Brandon Bagley Signs with the University of Kentucky

BOYS' PREP TRACK: Bagley signs with UK (02/04)


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RADCLIFF — Since winning two state championships in May, one school remained in constant contact with John Hardin senior Brandon Bagley.


Those phone calls from the University of Kentucky’s track team coaching staff made Bagley’s decision that much easier to pick Big Blue on the first day of the early signing period.


On Wednesday in the John Hardin library, Bagley signed a national letter of intent to compete for Kentucky in the spring of 2011.


“I’ve been waiting for this for a while,” said Bagley, donning a blue Kentucky shirt. “Since the state meet, their coaches contacted me at least once a week and that showed me they were interested. I took a visit there and I liked it.”


Bagley becomes the area’s second track athlete to sign a Division-I scholarship in as many years, joining former North Hardin standout Marcellus Hobbs (Louisville).


He is John Hardin’s first Division-I track signee of either gender and the second John Hardin athlete to sign a letter of intent this week – fellow senior Maggie Mattingly signed with Campbellsville University for cross country Monday.


“It’s outstanding,” John Hardin coach Jason Hayes said. “The program has come a long way in the last several years, and it’s just a testimony to the kids’ hard work, especially Brandon. He’s worked extremely hard to improve and he’s earned it. I’m excited for him.”


Bagley is the two-time defending Class 3-A 110-meter hurdle champion. He also won the 300 event last year.


Bagley already owns four John Hardin school records and is 0.15 seconds away from owning the state record in the 300 hurdles.


“He was a pretty good athlete when I first saw him,” John Hardin assistant coach Leland Warsaw said. “It seemed like he had some ability, but it was hard for us to tell until we got outside and got on hurdles.”


Once that happened, the John Hardin coaching staff knew they had something special in Bagley.


As a sophomore, Bagley broke two school records held by former Bulldog standout Phillip Warsaw – John Hardin’s first Division-I track athlete who competed at Wake Forest – and won his first state championship.


“When we first saw Brandon, we saw a lot of potential,” Hayes said. “During that first season, we pretty much knew we had something special with his natural ability in the hurdles. He’s worked hard to develop and get better. Seeing him run the first few times, it was evident it was going to be something good.”


His junior season got off to a rough start. Bagley missed the first couple of weeks of the outdoor season with an injury, but even that couldn’t slow him down as he managed to win the 110s by more than half a second and the 300s by more than 2.


“At the state meet, I surprised myself,” Bagley said. “The season started bad, but it ended up real good. Coming back from the injuries, my times weren’t that good. I felt like I was doing the best that I could do.


“At State when I was running fast times, it came out nowhere,” he added. “I just know I had a good practice the week before State, so I was expecting to do good just not as good as I did. I was very happy with that.”


And so was the Kentucky coaching staff, which was recruiting Bagley along with Western Kentucky.


But Bagley was sold on the Wildcats, who are ranked No. 21 in the country in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association indoor poll released Tuesday.


It also helps that Kentucky is in the Southeastern Conference, which boasts seven teams in the top 25.


“I know they’re in the SEC, and that’s the toughest conference,” Bagley said. “If I can be decent there, I know I’ll have some good opportunities.”


Hayes knows Bagley, who is John Hardin’s third boys’ runner to go Division-I, will be successful at Kentucky. Caleb Swartz (Belmont) also competed at the Division-I level.


“It’s been a great experience just to see how eager he is to learn,” Hayes said. “He’s constantly working to be the best that he can be, never settling with where he’s at.


“It’s a good testimony to the program,” he added. “As coaches, we work hard to find the right events to put athletes in so they can be successful. It’s just nice to see a kid have that kind of success and go on to the D-I level.”


Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752