Small Squads Get Big Results
While it will not surprise those who are close to these programs, there were some schools that brought small contingents to the state championships yet brought home some big hardware. The Paris girls, Fort Knox boys, and Thomas Nelson boys all had small groups of athletes compared to the powerhouses of Mercer County and Bishop Brossart. That did not stop them from achieving their goals.
Paris had FOUR girls compete at the state championships. Three of those four scored points and propelled the team to a third-place tie with Lexington Christian at 40 points. They almost took the team runner-up position but Fort Campbell edged them out with 41.66 points. The points came from Taesha Speaks (20), Briley Cline (16), and Riah Oliver (4).
The gentlemen from Fort Knox pulled in points from five athletes with 50 of those points coming in the 100m, 200m, and 400m from Malik Blunt (30) and Tristin Griffin (20). The team took the overall team title with 71 points which was 14 points more than the second-place team at 57. While Blunt and Griffin carried a majority of the points, but without the contribution of Jason Hemingway (2 points in the high jump and 2 points in the triple jump), Lionel Taylor Jr. (2 points in long jump), Allston Leggette (6 points in the triple jump), plus 9 points in the relays, the team was able to bring home the title. Fort Knox is an example of bringing out the best in what you have on your squad.
Lastly, the Thomas Nelson duo of Lane Hoyes and Riku Sugie put on a show in the Class 2A state championships. They started anchoring a 5th place finish in the 4x800m with teammates Jackson Middleton and Liam Leake. When the 1600m rolled around, the race was tight with Lane Hoyes, Riku Sugie, Caden Miracle, and Tommy Ott. Coming down the final 100 meters, these four were side-by-side and finished 0.73 seconds apart from first to fourth. Hoyes and Sugie finished first and second, racking up 18 points for Thomas Nelson (which turned out to be HUGE in the team's fourth-place overall finish at 40 points when 8th place was 34 points). Next up was the 3200m and Hoyes and Sugie put on a show with both of them breaking a 39-year-old Class 2A state record while placing first and second again. Following the race, Hoyes said, "I want people to know what this logo on my shirt stands for" in reference to the tradition he has hoped to set for Thomas Nelson High School.
Hoyes and Sugie went 1-2 in the 3200m while setting a new Class 2A state meet record