The Murray girls and Fort Knox boys took early leads and never looked back on their way to overall team titles at the Class A Track and Field Championships at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Complex on Saturday.
It was Murray’s second straight team championship. Last year’s was the first in program history.
“The girls weren’t content,” said Murray Coach Mark Boggess. “You can get complacent sometimes when you win a state championship or whatever it might be, and they just were not content. It’s like every time they go out they’re trying to break their own records.”
Ann Taylor led the Tigers, anchoring the 4-by-100 relay team which won its fourth straight title. Taylor then finished second in the 100-meter dash before winning the 400 for the first individual championship of her career. She ended the day with a runner-up finish in the 200 dash.
Taylor is signed to play soccer for Murray State and said she has no plans to continue her track career. That made Saturday’s success especially meaningful for the senior.
“I’ve worked so hard all year and this has been my goal all through high school so it’s just so special,” she said. “With this being my last-ever meet what a way to go out, winning a relay and finally getting an individual title, plus repeating (as team champions). It’s a great feeling.”
Boggess said Taylor’s win in the 400 was the culmination of several years of hard work.
“Words can’t express how happy I was for her,” he said. “With all the hard work she’s always put in she really deserved it and she’s just getting better right now, if she had another meet there’s no telling what she’d do.”
Boggess said the Tigers will have a tough time replacing the production of Taylor along with that of fellow seniors Grace Campbell and Sarah McDowell, who racked up points in Saturday’s field events.
Campbell finished second in the triple jump and high jump while McDowell finished second in the discus after winning it the past three state meets.
Fort Knox’s boys leaned on their relay squads, taking home titles in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-200. Alhec Santiago ran both relays and also placed second in the long jump and triple jump.
Josh DeRivas, who anchored the 4-by-200 team, said the Eagles were extra motivated heading into Saturday.
“People say ‘Fort Knox is trash, Fort Knox is this and that,’ but today we’ve made a good name for ourselves” he said. “It’s crazy, my heart dropped as soon as I got that baton and it just felt like nothing else mattered, I had to get to that line first.”
Eagles take third
Lexington Christian’s boys followed up last year’s team championship with a third-place finish, making a late move up the standings as eighth-grader Connor Hayes finished second in the 3,200 run and the 4-by-800 relay team placed fourth.
The highlight of the day for the Eagles was their title in the 4-by-800 relay after finishing third in the event last year. In his first year running track, Blake Richardson anchored the 4-by-800 winners and finished third in the 800.
So why the sudden interest in track and field? Richardson blamed his teammate.
“That’s all on Adam Huff,” he said with a laugh. “He’s been begging me for four years to come out and try it, so this year I said ‘fine, I’ll come do it for you’.”
Huff’s value to the team isn’t limited to his recruiting expertise. The senior ran the second leg of the 4-by-800 and finished fourth in the 3,200.
But Huff admitted it felt good to have his scouting skills validated by Richardson’s performance.
“Oh, I was so proud of him,” said Huff. “I felt just like a dad out there watching him.”