Class AAA State Meet Preview

Boys Sprints

    Saturday will undoubtedly be the Langston Jackson show. There are no sure things but Jackson going for the 100-200 double win for the second year in a row is as close to a sure thing as you may get this year. He's competing on his future home track. Don't be surprised at all if Langston Jackson can knock down a state record on Saturday. He's brought himself within 2 THOUSANDTHS of a second in both the 100m and 200m all-time state marks this year and I'm going to bet he's hungry for even more to be chipped off this Saturday.

    My favorite battle to watch all season long has been that between three amazing hurdlers. Vasean Green, Beck O'Daniel, and Darius Brown have been going at it this year meet after meet. They've seen each other a few times given that they're all three from Louisville and honestly there's no clear leader. Last year Beck claimed the 300mH title, but for most of the year Vasean Green held the state lead in the event with Brown lurking in the conversation all year long. In the 110mH Green finished runner-up in 2018 but has been on an absolute tear all year long. The dark horse is Darius Brown. Just a sophomore from DuPont Manual, Brown has shown great maturity this year. Head to head at regionals Brown took the win against O'Daniel, however was helped a little by an early stumble from the St. Xavier senior. If Brown can nail his start and run a clean race he will be a legitimate contender in both hurdle events.

Langston Jackson Clocks 10.36 at Cooper/Borgia Invite

Boys Distance

    The 800m run will see a battle of newcomer vs. veteran. Luke Spurrier comes South Warren as the senior who has been there done that, but never come away as the top dog in a big time race. Marshall County's Cade Flatt is just a freshman who has been at the top of his game and the top of the state in the mid distance. Both men have gone 1:55 this year and have been the only two to do so. Both will have an event before the 800 also, Flatt in the 400m dash and Spurrier in the 4x800m relay so if either are having trouble getting the legs going, look for someone a little deeper in the field with some fresh legs to emerge as a contender.

    For years he has won everything in the state of Kentucky. The one thing to elude him though is a state title. He has come in as the favorite on many occasions and Saturday will be his last time to do so as he heads off to East Carolina next year. Austin Mathews has one last shot to grab that elusive gold medal and he'll be the man to watch in both the 1600m and 3200m runs. Since he was able to cruise to the win both races in the regional round, Mathews won't be the top seed. Jacob Brizendine enters the 3200m as the top seed with his 9:31.78 performance in the regional round. As runner up in the Dream Mile behind Mathews he should be the biggest threat to win outside of Mathews. We would be remiss if we didn't mention St. Xavier Senior Grady Shiflet though after jogging to the win in the regional round and looks to be in very impressive form at just the right time. His performance also has huge implications for the team title.

Austin Mathews takes down a loaded field at the 2019 Dream Mile

Boys Relays

    With the team title on the line, three teams will be there and they will need to have great performances out of their relay team in order for that to happen. St. Xavier has been a dominant force all year long in every single relay, but will have a tough time taking down Henry Clay who will obviously have Langston Jackson on anchor for the 4x100 and 4x200. St. X also held the 4x800m state lead for a good bit of the year until the latter parts when Male and Trinity surpassed them. Trinity comes into the meet riding the high of taking the state lead in the regional round and will look to take the title for the second year in a row. In the final event of the day the boys of St. Xavier will try to close out a team title with their state leading 4x400m team. Two other teams expected to be there will be the always dangerous Male Bulldogs and newcomers to the scene, Fern Creek Tigers. Each of those teams have a legitimate 4x400m relay team that could be a huge point scorer at the end of the meet.

Henry Clay boys discuss their 4x100 and 4x200m victories at the 2018 State Meet

Boys Throws

    Bryan Hudson is BACK! After a silent indoor season and early outdoor season, the Virginia Tech signee has the best discus throw in Class AAA by 30 feet from regional performances and best shot put toss by 13 feet. Bryan has been one of the most dominant throwers in the modern history of our sport. He is a five time state champion and looks to make that 7 on June 1. After Hudson, the waters get a little muddied with a group of three or four throwers that have a legitimate shot at being the state runner up.

Boys Jumps

    After an insane indoor season, Christian Lewis hasn't quite reached the lengths that he saw at that point of the season, but nonetheless he's the man to beat in the long jump. The Frederick Douglass Junior had his furthest jump of the outdoor season in the regional round and seems to elevate to new lengths in the spotlight. Keep an eye out for him on the runway with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles esque sweatband flying through the air. As the reigning state champion he'll attempt to fend off the competitors firing at the target on his back.

    Taking third in the 2018 AAA State Meet, Romahn Maksimenko is seeking his first state title in the High Jump. He's the state leader and like a few others, coming on strong late in the season when it matters. Just behind him is Justin Lehmkuhler who got a big win in the UK High School Invite this past indoor season and we'll see if he can come up with some of that magic once again.

    One of the most exciting events to watch is the Pole Vault and there will be a handful of boys going at it. Grayson County's Ethan Pierce will be the top seed as a Junior with a clearance of 15-0 at regionals, but don't count out the Eastern High School Freshman phenom Luke Levinson. He holds the state lead at 15-8 for the second best clearance amongst freshmen across the entire nation.

    Finally, looking for some more team points for St. Xavier, Anthony Woods will be the top seed in the Triple Jump. As just a sophomore he continues to impress me. Although short in stature is capable of big time jumps and can seldom be shaken. At the regional round I had the opportunity to watch him run a relay, come back to the triple jump, and with 40 seconds on the clock change shoes and take the leading mark with just seconds to spare on the jump clock.