2nd place, it might sound like a position that lacks the success that most would strive for, but on a day like today, it might have been something that was just as impressive as 1st. All day Pulaski County was great at 2nd place. They took 2nd in the day’s first event, the 3200 meter relay, even though they beat the previous meet record in the event (Meade County was 1st in an even better new meet record of 9:00.03). Austin Hyden was 2nd in the high jump, clearing 5-08 behind Marshall County’s Cody Gregory, who cleared 5-10 and took several good attempts at 5-11. Bailey McEnroe was 2nd in the shot put with a throw of 42-07.50 behind Daviess County’s Chris Johnson and his 45-00.75 toss, as well as in the Turbojav where his throw of 110-09 was runner-up to Cain Cooper of Henderson County North’s throw of 117-11. Don’t forget about Jimmy Goldson either, as his runner-up mark of 4:46.79 was less than a second behind that of Muhlenburg County’s Chase Geary’s time of 4:46.27, but none of these guys had enough to get the win. Until they released the final team scores, and then the squad finally had their first win of the day, a three-point victory over an incredibly strong sprint performance by Lexington Traditional Magnet School 57-54. It was a great end to a great day for the Pulaski group, who also got strong performances out of Mason Blevins, 3rd in the 3200 meters in 10:32.66, Caleb Cox, who scored in both the pole vault and triple jump, as well as the team’s 4x400 meter relay, whose 5th place finish sealed the deal as they had entered that event with a slim 1-point advantage before finishing two spots in front of LTMS.
The results weren’t all bad for LTMS, they had themselves a record-breaking day in the sprint relays, running 46.93 to win the 4x100 meter relay and 1:36.97 to win the 4x200 meter relay. They beat the 4x100 record by more than half a second (it was 47.47 by Winburn in 2009) and the 4x200 record they crushed by more than 2.5 seconds (1:39.58 by Crawford in 2006, including a leg by current Bryan Station stud Chaz Mitchell), only adding to the impressiveness in both feats. They also had Kylan Nelson take 2nd in both the 100 meters (11.69) and 200 meters (23.65), behind a fast-rising star named Tee King who hails from Mason County and will likely be a big contributor to his high school’s postseason relay squads in the coming weeks. Add to those efforts a 1st and 3rd place performance by Charles Johnson in the long jump (19-02) and triple jump (36-05.25, behind Marshall County’s Cody Gregory who set a meet record with a jump of 39-07.75), and a 7th place performance in the 4x400 meter relay, and you can see that LTMS had a great day en route to placing 2nd overall.
2nd place was where Maddox Patterson of Sayre found herself on multiple occasions as well, but let’s look at the specific situations to understand the logistics involved. Patterson hit marks in both the 1600 and 3200 meters that were significantly lower than the previous records and the combined time behind the winners in the two races was 11-hundredths of a second. Don’t feel too bad, though, as Patterson has already claimed a Class A cross-country state title and, while she found herself playing second fiddle to two of the best in the state on Saturday, Patterson’s season will likely continue while both Whitney O’Bryan and Emily Bean are finished for the year. O’Bryan, of Daviess County Middle School, and Bean, from St. Edward School of Louisville, both find themselves in situations that discourage them from competing for high school teams that they may or may not end up competing for in the future, while Patterson attends the Sayre School in Lexington, which includes high school grades along with middle grades. Due to this fact, Patterson will likely be able to compete for the 1600 and 3200 meter titles at the Class A State Championships on June 6th, while Bean and O’Bryan will only be able to spectate before they begin their high school campaigns in the fall.
In the 1600, it was O’Bryan out front very early, as she challenged the rest of the field to chase her down. Aleja Grant of Paducah, Sarah-Emily Woodward of Bowling Green, and Patterson formed a chase group for the first half of the race, but Woodward would fall off before fading to sixth, while Grant joined Patterson in moving all the way up next to O’Bryan with 800 meters to go. Grant was clearly hurting as the three moved down the straightaway on the 3rd lap, but she held strong and would end up a solid 3rd place on the day (5:28.99). Patterson moved onto O’Bryan’s shoulder with about 300 meters to go and the two would make small moves that the other would cover as the excitement piqued at the top of the straightaway with Patterson swinging wide and appearing like she might just pull away for the win. O’Bryan held tough with the inside position, though, and her final flourish at the finish would prove to be just enough to get the win. Both beat Kaitlin Snapp’s meet record of 5:24.95 as the duo finished in 5:17.60 and 5:17.65 and marked the two fastest middle school times in the state this season.
