John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — The Daily Union Fall Male Athlete of the Year was the Most Valuable Leader on his team, as he led them on a return trip to State.
Senior Drennian Martin was the only top 5 Ram runner left from last year’s 3rd place state team Regardless, he led the reloaded Rams back to State and to a 4th place finish. He placed 15th individually (team 6th) in a time of 15:34 to earn all-state honors. Martin’s time also put him in 4th place on the all-time Shelbyville list for runners at the state course.
Martin didn’t lead the Rams in every race, but he led them by example.
“He really came through, just like he always does in big races,” said Ram coach Kevin Kramer. “I am very proud of Drennian in his leadership and what he has been able to accomplish this year. We couldn’t have done it without him.”
Martin won the first race of the season, the Argenta, SOV dual (16:56), leading Shelby to almost 200 dual wins. At the Charleston Invite, Martin placed 5th overall (16:13) leading Shelby to 2nd place.
At the home Shelby Trail Invite, Martin led a line of Shelby finishers, taking 3rd, overall, (15:58) as they Ram team won again.
At the Tuscola Invite, Drennian Martin led the Rams with a 4th place (16:07), cutting 1:02 off his last year’s time. His time was 2nd behind Lucas Kramer for best all-time on the Tuscola course for Shelbyville runners. Drennian also received an award for best senior in the meet.
At the St. Joe-Ogden Meet, Martin placed 6th (15:14.89) as the Rams beat 23 other teams to take 2nd. His time was the 5th best Shelby time on that course, all-time, one of the fastest Ram times since 1999.
At the El Paso meet, Shelbyville was 3rd and Martin placed 8th (17:21). At their final dual of the year, the SOV dual, Shelbyville won again. Martin was 3rd (17:52).
At the Prairie Central invite Shelby placed 1st and Martin had a personal best time of 15:12, coming in a close 2nd place, overall.
“If Dennian had another 400 he would have won,” Coach Kramer said. “All five Ram runners ran under 16:00 minutes for the first time in school history. The 4th-ranked Martin-led Rams ran the best any team has ran in school history.”
At the OVC Meet with three ranked teams, Shelby finished 3rd. Martin placed 5th (15:42) and ran an All-Conference time (15:42), cutting 16 seconds off of his earlier time.
On the state course at Peoria before the regionals, Shelby had a work out race and still placed 7th of 34 teams Drennian Martin finished 51st (16:49.6).
The postseason started with the Shelby Regional. Martin placed 5th (15:46.30) and helped lead Shelby to the Regional Championship.
At the Decatur Sectional, the Rams were 3rd, advancing back to state for the second straight year. Martin was 18th (16:01).