Controversy, Records, and More all at the 2009 State Track Meet

The 2009 Kentucky State Track Meet is a perfect example of why I love track and field.  Just like any sport, athletes and coaches work hard all season long with the end goal of competing well in the post-season.  The conditions Friday and Saturday just made it seem like this weekend had to be great.  Guess what…it was.  This does not mean the meets went without controversy but when does anything happen without making someone upset.  A meet attendance record was set with over 10,200 tickets purchased to the meet.    


Going into the week, there was what seemed like a lot of negative energy around the State Meet, most of which was driven by changes.  As I tell my students in my classroom, people for the most part do not like change.  It scares them because of the lack of control of what could happen.  The traditional two-day meet was out the door, and we were given the opportunity to run each class in one meet, no preliminaries, just straight finals.  The 800m Run was split from one heat to two mid-week last week.  Teams were not going to be allowed to have tents at the meet.  The Message Board filled up, the Coaches Listserve blew up, and I am sure the Kentucky High School Athletic Association received a ton of phone calls about theses changes.  Some wanted to look for scapegoats to blame for these changes.   It was this group or that group.  It really seemed like it was one of the longest weeks on record, not to mention we were originally scheduled to be out of school that week (blame the ice storm which extended the school year.) 


Even after all of that, the 2009 State Track Meet went on.  I was there for all three classes and loved it.  Did it wear me out?  Heck yes and it was worth it. 


Friday night gave us the Class AA meet.  This meet was bittersweet to me because of the boys from Calloway County.  My first coaching job was at Calloway County in the fall of 2003.  I started as an Assistant Cross Country Coach under Head Coach Keith Jared.  I spent two official years on the staff while I finished my degree at Murray State and one unofficial year where I still traveled with the team to meets.  Two seventh graders that year really showed real potential, Megan Summers and Josh Lee, both 2009 seniors.  During those years at Calloway I learned a lot.  I never planned a single workout but you can guess what I did bring to the table, lots of scouting reports and stats.  It was really awesome to see the Calloway County boys win the 4x800m Relay Friday led by opening leg Josh Lee.  Congratulations to Josh, Daniel Hopkins, Ryan Thurman, and Dylan Harris for such a great achievement.


That was only the start of the meet asAbigail Torian (Trigg County) and DeAudrea Horne (Paducah Tilghman) went head to head in the 100m, a nice race.  Torian won and added two more victories by anchoring the 4x100m and 4x200 Relay Teams for Trigg County.  Eighth grader’s Alisha Adair (Western Hills) and Michaela Hunter (Rockcastle County) stole the show in the 200m and 400m Dashes.  Hunter picked up her second state title in a completely different distance (2006 1600m Champ.)  The future seems bright in Class AA.  Adriane Shearer (West Jessamine) ran a smart race in the 1600m and left field in lap one.  Jessica Gabhart (Elizabethtown) broke the Class AA State Record with a time of 45.25 in the 300m Hurdles.  The girls from South Oldham don’t mess around in the distance relays, winning the 1600m and 3200m relays. The Donnell Norcero (Lloyd Memorial) and Erin Overcash (North Oldham) rivalry comes to an end with Nocero picking up the High Jump title this time.  Jackie Stevens dominated both the throw.  Anna Goetz (Highlands) came in with a late victory in the Triple Jump to help lead her teammates to their second team title with a 1.5 point victory over Lloyd Memorial. 


The name to know for the boys in Class AA is Andy Lewis.  This senior from Johnson Central burned up the track running a 10.97 and 21.78 (fastest time all weekend) to win the 100m and 200m Dashes.  Will Stratford (West Jessamine) cruised in the 1600m.  He almost cruised too much as Robert Sandlin came close to stealing the title away at the last second.  Paducah Tilghman smoked the field in the 4x100m and 4x200m Relays in typical Tilghman fashion.  Thomas Canary (Lexington Catholic) reminded us all that he is the Class AA 800m Record holder as he dropped a 1:54.94.  Sandlin and AA Cross Country Champion Jacob Law went at it in the 3200m Run.  What a race, close till the end.  Law tried to leave Sandlin at the start of the gun lap, but the pesky Sandlin hung around and got Law in the end.  Tyrell Willis (Calloway County) joined Stevens in winning both the Shot and the Discus.  Thomas Washington (Logan County) won the Triple Jump but was upset by RJ Fields (Harlan County) in the Long Jump.  By the way, hands down Harlan County had the best uniforms on the weekend.  After all this the team title came down to a re-running of the 300m Hurdles.  Long story about why the 300 Hurdles were re-run basically an athlete crashed into another during the original running of the fast heat.  In the end, Covington Catholic came out on top for the team title. 


