Peoples ends his cross country high school career with his best state finish
Samuel Peoples has spent the past five cross country seasons running up and down slopes of cross country courses, battling injuries off the course and opponents on the course and competing in three KHSAA state cross country meets.
“I’m going to miss it. Going to miss it a lot,” Peoples said just moments after he had crossed the finish line of the 2019 KHSAA State Cross Country meet.
Peoples finished 67 out of a field of 251 runners with a time of 18:14.66.
“I did a lot better this time. Injuries last couple of years held me back. I am happy with what I did,” he said about his race this year.
In 2018, he sat out a long period of the season with injuries but qualified for the state race and finished in 162nd place with a time of 19:45.94. His first state meet during his sophomore season saw him post a 19:20.90 time with a 127th place finish.
“It’s a tougher course with slower times, but state race is more about placing.”
The course, located at the Kentucky Horse Park just outside of Georgetown, has long gradual hills that Peoples says is harder on him.
“When you are two miles in and you are facing a hill that is 200 meters long, it is not easy,” he explained.
The number of entries leads to a harder start, too.
“Everyone is bunched up and you don’t have a whole lot of room to work,” Peoples said. “But at a mile, it starts to spread out and that is when I make my move on people.”
When that final finish line is within sight, Peoples knew there is only one thing to do.
“You give it everything you got. You just have to lay it out. Your legs hurt real bad. But if your mind tells your legs to move, they’ll move.”
The senior likes the competitveness of the sport as well as the lifelong friends he has made but does not plan on this being his last cross country race.
He is “definitely” looking to run in college and has had positives conversations with Transylvania University about being a part of their cross country program.
Before he fixes his sights on the next level, he thankfully looked back on his high school career.
“I want to say thanks to my family, friends, Coach Craig Chaplin, former Coach Marcia Hatfield and the senior guys his 7th grade year that guided him through.”