Chaplin returns to lead cross country program he built
It’s Craig Chaplin’s first season back in control of the Pendleton County Cross Country team. The former Virginia Tech runner was instrumental in beginning the program back in the early 1990s. Now he has a new task: rebuilding it. Chaplin was the longtime cross-country coach. He resigned in the middle of the 2000s, leaving the program to Marcia Hatfield. He helped bring up local legendary high school runners such as Scott Ritter, Dennis Hutchison and Kelsey McCain.
The enthusiastic Chaplin believes he can help train the next great generation of Pendleton County runners like he had done once before. His star runner is senior Samuel Peoples. Peoples is the most experienced runner on the team and has been running since he was in eighth grade. He missed the majority of last season due to a hip injury but amazingly still qualified for the state meet. His personal goal for the season is to requalify for the state meet and shatter his personal best of 17:33 in the 5K. Peoples is running well, having properly healed from his injury. Peoples will be flanked by sophomore Garrett Jordan and Cody Maines. Jordan and Mains are newer to running but will be pushed by Chaplin and Peoples.
One of Pendleton County’s statewide claims to fame in cross-county was their incredibly difficult home course located at the farm across the road from Phillip A. Sharp Middle School. The designer of this course was Chaplin himself who states it’s the hardest 5K course in the state of Kentucky. Why is that? The course is filled with steep hills, wooded runs, rolling hills and natural obstacles such as fallen trees. Chaplin will be using the course for hill training and speed training to start chipping down his runner’s PRs.
The first race of the season for the Wildcats will be at the annual Sherman Elementary meet in Grant County. Pendleton County has participated in the race mostly every year for a long period of time.
Chaplin will put together the schedule as the season comes closer together. He is enthusiastic that Pendleton County will be able to host a home meet at some point later in the season if he can get his course properly prepared.