kentucky running cognoscenti have noticed — for the second straight year, Miller is The Daily Independent’s Male Runner of the Year.

“Elijah’s Song” is slower and features some pedal steel guitar and piano. Off the course, Miller seems equally mild-mannered and soft-voiced.

“I’m pretty quiet,” Miller said.

Fire a starter’s pistol, and Miller’s like Nothing More’s “Go to War”.

He finished second to Bracken County’s Jared Jefferson in the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Area 7 meet, won the Class 2A, Region 6 title by 40 seconds over Russell’s Jax Downs; and placed ninth in the state meet in 17 minutes, 5.40 seconds.

Miller is no one-hit wonder. He’s been on every All-Area Team since 2013, and in ’14 he was Co-Runner of the Year with Russell’s Tyler Andre. But he’s not satisfied.

“I think I could be better,” Miller said. “ … I just push hard. Whenever it gets hard, keep pushin’.”

Russell, Boyd place four

Both Boyd County and Russell formed All-Area team quartets.

Joining Miller for the Lions are: Gavin Brock, Grant Chaffin and Eric Sparks. Russell’s foursome: Downs, Jared Goodman, Carson Kidwell and Jules Scott.

The rest of the team: Elliott County’s Lucas Ison; Robert Applegate of Fleming County; Caleb Bowen and James Overholzer of Bath County; Caleb Handley of East Carter; Johnson Central’s Bryson Hackney; Menifee County’s Eric Mettey; and Rowan County’s Braxton Ward.

Ison won the Class A, Region 7 meet by a little more than 16 seconds over Mettey. Overholser was third, nearly 12 seconds behind Mettey.

At State, Ison finished 21st in 17:34.86.

“It was a good year,” Ison said. “I improved; that’s what matters.”


Robert Applegate (Fleming)

Caleb Bowen (Bath)

Gavin Brock (Boyd)

Grant Chaffin (Boyd)

Jax Downs (Russell)

Jared Goodman (Russell)

Bryson Hackney (J. Central)

Caleb Handley (East Carter)

Lucas Ison (Elliott)

Carson Kidwell (Russell)

Eric Mettey (Menifee)

Elijah Miller (Boyd)

James Overholzer (Bath)

Jules Scott (Russell)

Eric Sparks (Boyd)

Braxton Ward (Rowan)


Elijah Miller (Boyd)


Chuck Cantrell (Russell)


BOYD COUNTY — Keegan Layne, J.B. Terrill. MORGAN COUNTY — Joshua Adkins. RACELAND — Parker Ball. ROWAN COUNTY — Lucas Hart, Jonah Stanley. RUSSELL — Tyler Conn, Elijah Pridemore, Nolan Sabotchick.


All-Area girls cross country — Scratching surface: Caudill, Howard, Perry reel in honors

  • Ray Schaefer | For The Daily Independent
  • Updated 

All Area Cross Country Selections

The 2017 All-Area girls cross country selections are pictured. Front row (left to right): Mary Alice Thornburg, Riley Brown, Abby Adkins, Hayley Fielding and Sophia Simmons. Back row: Rebekah Howard, Aubree Hay, Jordan Riley, Riley Goodman and coach Philip Caudill. Absent from photo: Isabella Copher, Elizabeth Middleton, Kailee Perry, Krista Perry, Carrie Staviski and Annie Whelan. 


Bath County's Abby Henderson, Carrie Staviski and Isabella Copher were unable to be present for the All-Area team photo.


GRAYSON The question had barely been posed.

It’s been about five weeks since Ashland’s girls cross country team finished second in the state Class 2A meet Nov. 4 at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington. Phillip Caudill, The Daily Independent’s All-Area Coach of the Year, was asked to reflect on what his team did.

“It’s good how good that team was, right?” Caudill immediately said.

Writers are usually taught to not use a word twice in the same sentence or paragraph. When you talk about Ashland in 2017, it’s acceptable because the Kittens were, well, really good.

