Trigg County's cross country teams kick off the 2006 season today at the Ballard Memorial Wildlife Invitational. The Wildcat schedule has one home meet in addition to the Rotary Invitational on Sept. 28.
The boys' team qualified for the state meet for the first time in 18 years last year, while the Lady Wildcats have some young talent to lead them.
However, some of that young talent won't be eligible to run in the region and state meets this year. A new KHSAA rule prohibits athletes in the sixth grade and under from competing in the postseason. They can run in any meets during the season, but aren't eligible to run at the region and state meet.
That's bad news for Trigg County sixth graders Romaine Cunningham and DiAsia Acree, who would have been among the top runners on their respective teams.
However, runners who ran in the region meet last year are exempt, meaning that fifth grader Macey King, who became the youngest Wildcat runner to qualify for the state meet as a fourth grader, can make a return trip to Lexington if she qualifies at the region level.
I'm not sure what the reasoning behind the rule is, given schools like Trigg County have to share their fall athletes with several other sports. Head coach Mike Wright has had to recruit middle school and even elementary runners in recent years just to keep the program alive and field a full team. Now that effort is hampered and could cause some of the talented runners to jump ship to other sports.