With the State Meet just 2 weeks away, it is time to highlight some of the athletes who can challenge for the KHSAA Class 1A Track and Field State Championship. In this week's edition, we will focus on the Class 1A jumpers. Regardless of the current season best, this article highlights returners who will challenge for it all.
The first athlete who will contend for the Class 1A High Jump State Championship this season is Isaiah Ballard from Bethlehem. The Junior has been on a tear in his second season, jumping a Class 1A leading 6 feet 6 inches, a feat he has accomplished three times this season. Ballard has also cleared close to 7 feet in practice. If Ballard performs to the level he has all season, it will take a special performance to beat him.
However, one of those athletes who may be able to pull it off is Williamsburg's Nate Goodin. The Sophomore is the number one returner from the 2022 KHSAA Class 1A Track and Field State Championship where he finished Runner-up. This season, Goodin has cleared 6 feet and 6 inches and has looked very good. Expect Goodin to be right with Ballard at the State Championships this season.
The third athlete on this list who is capable of bringing home a High Jump State Championship is St. Henry District's Al Bessler. Bessler finished 3rd in this event last season and has built on that performance cleaning 6 foot 5 inches this season. The Junior is highly capable and should be in contention to win his first State Championship this season.
The athlete sitting atop of this list is Grayson Turner from Somerset. Turner is the defending State Champion in this event. He also claimed victory at the KTCCCA Class A Indoor State Championship this season. However, Turner has only the fifth farthest jump in Class 1A this season. With his State experience, though, he should still be a major factor in this event and one of the favorites to take home the title.
His biggest challenge will come from Harlan. Senior Kaleb Mclendon has improved greatly since last season where he finished 21st at the State Championship. Fast forward to this season, and Mclendon has been outstanding winning his Region Championship and jumping the second farthest jump in Class 1A this season. Expect Mclendon to contend for the State Championship this season.
The final athlete on this list is Nate Goodin of Williamsburg. The Sophomore is excellent in all of the jumping events, so it is hard not to mention him in every article. Last season, Goodin did not contest this event at the State Meet choosing to focus on the high jump. This season, that will change as Goodin has the third farthest jump in Class 1A this season. As Goodin gains experience, he should grow more in confidence and potentially win all 3 jumping events at the State Championships in the near future
The athlete sitting atop of this list is Jacob Rogers of Pikeville. The Junior is the defending Class 1A champion in this event and has only kept that momentum going. This indoor season, he won the Indoor State Championship winning by over 1 foot. Rogers currently has the 5th farthest jump in the State this season, but given his Championship experience, expect Rogers to be in contention to defend his State Championship.
The second athlete on this list is Al Bessler of St. Henry District. Like Goodin, the Senior excels in all three jumping events. Bessler finished 6th outdoors last season and 3rd indoors this season at the State Championship Meets. However, Bessler currently has the State leading jump. If Bessler is able to summon an effort like that, Rogers will have a lot of work to do if he is to retain his Championship this season.
The third and final athlete on this list is Griffin McCoy of University Heights. The Sophomore finished 18th last season at the Outdoor State Championships. This season, he has improved greatly and finished 6th at the Indoor State Championships. McCoy currently has the 3rd farthest jump in 1A this season and has been consistently between 41 and 42 feet all season long. Look for McCoy to be in contention for the State Championship this season and for many to come.