At the Region 6 meet on Oct. 28 at Lakeside Elementary in Sandy Hook, the quintet of sophomore Rebekah Howard, junior Mary Alice Thornburg, seventh-grader Aubree Hay, junior Annie Whelan and eighth-grader Hayley Fielding — All-Area team members — finished in the top seven to give Ashland a 19-63 win over Mason County.

“I didn’t think that was possible,” Caudill said.

At the Horse Park, Ashland finished second and came within 29.45 seconds of besting Highlands. The margin: the Bluebirds’ Karsen Hunter finished the 3.1-mile course in 29th place (her time was 20 minutes, 49.45 seconds), while Fielding was 35th in 21:18.91.

At State, Ashland improved from 12th place in 2016. To Caudill, coming so close to beating a team with three seniors was … better than good.

“Twelfth to second, a year later, that was awesome,” Caudill said.

Howard, the Co-Runner of the Year with Morgan County junior Kailee Perry, won the region and finished sixth at State.

The best news at 1500 Blazer Boulevard: Ashland’s entire team returns for 2018.

“I’m just glad they’re all comin’ back,” Caudill said. “So we look forward to next year.”

Howard, Perry unequaled

In northeastern Kentucky, a few other adjectives described Perry and Howard in 2017: unmatched, superlative and nonpareil are but three.

Perry, the 2016 Class A state champion, finished second to Williamsburg’s Selena Mattingly.

Usually, Perry didn’t so much overwhelm her competition as run away, have time for a post-race water and banana for a snack. At the Region 7 meet, she beat Bath County’s Isabella Copher by a relatively close 31 seconds. Copher is an All-Area honoree.

It took shedding a shoe to keep Perry out of the top two spots.

She took eighth in the Cross Country Coaches Association Girls 15-18 race at National Youth Championship in October at Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio, near Cincinnati.

“I think I might have done better if it was on,” Perry said. “That course, it was soaked and muddy, it was awful.”

Perry won the junior girls race at the Foot Locker South Region meet Nov. 25 in Charlotte and took third in the 15-16 division at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Cross County meet Dec. 4 in Tallahassee, Florida.

“From last year to this year, I’ve improved tremendously,” Perry said. “I’m gonna remember it just based on my different accomplishments.”

Howard won 2A, Region 6 by just fewer than 20 seconds over Thornburg, and she finished sixth in 19:41 at State. Was she pleased?

“Time-wise, no,” Howard said of her state result. “I have run faster this year, but I was pleased with it, but I knew I could’ve done better.

“I know my first mile was too fast, and then my last mile wasn’t hard enough.”

Rounding out the All-Area team are Abby Adkins (Elliott County), Riley Brown (East Carter), Riley Goodman (Russell), Elizabeth Middleton (West Carter), Krista Perry (Morgan County), Sophia Simmons (Boyd County), Carrie Staviski (Bath County) and Jordan Riley (Russell).


Abby Adkins (Elliott County)

Riley Brown (East Carter)

Isabella Copher (Bath)

Hayley Fielding (Ashland)

Riley Goodman (Russell)

Aubree Hay (Ashland)

Rebekah Howard (Ashland)

Elizabeth Middleton (West Carter)

Kailee Perry (Morgan)

Krista Perry (Morgan)

Jordan Riley (Russell)

Sophia Simmons (Boyd)

Carrie Staviski (Bath)

Mary Alice Thornburg (Ashland)

Annie Whelan (Ashland)


Rebekah Howard (Ashland)

Kailee Perry (Morgan)


Phillip Caudill (Ashland)


ASHLAND — Sinclaire Paddock. BATH COUNTY — Abby Henderson. BOYD COUNTY — Alexis Russell. ELLIOTT COUNTY — Mikaila Cox. FLEMING COUNTY — Carys Earlywine. GREENUP COUNTY — Kaitlyn Adkins. MORGAN COUNTY — Faith Bolin, Autumn Brown. ROWAN COUNTY — Kelsey Cyrus. RUSSELL — Hannah Allen.

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