I awoke the next morning, ate some pancakes and headed back to the University of Louisville.  I got there about that start of the Girls 3200m Relay.  Four girls team went under 10:00.  That is awesome for the small schools to do this.  Maria Frigo anchored the St. Henry girls to the win.  Chelsea Harnack (Model) started her busy day with a victory in the 100m Hurdles.  She also placed top three in two other events (100m Dash & 300m Hurdles.)  The girls of Newport Catholic showed the power of their depth with victories in the 4x100m, 4x200m, and 4x400m relays.  Frigo and Lily Rodgers (Covington Latin) dueled in the 1600m with Frigo getting the best.  Rodgers received her chance to win the 3200m.  Then in the 800m, Raegan Deaton (Green County) got the best of Frigo.  Katie Neiser (Bishop Brossart) took both the short sprints in the 100m and 200m Dashes.  Diamond Pace (Danville) pulled a little double duty winning the 300m Hurdles and Triple Jump.  Catherine Claywell (Murray) won her third straight High Jump title with a weekend best 5-06.  Anne Gruenschlaeger (Newport Catholic) helped lead her team to the Class A Team title with a victory in the Shot Put. 


The boys meet was dominated by three names: Corey Stoll, Courtney Edwards, and Quan Weaver.  These three combined to win eight titles.  Edwards, a junior at Fort Knox won the Long Jump, Triple Jump, 110m Hurdles, and 300m Hurdles.  Only if he could have competed in a couple other events, who knows what would have happened.  Stoll, a University of Cincinnati signee, won the 1600m and 800m Runs.  He ran two new best times in the process 4:23 and 1:56.12.    He came up short in this third title shot in the 3200m Run in which he finished second to champion Will Mullett of Lexington Christian.  Weaver, a junior at Frankfort, won the 100m and 200m Dashes in 11.13 and 22.33.  The boys of Lexington Christian pulled out a nice win in the 3200m Relay in which they went toe to toe with Bardstown for 3000 meters.  Senior Chris Elliott was solid down the stretch to lead his team to the win.  St. Henry snuck up to finish second.   

The boys of Fort Campbell led two Class A State Record breakers in the 4x100m Relay as they won in 43.24 over Mayfield in 43.34.  The previous record was held by Mayfield in 43.36.  In the end, Fort Campbell was just too much as they won the Class A State Team title.


Break time, loaded pictures, ate some food and cooled off.  Did I mention that it was pretty hot during the Class A Meet that morning?  During the break the Class AAA schools loaded into the stadium.  There were parents, kids, coaches, and fans everywhere.  If you had a patch of shade you probably could have rented out to somebody walking by.


For the first time, I made the journey over to the Throws Area and it was worth it.  I arrived in the midst of the Boys Shot Put and Girls Discus finals.  Amashi Kendall (Owensboro) threw a 130-07 to win; I want to say it was on her last throw.  She has dominated the girls’ throws scene for three years and will continue her career next year at the University of Louisville.  The boys were bringing it every throw.  Kyle Jenkins (Male) uncorked a 51.  Harris Bivin (Apollo) launched a 54-01.50 on his last throw.  All that was left was defending champion, Cameron Frazier (Daviess County) who unloaded a 59-00.50.  The crowd went crazy and gave all the boys a hand for such a great competition.   


I took the nice stroll back over to the track arriving one leg into the boys 3200m Relay.  The girls of Eastern put on a show crossing the line in 9:31.87.  Male tried to keep touch but could not keep up, holding on to finish second.  Then the Nealy Williams Show began as the Bryan Station junior rolled in the 100m Hurdles.  She rolled again later on that night in the 300m Hurdles.  The first upset of day happened with Mariah Murphy (Owensboro) beating Chelsea Brown (Butler.)  Murphy won in 12.15, Brown fell to ground after crossing the line.  She was out the rest of the meet.  Very unfortunate to see Brown’s high school career end on that note, but she is and will always be an all-time great.  The girls 400m had ten girls run under 60 seconds.  Let me say it again, ten girls under 60.  That is amazing to see that much depth in the girls 400m Dash.  After finishing second last year Campbell County sophomore Anna Carrigan won in 57.32.  Kendall already the champion in the Discus added her sixth career state title with a toss of 42-11.75 in the Shot Put.  Leigh Allin (Henry Clay) won the Pole Vault in an Overall State Record performance of 11-08. 


