Plans are in motion to see that the canceled events of the KHSAA Class 3A State Track and Field Championships actually get contested.
Tates Creek High School is prepared on Monday to host the Class 3A boys’ and girls’ 4-by-400 relay championship events, which were canceled Saturday night due to inclement weather. Commodores Coach Jonathan Hawks said the coaches whose schools have teams in those events (36 schools total) are on board to come to Lexington to finish the competition. They just need the seal of approval from the KHSAA.
Henry Clay Coach Demetrius Gay, who doesn’t have a team racing in either relay, is properly certified and has agreed to be the official starter. Hawks said several Louisville-area coaches — Eastern’s Michael Horan, Fern Creek’s Antoine Horton, Manual’s Tim Holman and Male’s Damon Smith — have been instrumental in helping organize officials and getting the word out about Creek’s willingness to provide a field of play for the remaining races. They’ve done a “heck of a job,” Hawks said.
“It feels good to see coaches come together for these kids, man, cause that’s what this is about,” Hawks said. “It has nothing to do with the winning and losing.”
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Creek’s field is reserved Monday for what was supposed to be a “Track Night” to celebrate the season. Hawks hopes the KHSAA gives the “OK” for the schools to finish the championships then since kids will have had little time to rest and it won’t interfere summer plans of students whose school years have ended.
Is the state meet even that important to this state? That’s what it makes you think.
Jonathan Hawks, Tates Creek head coach
The KHSAA said Saturday night that the meet would not be resumed after a weather delay lasting about an hour and a half. As of 7 p.m. Sunday the KHSAA had not commented on Tates Creek’s efforts to revive the 4-by-400 relays, Hawks said.
If allowed to go forth, Creek will not charge admission to the races.
“It’s bigger than making money,” Hawks said. “It’s about making these kids have memories and giving these kids something that they can say they had a chance to do. You’ve got kids that did not get to run yesterday that made it to state and only wanted to run that one event. And it sucks.”
Hawks, who’s also an assistant football coach at Tates Creek, questioned the importance of the state track and field championships to the KHSAA compared to other state-title competitions.
He said a contingency plan — a local high school ready to host on Sunday if UK’s facilities weren’t available, he suggested — should have been in place for inclement weather. What would have happened, he said, if the Class A championships — which ended about 2:30 Saturday — had been delayed late into the night due to lightning?
“We would have never have done this for a basketball, baseball or football game,” Hawks said. “This sport means a lot to me and it means a lot of people in this state. … Some kids have been working since the season ended last year just for this one moment and you pretty much stopped them from being able to complete a full meet at the state.
“Is the state meet even that important to this state? That’s what it makes you think.”