LOUISVILLE — Sending its coach out in a blaze of glory, Male rolled to a fifth consecutive boys' team championship Saturday in the Class 3A State Track and Field Meet at the University of Louisville's Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Coach Jason Neuss is stepping down after nine years with the Bulldogs, the last eight as head coach, to become assistant principal at Moore High School.
Also increasing Male's state-record total of titles to 31, the Bulldogs piled up 97 points. St. Xavier scored 70.
Ballard squeaked past North Hardin for third place, 59-55, followed by Bryan Station with 40. Henry Clay came in seventh and Scott County tied for eighth.
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"We had one or two hiccups, but then we had some other places where guys picked up some points for us. I'm proud of them," Neuss said. "This year we kind of nickeled and dimed a lot, didn't have a lot of the big tens (points for first-place finishes), but we did score two guys in quite a few races."
Male swept the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays, and Michael Patterson snared the triple jump.
"I felt like I could have gone farther, but 47 (feet) is going to have to do," Patterson said.
Perhaps the most stunning result came in the 400 meters, an event in which Henry Clay's Brandon Nichols and Blake Green had placed 1-2 in the last two years.
With Green out due to injury, Nichols was on his own.
The Kentucky signee was run down in the stretch by Ballard junior Ronnie Baker, who clocked in at 47.73 seconds to Nichols' 48.62.
Earlier, Baker led teammate William Kannamore to a 1-2 finish in the 100, winning in 10.89. Nichols and teammate Bo Brooks placed 5-7.
"All week before State, we were working on starts, and I got out and just drove for the first 20 meters," Baker said. "Then, after that, picked it up. Overall, a good start in the (100) and the (400)."
Baker finally met his match in the 200, running second to James Quick. The Trinity sophomore, also defending champion, won by four-tenths of a second in 21.45.
Scott County senior Dominique Norris went one spot higher than what his father Gene accomplished twice during his high school days at Cumberland County, winning the 110-meter hurdles.
"I don't think it's dawned upon me yet," said Dominique, who finished in 15.26. "I'm really, really — I don't know what I am right now."
Ryle's Jeff Huntley finished three-hundredths of a second behind Norris and had the same margin in front of Bryan Station sophomore Jacob Mclimore.
"I felt really good out of the blocks," Norris said. "I was focused for a little bit, and I did a really bad high step on the third or fourth hurdle. It freaked me out, then I started gunning and got my leg down, and I really had to dip at the end."
Mclimore came back to run second to St. Xavier's Peter McDermott in the 300-meter hurdles, with Norris taking third and Henry Clay's Dorian Robinson in fifth.
Bryan Station, third in the 400-meter relay, also got thirds from Tre Duncan in the long jump and triple jump.
Henry Clay took third in the 800-meter relay and Dunbar got a third from Lamont Johnson in the high jump.