National Level Runners Competing at UK HS Invitational

A national runner-up for the 800m on a track in Lexington?  No, it is not the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championship (that’s next week) but the UK High School Invitational.  Held this Saturday in Lexington at the Nutter Fieldhouse, this meet is put on by the University of Kentucky Miler’s Club.  The collection of athletes assembling this Saturday is impressive as entries must meet performance standards to qualify. 


This year, though, the number of Kentucky athletes participating is down due to the KHSAA enforcing the rules against high school track teams taking part in meets with teams who are not members of the high school athletic association.  As the UK meet is popular with track clubs throughout the south, these rules create a quandary for high school track teams in Kentucky.  Even with the restrictions, several of the top track athletes in the state will be in Lexington.  Also, there will be performers from ten other states.  With the collection of talent assembled, several of these athletes could be running strong races this early in the track season.  


Jumper extraordinaire Chrys Jones (Mercer County) has the top entered mark in the Triple Jump.  Jones won the Triple Jump with ease last weekend at the Mason County Invitational.  He will be challenged by Christian Taylor from Georgia who has already jumped 48ft this indoor season on January 7th.  Chrys is also entered in the High Jump and Long Jump.


Mary Grace Pellegrini (duPont Manual) has the second best entry time in the Girls 2-mile.  She will be chasing Footlocker XC Finalist Rita Jorgensen (Memphis White Station, TN.) In the Boys 2-mile, 2006 Kentucky AAA State Champ Brian Long will take on another Footlocker XC Finalist, Bobby Moldovan.


Grayson County’s Jayme Blessit, who won the Shot Put at the Panther Indoor Games, comes to the meet with the 2nd spot on the performance list.  Daviess County’s Lexie Barr is one of the top participants in the Girls Pole Vault.  The performance of the day could be in the Boys 800m from Joseph Franklin (Godby, FL).  He was runner-up in the 800m at Nike Outdoor Nationals last June as a sophomore, running a 1:50 to finish second.  Franklin is also running in the 1 Mile.  Former Jeffersontown runner DeAngela McDougald is the top runner in the 400m.  She is now a senior in Kansas.  Four-time Kentucky state champ Chelsea Brown (Butler) will test McDougald in the 400m.  


Other top Kentucky participants are Nathan Liversedge (West Jessamine) Boys 1-mile, Laura Steinmetz (Paul Dunbar) Girls 800m, Derrick Stallworth (Fort Campbell) 60m Dash and 200m Dash, Morgan Thacker (Rockcastle County) Girls Long Jump, Tyler Sisk (Paul Dunbar) Boys Long Jump, Lutisha Bowen (Ballard) Girls Triple Jump, and Colleen Campbell (duPont Manual) Girls 1-mile.