There won’t be a better collection of high school athletes in one place than the Republic Bank/KHSAA Track and Field State Championships this weekend at the University of Kentucky’s Outdoor Track and Field Complex. Need more convincing? Don’t you want to see whether ...
▪ … Paul Laurence Dunbar sprinter William Allen can sweep the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes in Class 3A? He’s the top seed in the 200 and 400, but he’s second to North Hardin’s Kasaun James in the 100. James is just one-tenth of a second slower than Allen in the 200. Allen is a full three seconds faster than his next-closest competitors in the 400, Collin Brown of Ballard and James.
▪ … Male’s Taliyah Townsend can do the same in the equivalent girls’ races? She’s favored in the 200 and 400 and is seeded second behind Bryan Station junior Brooke Raglin in the 100, but just by two-hundreths of a second.
▪ … Lexington Christian’s Adam Wier can bring a first-place medal home like his brother Aaron did in the fall? Adam is the top-seeded performer in the 3,200. Aaron won the Class A state cross country race this season (Adam ran 11th) and is among the contenders in the 1,600.
▪ … Region 6 can go 1-2 in the Class 3A shot put and discus events? Lafayette star Landon Young is favored in both events, with Scott County freshman Bryan Hudson, who was offered a football scholarship by UK last month, nipping at his heels.
Republic Bank/KHSAA Track and Field State Championships pre-meet performance lists: Class A Class 2A Class 3A
▪ … Henry Clay senior Jaron Brooks can sweep the high, long and triple jumps for the second straight season? His best marks this season in the high and triple would be state-meet records, and his top long-jump performance isn’t too far from one, either.
▪ … Lexington Catholic star Michaela Reinhart can come away with a sweep of the 1,600 and 3,200 that would solidify her status as the best girls’ distance runner in the state? The junior dominated the Class 2A state cross country race in the fall and ran the fastest time among all three classes by about six seconds. She’s the favorite in both events.
▪ … Bryan Station junior Isaiah McCall can set state records in the 110 and 300 hurdles? His best 110 time of the season is four-tenths of a second away from matching the mark set by Manual’s James Triplett in 1975, but his top mark in the 300 (set at the Fayette County Championships) is about four-tenths of a second better than the state record owned by John Hardin’s Brandon Bagley.
▪ … any of last year’s team champions can repeat? On the boys’ side, Henry Clay (3A), Paducah Tilghman (2A) and Bishop Brossart (A) took home team honors in 2015. Tilghman’s 29 boys’ team titles are second only to Male (31) in state history. Bishop Brossart won its fourth title a year ago, while Henry Clay came home with its first.
Bryan Station (3A), North Oldham (2A) and St. Henry (A) claimed the girls’ team crowns last year. All three schools are seeking three-peats. The Defenders’ 10 titles are tied with St. Henry for third-most in state history behind Paducah Tilghman (14) and Fort Campbell (12).
▪ … Tates Creek can position itself to sweep both titles? The Commodores boast the best performance in only one event — the boys’ pole vault, where Ben Stone’s mark of 15 feet is ranked a foot higher than teammate Kyle Hopkins — but are deep and field 37 entrants, the most of any Fayette County school and third-most in the competition (North Hardin has 43 entrants and Male 41). Tates Creek’s chances on the girls’ side took a big blow when their 4-by-100 relay team, which ran the best time in the state this season, was disqualified because of a false start at the regional.
▪ … the Herald-Leader’s team of reporters and photographers can keep up with every single second of all three meets? (The answer: Probably not, but we’re going to try our best. *smiling emoji*)
Read more: Dunbar sprinter Will Allen is committed to the University of Alabama. He missed his sophomore while living in Honduras.
Notes from the diamond
The biggest shock of the baseball season — and maybe the entire 2015-16 sports season — occurred when Augusta, winless in the regular season, upset St. Patrick 9-6 in the 39th District tournament to earn a trip to the 10th Region Tournament. It is the Panthers’ first trip since 1994.
Monday’s game was only the second in which Augusta didn’t give up double-digit runs (they fell 16-0 to Mason County in the district finals). The Panthers originally scheduled about 20 regular-season games this season, but weather and field limitations restricted their schedule to 10. Six of their 16 players also played basketball; Augusta’s team has made deep runs in the most recent roundball postseasons.
“I admire the kids and the coaches who put it all together after a winless season,” Augusta principal Robin Kelsch said. “ ... They got a couple of timely hits that had been missing earlier in the year with men on base and got out to a good start. The kids played hard, responded and won the one that matters at this point.”
Here are more interesting tidbits from the start of baseball’s postseason:
▪ Harrison County defeated Nicholas County 10-0 in a five-inning bout for the 38th District championship on Monday. Thoroughbreds junior Nathan Fryman struck out 10 batters and gave up only one hit.
Harrison County’s 21-0 win over Robertson County the night before was their 20th of the season, giving the Thoroughbreds their 36th consecutive 20-win season. They won their 14th straight district title and their 33rd in the last 36 seasons.
