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Prep Sports Notebook: Ryle freshman cross country runner off to better start than coach expected

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Ryle freshman Allie Kopser has developed a front-runner mentality in cross country varsity competition sooner than Raiders coach Shawn Proffitt expected.

Even though Kopser was the Class 3A Region 5 champion as an eighth-grader last year, the coach put her in a junior varsity race in the team’s first invitational meet this season so she would ease back into competition.

Kopser won that race and then finished first in girls varsity invitational meets the last two weeks to lead her team to championship trophies.

Ryle freshman Allie Kopser, last year’s Class 3A Region 5 champion, has won invitational meets the last two weeks. (File photo by Bob Jackson)

“Am I surprised, a little bit,” Proffitt said of the freshman’s early-season success.  “I know she’s capable of it. It’s just that I’m really taking my time with her.”

The veteran coach said girls who start running cross country in grade school have been known to burn out before they finish their high school careers.

Proffitt said he doesn’t want to take that risk with Kopser, who is already in her fourth year on Ryle’s varsity team. That’s why he keeps close tabs on her weekly training miles to “slow roll her development.”

Kopser’s results the last two weeks have been quite impressive. She won the Grant County  Invitational in 19 minutes, 42 seconds and ran even faster last Saturday when she crossed the finish line in 19:01 at the Ryle Invitational.

The Raiders topped the girls team standings in both of those invitational meets and remain among the top contenders for the Class 3A girls state title. Last year, Ryle placed third in the large-school state meet and every runner on that team has returned.

“We talk all the time about it’s the four, five and six runners (on a team) that win state championships,” coach Proffitt said. “Everything is about the team, it’s not about an individual. It’s not about Allie, and she knows that. She gets out there every day and tries to be better for her team.”

The other top runners in Ryle’s lineup are seniors Cara Weber, Angelina Harris, Yasmine Garcia and Renea Kopser, Allie’s older sister. Ella Breckenridge is a sophomore who was one of the team’s top five finishers last week when Garcia was hampered by a sprained ankle.

Garcia will be watching from the sidelines this Saturday when the Raiders compete in the Rumble in the Jungle at North Oldham High School.  The girls field for that invitational includes Oldham County and Louisville Assumption, the two teams that placed ahead of Ryle in last year’s Class 3A state meet.

Walton-Verona girls advance in All “A” Classic soccer playoffs

The Walton-Verona girls soccer team earned a berth in the All “A” Classic state tournament by defeating Louisville Collegiate in the sectional round of the small-school playoffs on Tuesday.

The game ended in a 2-2 tie and the Bearcats won a penalty kick shootout. Collegiate converted just one penalty kick against Walton-Verona junior goalkeeper Payton Kenny. She made three saves and another PK missed the goal.

Walton-Verona took a 2-0 lead in the first half of Tuesday’s home game. Freshman forward Campbell Christy scored the first goal off an assist by senior midfielder Audrey Carrico, who got the second goal off a deflection in the box. Collegiate tied the score with two goals in the final 15 minutes of the second half.

This is fourth time in the last five years that the Walton-Verona girls have advanced to the eight-team state tournament that will be played Sept. 26-26 at Capitol Park in Frankfort. Their first-round opponent is still to be determined.

Newport Central Catholic girls and Beechwood boys won 9th Region All “A” Classic soccer titles. They will face the 10th Region champions in sectional playoff games. On Saturday, Brossart will play Paris in the boys 10th Region final.

Cooper golfer back on top in boys statewide point standings

Cooper senior Rylan Wotherspoon is leading the boys high school golf statewide point standings with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Wotherspoon, who was named Mr. Kentucky Golf last year after finishing with the highest point total, has a slim lead in the current standings. Wotherspoon has 660 points, followed by Logan Liles of Lewis County with 650.

In the boys team standings, Ryle is fourth with 660 points and St. Henry is ninth with 575. This weekend, St. Henry will compete in the All “A” Classic small-school state golf tournament that the Crusaders won last year.

Cooper is seventh in the girls golf team standings with 505 points. The individual girls standings have Reagan Ramage of Cooper in 15th place with 375 points.

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