The 3200 meters seems to have ended much the same way, with O’Bryan playing the role of 3rdplace finisher who ran out of gas, while Patterson and Bean battled to the line, this time with Bean taking an impressive win in a time of 11:33.55 to Patterson’s 11:33.61. O’Bryan’s time of 11:50.00 was also good enough to break Maggie Mattingly’s 2006 state meet record of 12:01.76, which is a statement as to how exceptional this group of three was over the course of this season. Much will change with all three over the course of the next four year (five for Patterson), but they will definitely look back on this season as an important moment in their development.
Field events and relays were the story for the group from Woodford County. They scored a single point in an individual running event yesterday, as Madeline Fuller took 8th in the 3200 meters, but they got plenty of bang for their buck in the field events. The combination of Caitlin Sullivan, Allie Roberts, and Chelsie Ford was much of the reason for the win as the three combined for five top 5 finishes in the field events, including two wins by Sullivan in both the long jump (16-01.00) and the triple jump (31-06.50). Ford was 5th in the shot put with a throw of 32-02.50 and 2nd in the discus with a final marking of 82-00 (behind Beaumont’s Aja Leachman’s toss of 86-07). As for Roberts, she took 3rd in a closely contested high jump competition that had four girls clear 4-08 and only winner Annie Crotty of Holy Trinity was able to make 4-10 on the day. Woodford County’s 3200 meter relay had started the meet on a positive note, taking 3rdbehind St. Edward (10:37.63) and Harrison County (10:45.88), but they found themselves coming down to the last event with their title hopes on the line….
Mayfield, on the other hand, had compiled their points with no field event scorers and sprint relays and individual events to thank for their position in the team rankings. Their squad dipped under the state championship record in the 4x100 meter relay that was previously held by a Meyzeek group from 2005 that included future sprint star Tiffany Rogers, but ended up taking 2nd behind an incredibly strong group from North Hardin (52.33 to 52.95). In the 4x200 meter relay, they weren’t able to take down Woodford County’s record from 2007, but they did get enough distance on the squad from Lexington Traditional Magnet to pull down the victory (1:51.56 to 1:51.88). Samiya Kendrick gave them a 6th place finish in the 100 meter hurdles (18.40) and Shae Jackson gave them a 7th place finish in the 200 meter dash (28.25), but it was big performances from Asha Powell in winning the 100 meters (13.29) and Janae Jackson taking 2nd in the 400 meters (1:01.26) that put them just four points behind Woodford County heading into the day’s last event.
Based on those points, Mayfield would need to beat Woodford by at least two spots and likely 3 or 4 if they wanted to claim the team title, but it wasn’t unreasonable to think they could pull it off. Janae Jackson’s 1:01.26 time in the open 400 meters gave the group plenty of reason to believe it was possible, and with Asha Powell and Shae Jackson also in the line-up they were likely feeling very confident in their ability to claim not just the event, but the team title in the process. They weren’t counting on a team from Crosby Middle doing what they did, in stealing the show in the 4x400 meter relay, with a time of 4:33.29, but even worse for Mayfield, it was Woodford County crossing the line 2nd (4:33.87) and securing the team title in the process. Mayfield crossed 4th (4:35.46) and locked up their 2nd place team finish in the process and while they may not have claimed the team title that they might have hoped for coming in, they found out, along with so many others, that 2nd isn’t so bad after all.
2nd also meant a 2nd title for some of the athletes on the day. Cody Gregory of Marshall County took the title in the boys triple jump with a leap of 39-07.75, beating the meet record held by Courtney Dalcourt of Franklin-Simpson from 2005 in the process. It was a huge victory for the young man, winning by 3 feet on the day and marking the longest leap of the year for a middle schooler in the process. Gregory finished his day by outlasting all other competitor’s in the high jump as he was the only one to clear 5-10 and, though he was very close on his first two attempts at 5-11, he would gladly take the 2nd victory as a consolation prize.
Tiana Phelps of Owensboro took the shot put with an incredibly strong throw of 40-02.25 to win by just under FOUR FEET in the shot put, but after a 7th place finish in the discus, she had to be disappointed after coming in with easily the best throw of the year among middle school competition. When she picked up the TurboJav, though, things must have come back together, as she dominated the competition, winning by 11 feet over Kaylin Spiker of Marshall County (88-06 to 77-04). For Phelps, that 2nd title was probably a bit sweeter than the first one.