▪ Down 4-1 in the seventh inning of its 57th District opener against Magoffin County, Sheldon Clark scored three runs to force an extra frame. In the bottom of the eighth, senior Blake Harless singled in the winning run to send the Cardinals to their first 57th District title game since 2013.
▪ Will Heppler, Ryan Eckerle and AJ Mayer combined for a two-hit, 11-strikeout performance in Covington Catholic’s 2-1 win over Covington Holy Cross in eight innings on Monday. The Colonels have won at least 20 games for 31 straight seasons. They’ll seek their first trip to state since 2002 when the 9th Region Tournament kicks off next week at Cooper.
▪ Junior Brenden Lewis pitched a no-hitter in Hancock County’s 1-0 victory over Breckinridge County to help the Hornets reach their sixth straight 11th District championship and 3rd Region Tournament. Hancock improved to 10-23 while upsetting the favored Tigers, whose season ended at 22-11. The Hornets had lost twice to Breckinridge County in the regular season (9-3 and 8-1) and at one point had an eight-game losing streak. Monday’s win was their first district victory of the season.
▪ Mayfield defeated Graves County 4-3 in the first round of the 3rd District Tournament to clinch a trip to the finals. As Graves County radio announcer Joe Jackson observed on Twitter, it was the third time this season Mayfield defeated the Eagles by the same score. Before this season, Mayfield had lost seven straight games to Graves County.
▪ Several Tates Creek track and field athletes signed with colleges last week: Tyanne Bentley (Kentucky Wesleyan); Rachel Browning (Lindsey Wilson); Lauren Miller (Chapman) and Ben Stone (Bellarmine). Commodores baseball player Spencer Coop signed with Hanover.
▪ Henry Clay’s T’laya Lyvers, a first-team All-City basketball selection who averaged 18 points last season, signed with Walters State, a community college in Morristown, Tenn. Nakeisha Greene, an All-City honorable mention, signed with Berea.
▪ Henry Clay sophomore Kaitlyn Hord and Lexington Catholic freshman McKenna Vicini were named to USA Volleyball’s Girls’ Youth National Training Team last week. They were the only Kentuckians among the 24 selections, from which a squad of 12 will be selected to compete in the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships from July 19-23 and the NORCECA Women’s U18 Continental Championship set for Aug. 26 through Sept. 5.
▪ Lexington Christian’s 12-9 win over Lexington Catholic in the 43rd District softball tournament Monday was its first postseason victory in program history. The Eagles had 18 hits, led by a 4-for-4 effort from senior Melissa Myers, who had a double to go with three singles. Emily Orrender, also a senior, was 2-for-2 with a triple and home run and was hit by pitches her other two at-bats. Freshman Elise Shewmaker went 3-for-4 with two doubles.
The Eagles finished 17-15, matching a school record for wins set in 2014. “What do you say when you don’t want the season to end? The only thing that comes to mind is thank you for the ride,” LCA Coach Greg Shewmaker tweeted following his team’s 6-4 loss to Lafayette on Tuesday.
▪ St. Xavier tennis coach Kerry Lancaster went out in dynastic fashion, deciding to resign from his position after the Tigers won their eighth straight team title and then swept the boys’ singles and doubles competitions in consecutive weekends. He doesn’t think he had much to do with St. X’s success.
“I didn’t hit a ball,” Lancaster told the Courier-Journal. “I try to put the players in the right positions and sometimes instruct them in the right way. In the end, we had four or five All-Americans. We had great players here, and that makes it hard to lose.”
▪ Paris High School broke ground on a new 4,500-square foot all-sports training facility last Thursday at Blanton Collier Stadium. Several area businesses are donating funds and materials for the project. Construction is scheduled to be completed by September.
▪ Owensboro Catholic senior Caroline Hayden was named the Midway University/KHSAA Female Student-Athlete of the Year in tennis. Hayden was 30-0 in the regular season (14-0 in singles, 16-0 in doubles). She and partner Sarah Brown fell in the round of 16 in the state doubles tournament after winning the 3rd Region championship.
Hayden also was a standout for the Aces’ basketball and soccer teams. She nearly averaged a double-double on the court (11 points, 8.8 rebounds) en route to making the state All-Tournament team. The Aces fell to Murray in the state quarterfinals two months after the Tigers defeated them for the All “A” Classic state championship.
She scored 29 goals on the pitch, good for second on the team, and was named to the All-State soccer team four straight seasons. Lexington Catholic knocked off Owensboro Catholic in the state semifinals.
▪ St. Xavier fended off Trinity 10-9 in the Kentucky Scholastic Lacrosse League championship on Friday, giving the Tigers their eighth title in the last nine seasons.
▪ Shelby County boys’ basketball coach Jason Couch was named the new coach at Bullitt East this week. Couch was the coach at Eastern from 2003-2012, making two trips to the Sweet Sixteen. Before that, he coached at Greenwood and Hanover College.