The highlight female of the day had to be Sacred Heart sophomore Emma Brink.  Already a three-time Kentucky State Champion she bedazzled the crowd, first with a win in the 1600m in 5:05.  Next she broke the Overall State Record in the 800m dueling with Grant County’s Natalie Norman with a time of 2:13.88.  In her last win of the day she beat duPont Manual junior Elizabeth Anderson by just over one second in the 3200m Run.  She finishes the 2009 Kentucky Outdoor season with the top time for all three events.           


As always the meet ended on a high note in the always tight 4x400m Relay.  The great times continued as two teams cracked the sub four barrier with Campbell County winning in 3:58.83.  Fern Creek was second in 3:59.82.  The ladies of Owensboro won the team title, their second in three years.


The Boys Meet started with the 3200m Relay per the usual.  This was easily top five in the history of all Kentucky races in track.   From the start it was Greenwood, St. Xavier, and Butler.  At the final exchange Greenwood led, with Butler and St. Xavier trailing.  Butler anchored with Michael Caldwell (1:57) and St. Xavier with Geoffrey Spencer (1:56.)  This is where the race began.  Caldwell took off and anchored with a 1:53.  He crossed the line and the clock was at 7:53.  They took three seconds off the Overall State Record.  St. Xavier and Spencer’s 1:53 leg crossed in 7:56.9 which also broke the previous record.  Greenwood held on to cross third in 8:02.  Right after the race the very unfortunate announcement for Butler’s coach to come to the finish line.  Butler was disqualified for impeding a runner on an exchange.  St. Xavier won and officially broke the State Record.  No matter what happened after the fact, that race will stick out as the greatest I have witnessed in person and that cannot be taken away from anybody.  Congratulations to both Butler and St. Xavier. 


Desmond Suter (Bryan Station) clocked a State Meet best 10.81 to win the 100m.  Dradell Johnson (Owensboro) was second with his victory in the second heat.  Brandon Bagley (John Hardin) continued his domination of the Class AAA hurdles winning the 110m and 300m Hurdles.  Defending Class AAA 1600m Champion Ryan Eaton and Apollo sophomore Justin House went down to the wire in the 1600m.  It looked as though House was going to take the title, but Eaton found a last second surge to cross in 4:18.39 only .21 ahead of House.  The boys 200m was key to Male’s team victory as they went 1-2 with Chisom Omenyinma and Robbie Graham.  Mr. Basketball Jonathan Hood won the High Jump at 6-06 and went straight up to 6-10.  Surrounded by cameras he missed on all three attempts.  Campbell County junior Robbie Scharold broke from the pack and led from the 300m on to win the 800m Run in a state best 1:54.54.  Stacey Eden (Shelby County) and David Hamm (duPont Manual) each ran a great race with Eden pulling away for the victory with 250m left in the 3200m.  Frazier ended up winning the Discus to go along with the Shot title.   


Coming into the meet, the AAA 400m was an obvious highlight race.  Two sub 48.20 runners on the track in Henry Clay freshman Brandon Nichols and North Hardin senior Marcellus Hobbs.  What a race it was as Brandon Nichols lowered his best to 47.60.  That is only .04 off the Overall State Record.  His teammate Blake Green finished second in 48.75 and Shelby County’s Tyler Whitehouse was third 48.87.  What an improvement out of event that was won in AAA a few years ago in 50 low.  The success of Henry Clay did not end there as Nichols and Green each were part of the 4x200m and 4x400m Relays that won.  Male was crowned champions in Class AAA for the third straight year. 


Congratulations to all the athletes who participated in track and field during 2009 and to all who competed at the Kentucky State Track Meet.  I posted updates on the site during all the Class Meets; there are over 1,700 pictures, results, and much more.  No video, I left my video camera at home.  Thanks to David St. Louis for all his help with taking pictures and tracking down times Saturday.