Track is BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The annual big opening meet, the Wildcat Classic held at Nutter Fieldhouse at the University of Kentucky is scheduled to run this weekend. In a little bit of a new twist, you could say the meet is ready to jump out as well as they are bringing in field events as well for the first time in quite a while.
Let's take a look at the favorites in each of areas (Sprints, Distance, Relays, Jumps, Throws)
Boys Sprints (Prelims followed by Finals)
The 60 Meter Dash typically has a headline name leading and this year it is Class AA 100/200m Champ Ryan Timmons from Franklin County. Timmons is competing in an indoor event for the first time in his career. So the shortened 60 Meter Dash will be learning event for him this time. He will competition from Jaz Hayes of Central, Greg Hayes and Jaylen Johnson of Eastern. All have run 11.00 or faster in the 100 Meter Dash.
The 200 Meter Dash has G. Hayes and Johnson in it as well leading the charge. Bryan Station's Bolaji Ogbulu and William Allen, just a sophomore and freshman are others to watch in the 200ms. Allen was the top sprinter in middle school last year, he joins the Class AAA defending state champions at Bryan Station.
Jaz Hayes the defending Class AA State Champion at 400 Meters will make his season debut in the event Saturday. He comes in as a favorite along with Torian Vaughn of Male and Kirk Oxedine of North Hardin. Ogbulu and Allen are in the 400m. Just like on the ladies side the 400m is typically harder to run really fast indoors. This bunch of runners have all crossed the sub 50 line outdoors which will help drive them towards the meet record of 49.87.
The 60 Meter Hurdles has Class AAA State Champ Jorden Fields of Male seeded #1 with Bryce Meers of North Hardin second. They finished the Kentucky High School season in that order last spring. The battle starts Saturday for Class AAA supremacy in the hurdles. Jacob McLimore of Bryan Station will try and sneak in there for the win at the shortened distance.
800m All-American Tretez Kinnaird will run the One Mile Run on Saturday instead of his typical event. He broke open his potential in the Mile Run at the Kentucky Dream Mile last year running a 4:15.97. He will have plenty of competition from Class AA XC and 1600m Champion Nicholas Laureano of Lexington Catholic. He won the Wildcat Classic with a 4:30.81 last year. This race could potentially go sub 4:20 depending on the early season conditioning of the front two and the early pace they set. Nick Eckert of Trinity and Max Mudd of St. Xavier are others to watch. The return of Jimmy Goldson (Pulaski County) will be interesting to watch. He did not run cross country this past fall.
The 800m has a couple of University of Louisville commitments up front with Thomas Cave and his teammate, Nick Reader. Laureano is scheduled to come back after the One Mile Run as well. Holden Wells of Eastern and Blake Merkley of Trinity are two others who have gone sub 2:00 previously in this race.
The Boys Two Mile Run last year was the highlight of the meet with 10 boys running under 10 flat. This year eight entered have gone under 10 led by several of the best in Class AAA. Butler's Patrick Gregory and St. Xavier Connor Sheryak were both part of the sub 9:15 group at Eastern Relays last year. St. Xavier #2 Sam Lewis should be primed and ready to get back on the track after missing last track season except indoor (ran 9:39 last year.) Daviess County's Daniel Southard and St. Xavier's Christopher Streigel have both made significant improvements in XC. This race should be rocking once again.
The AAA team title came down to the 4x4 last year between Bryan Station and Male. In what is a perfect scene they are seeded 1-2 in the 4x4 at Wildcat. Hard to predict, too many factors (conditioning after sitting all day, oxygen levels) all play a role in the 4x4.
St. Xavier set the 4x800m State Record last spring and have two of them back. If Reader and Cave run in this event they will be in good shape to win. Male and Bryan Station are seeded next. Don't forget about North Hardin and Butler, they always seem to sneak into the top in the 4x8.
Boys Field Events
Lexington Catholic senior Andrew Vollet threw bomb after bomb last year in the Shot Put and is back for more this year. He won the Class AA State Championship last year with a throw of 54-07. He has a best of 57-00, so this early meet will give us an idea of what he could potentially could throw this year.
The Boys Long Jump is led by Kobe Ford of Mercer County. He is just a freshman but has been competing successfully for a couple years now. He jumped 21-06.5 at his best and went on to finish 4th overall in Class AA. Anthony Thompson (Central) and Mason Rutherford (Fairview) are others to expect big jumps from. Rutherford is a senior transfer from West Virginia who has hit 21-00 in the past.
You need just two words for the Boys Pole Vault, Brooks Devine. The Marion County senior is the Class AA defending State Champion. He is three feet better than the rest of the field.