The Wildcat Classic, the first big meet of the indoor season is being held this Saturday at Nutter Fieldhouse in Lexington. There will be tons of running action starting at 12 noon. All events follow on a rolling schedule. The full entry list is at https://ky.milesplit.com/articles/58061
STARTING AT NOON - rolling schedule
Girls 60m Hurdles - 3 heats
Boys 60m Hurdles - 4 heats
Girls 1 mile Run - 4 heats
Boys 1 mile Run - 7 heats
Girls 60m Dash - 10 heats
Boys 60m Dash - 11 heats
Girls 400m Dash - 8 heats
Boys 400m Dash - 12 heats
Girls 800m Run - 6 heats
Boys 800m Run - 7 heats
Girls 200m Dash - 17 heats
Boys 200m Dash - 25 heats
Girls 2 mile Run - 1 heat
Boys 2 mile Run - 2 heats
Girls 4x400 Relay - 2 heats
Boys 4x400 Relay - 2 heats
Girls 4x800 Relay - 1 heat
Boys 4x800 Relay - 1 heat
Previewed below are five events to watch.
Girls 60/Girls 200
Alisha Adair (Western Hills) has become the main attraction in the sprints at the UK Classic over the past few seasons and she returns this year looking to kick off another season in style. Adair was 3rd last year at the Class AA State Championships in the 100 meters (12.71), but was unmatched in the 60 and 200 meter distances at the UK Classic last year, clocking 7.99 and 26.08 to win going away. Chasing last year were two of the returners this year, in Sariah Edwards of Bryan Station and Cidnei Johnson of Louisville Ballard. Edwards was just beginning to shine at this time last year, but at the Class AAA State Championships, she pulled out all the stops, placing 3rd in the 100 meters and runner-up in the 200 meters. Johnson, on the other hand, was sharp at UK last year, pulling down runner-up honors in both the 60 and 200 meters behind Adair and will look to close that gap this year.
This is a deep field with only a few of the best returners in the state absent from a very strong group this year. Andrew Stewart (North Hardin) and Jacob Thomson (Louisville Holy Cross) lead the field and rightfully so. Stewart posted a 4:18.11 at the Dream Mile last year and followed up by laying down a new 800-meter PR of 1:53.51 as well. He’s already kicked off the season in style, hitting 4:31 for the mile distance and 1:56.94 in winning the 800 at the Arkansas High School Invitational, so the current question surrounding Stewart is whether or not he ends up at Arkansas next year.
As for Thomson, he was only able to hit 4:20.77 at the Dream Mile……. AS A FRESHMAN! Thomson turned heads not just statewide, but across the nation, as he continued to show well this fall, beating arguably the best sophomore in the country (Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland, WV) at the Trinity Invitational. These two are primed and ready lead this deep field in a race that will attempt to make a run at Ryan Eaton’s year old meet record of 4:13.40.
Others to note include, St. Xavier’s Austin Carter, who has the 5th fastest returning time in the state, Evan Ehrenheim of Daviess County, the Class AAA XC State Champion, Reece Johns of DuPont Manual, and Taylor Sanders of North Oldham. The pace should be honest, with a few more inexperienced guys leading the way early, but if it is fast enough early, there is a good chance that a handful of guys will make a serious run at the 4:30 barrier in Kentucky’s first big even of the year.
With three girls who went under 60 last year and another who broke 61, this is fast becoming the hot event among the girls sprints. Tia Weston (Fairdale) is the definition of middle distance talent, and after a pair of runner-up finishes as last year’s Class AA State Championships, Weston looks hungry for more. Not too far back from Weston, were Hopkinsville’s Aunye Christian and Central’s Maya Spalding. Christian, only an 8th-grader last year, topped out at a 59.86 last year in winning the Class AA regional, while Spalding saved her best for last, posting her season’s best 60.98 at the state championships. Not to be forgotten, though, is LCA’s Emily Terry, who also saved her best for last, posting a 59.75 to grab runner-up honors in the Class A 400 meters. Of note, is the fact that Terry is the only upperclassmen among the top nine performers entered, though many of these young ladies have been working on this for years.
This race is a meeting of the best sprint talent entered as Male’s John Giddens goes heads-up with Mercer County’s Isaiah Burrus. Giddens wasn’t necessary the point of emphasis in Male’s stellar sprint crew last year, but he definitely pulled his weight, claiming 3rd in the 100 meters and 1st in the long jump at the Class AAA state championships last spring. Burrus took down the Class AA competition in winning the 400 meters in 49.84 at the state championships, while also posting a 200-meter PR of 22.73 for the outdoor season. Let’s not forget about North Oldham’s Zach Evans, who pulled a trio of fourth place individual finishes at the Class AA state championships last year (100, 200, 300H). A good field and a fast track should lead to some quick times to kick off the season.
This race is always a great “rustbuster” to measure fitness and compare times to last year. The girls race is also a very interesting race with plenty of depth, but we decided to take a deeper look at this one for the weekend. Thomson will be doubling back from the mile, but still carries plenty of clout in this one. Connor Sheryak (St. Xavier) is the 5th fastest returner from last year with his 9:47.65, while Thomson’s Louisville Holy Cross teammate Dominic Perronie will look to continue making a name for himself after his Class A State XC title in the fall. Add in a handful of athletes who have challenged or are capable of challenging that 10-minute barrier, and we have a competitive early season race that might give us some insight towards this season.