Cain Cooper of Henderson County North had one of the most interesting doubles to date, as he won the pole vault in a meet record 11-00, and took three strong attempts at 11-06, while also coming back to win the TurboJav. Cooper will definitely join the pole vault tradition that Henderson County High has, starting next spring and we will be looking for him to flourish in a very competitive environment there. He was definitely not favored to win the TurboJav by any means, but the best throw in the state had come from an athlete not even competing in the event yesterday, so it was a wide open event and Cooper took advantage. For him, that 2nd win must have felt like icing on the cake after a performance that should stay in the record books for a long time.
As for Tee King of Mason County and Chase Geary of Muhlenburg County, all their competitors knew that they were the athletes to beat coming in, but that didn’t make either of their two wins each any less interesting. King battled with Kylan Nelson of LTMS in both races and came away a solid winner in both as he proved to be too much in both the 100 and 200 meters. Geary’s two victories, though, were very interesting, though and his 3200 win was even closer than either of King’s victories as he went stride-for-stride with Holy Trinity’s Max Mudd all the way to the finish before getting the nod by ONE-HUNDREDTH of a second, 10:27.40 to 10:27.41. A great race to watch with two athletes really laying it all on the line all the way to the end, I’m sure you can ask Geary, and he would tell you that, though his victory over Jimmy Goldson of Pulaski County in the 1600 was nice, he probably felt even better about that 2nd win at the end of a long day.
And finally, there is Tyler Breeds of Meade County. The group from Meade is an interesting one as they have been working with the high school bunch most of the year and have had great success at both the 1600 and 800 meter distances this year. The Meade County bunch ran a great 4x800 meter relay, winning over Pulaski, as was mentioned before. Breeds was a huge part of that relay and I’m sure that he celebrated it with his teammates and coaches, but his eyes were definitely fixed on the 800 meters. His brother has left big shoes to fill, having set the meet record in the 1600 here in 2006, running 4:44.75, so it only made sense that Tyler look to step out of Sean’s shadow and work for his own title in the 800 meters. Watching the race, Breeds was not really in a position where you would think he was a likely winner, early on, Patrick Gregory of Notre Dame (Louisville) was, though, and he was the athlete that Breeds was going to have to run down to get the win. It was Breeds’ careful pacing that allowed him the chance to throw down a huge last 100 meters and run down Gregory just before the line for a victory that must have taken a heavy weight off the kid’s shoulders. While winning that relay was nice for Breeds, his 2nd title meant validation and maybe it even sent a message to his brother: I’m coming for you….
Lost in the storylines above were plenty of other great stories, including meet record performances by Winburn’s Karmari Boyd in the 300 meter hurdles and Zoneton’s Chelsey Slayton in the 800 meters. Boyd’s time of 48.67 broke University of Louisville athlete Chelsea Brown’s record of 48.99 and puts the spotlight on Boyd going forward. Brown became a high school superstar and though those expectations are a long way off for Boyd, it appears that the talent and ability are there for her to be great as well. Slayton won’t have any time to sit back and think about what is next for her as she will be thrown to the lions this week, running in the Region 3AA regional Wednesday for North Bullitt. It was almost fitting, then, that on Friday night, Slayton was running with her North Bullitt teammates at the Fairdale Invitational and she was busy taking 2nd place in the 800 meters behind the MS State record-holder at 800 meters, Tia Weston of Fairdale. Weston got the win on Friday, running 2:21 to Slayton’s 2:25, but it was Slayton who broke Weston’s record on Saturday, running 2:27.71 to best Weston’s 2:28.41 from last year. They will face off at the regional and again at the state championships in two weeks, but, for now, Slayton will be able to celebrate an impressive feat and gain valuable experience that will prove useful in the future.
It was a hot and humid day, to say the least. The events moved quickly, but the day dragged on, yet, somehow, about 1800 kids were able to overcome all of the negative around them and perform in the KTCCCA Middle School State Championships and they put on a spectacular show, to say the least. Excitement filled the stands for most every race and the atmosphere was electric for a fan base that will support our high school competition for years to come. I can’t say enough about how well the meet was put together and run, and the quality that is rising in this state has so much to do with this one meet in and of itself, that we really can’t even start to comprehend it’s importance. Thanks to everyone who helped make it a successful day of competition for all the athletes and to all the coaches who get paid next to nothing, put up with little to no budget, deal with overbearing parents, and still find a way to enrich so many kids’ lives each season. As frustrated as meet management may ever get with you, they respect and appreciate all the hours of hard work you put into this sport. Thank you.
ON TO THE HIGH SCHOOL REGIONALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!