Trigg County’s archery program may not have won the state title last week, but its dominance the previous three seasons was something not seen in Kentucky athletics since the mid-’70s.
The KHSAA began sponsoring an archery state championship in 2013. The Trigg County Wildcats — or, as they’ve dubbed themselves, “Arrowcats” — won the first three state titles before finishing fourth behind champion Madison Central, Pulaski County and Anderson County last week. (A little salt-in-the-wound footnote to their performance at Kentucky Basketball Academy last week? The Wildcats shot a day-best 3,458 in the preliminary round.)
Before Trigg put its run together, the last time the same school won three straight team titles in the first three years of a sport’s KHSAA governance was when Lexington Catholic’s girls’ cross country team won Class A championships from 1975 to 1977. The only other previous time that’s happened in KHSAA history? When Lexington High School (the predecessor to Henry Clay) won the first three boys’ basketball titles from 1918-1920.
The program at Trigg County started about 14 years ago as part of the Kentucky Archery in Schools Program, now a national program known as NASP. Tom Patterson, who used to compete in International Bowhunting Organization competitions, has coached the Wildcats the whole time. He gives ample credit for Trigg’s success on the range to the “incredible kids” he gets to teach.
“They’re so attentive to instruction and the whole mental aspect of it,” Patterson said. “ ... I don’t help them shoot the arrows. I give them a little advice, a little confidence and, bam!, they set the world on fire.”
Both Patterson and Anderson County Coach Dave Frederick spoke to the variety of students who come out for archery. Honor students, golfers, dancers, artists, band members, singers, drama kids, boys, girls — the bows attract perhaps the most eclectic group of student-athletes in all of KHSAA competition.
That assemblage of personalities is special, Patterson said. In addition to the lessons archery teaches about self-coaching, self-motivations and measurables such as time and resource management, it enables interactions that might not otherwise occur naturally.
“Some of them live on a golf course in million-dollar houses, other ones live out in the county and are not quite near as fortunate,” he said. “But they’re all on one team at one time in their life. For a chapter in their life, they are one team.”
Frederick, a wildlife biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources who has coached at Anderson County for six years, has been involved in the sport since club teams started to be formed in 2002.
Archery has shown amazing growth, especially since the KHSAA officially recognizes it now, Frederick said. The first state shoot under NASP had about 200 kids turn out; nearly 1,000 competed in last week’s KHSAA tournament and more than 4,000 showed up for the state NASP shoot in March (Madison Central edged Trigg County there, too — 3,449 to 3,441).
Frederick wants to see more colleges offer scholarships for the sport; two former Anderson County archers, Nicole Iverson and Brooke Tyndall, attended Cumberlands and Midway, respectively, on archery scholarships and will graduate in May.
The accomplishments of archers on and off the field are giving Anderson County something more to be proud of.
“Our kids, especially in our hometown, it’s always basketball and football,” Frederick said. “Kids are talking about the archery team now. They’re bringing the respect for the sport to their school.”
Frederick said he’s trying to elevate his program to the level of Trigg County. Neither Anderson nor Trigg left Lexington last week with a state title in hand, but Patterson and Frederick planned on bonding with their own bows the next day regardless of their outcomes.
“He’s staying at my house tonight and we’re going turkey hunting in the morning,” Patterson said. “We’ve been talking about it for weeks.”
▪ Covington Catholic senior Robert Young tossed only 68 pitches in a 3-0 no-hitter against Dixie Heights on Saturday. Young, a Transylvania signee, walked three batters and had four strikeouts.
Twenty of the outs came via strikeout, grounders or popups; the only Dixie ball to reach the outfield was a fly-out to center fielder Adam Piccirillo in the fourth inning.
The Colonels were 17-3 entering their Tuesday game at Beechwood, which was suspended in the top of the third inning with the Tigers ahead 2-1. The game will resume at a time, date and location to be announced.
▪ Marshall County junior JC Goins threw his first no-hitter in a 7-0 win at Murray, just four days after the Tigers handed the Marshals an 11-1 loss on their home field.
▪ TJ Graves, a junior at Nelson County, had eight strikeouts and pitched a no-no in the Cardinals’ five-inning 11-0 win at Hart County on April 20. Nelson County took a six-game win streak into its home game against John Hardin on Thursday.
Softball record smashed
Anderson County softball catcher Bailey Curry set the state home-run record against McCracken County on April 16 with homer No. 56. She’s since sent homers No. 57 and 58.
“It is a big weight off my shoulders,” Curry told The Anderson News after breaking the state record.
Curry is only a junior. The national record is 72, set by Shelby Holley of Pisgah (Ala.) in 2011. The next-best mark on the national list is 61 (Holly Currie, also of Pisgah), a number Curry could conceivably pass soon with eight games left in the regular season and at least one postseason contest to play. Of course, Anderson is expected to play more than one playoff game; the Bearcats are ranked eighth in the state and the favorite to win the 8th Region.
▪ The KHSAA bass fishing region tournaments were held over the course of the last week. Winners from each of the four regions were: Taylor Harris, Drew Mendoza and Bronson Goff, Muhlenberg County (1st Region); Trevor Sagrecy and Michael Shelton, Washington County (2nd Region); Tad Barton and Matthew Wood, South Laurel (3rd Region); Robert Powe and Colby Kerr, Clark County (4th Region)
Lafayette anglers Riley Cobb and Landon Orr tied for fourth place in the 2nd Region to earn a spot in the state tournament. Madison Southern had three sets of qualifiers: Ricky Seth Hembree/Jacob Walters, Leslie Owens/Brandon Turner and Blake Harold/Cameron Cochran.
A complete list of state qualifiers is available at bit.ly/1QD0kv. The state tournament will be held May 13-14 at Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville.
▪ Allen County-Scottsville senior Autumn Morgan signed to play softball at Berea College on Tuesday. She will study nursing.
In the winter, Morgan decided to forgo her senior season with the Patriots to allow her body to heal after repeated injuries to her right arm and shoulder. Throughout her career she’s undergone Tommy John, elbow and rotator cuff surgeries. She last played for ACS on April 15, 2015, finishing her junior season with a 2.18 ERA before again injuring her arm and shoulder.
Kim Borders, Morgan’s pitching coach, recommended the layoff.
“As soon as I could after the surgeries, I was back pitching,” Morgan said in a news release. “She tells me that this layoff will be really good for me. It’s giving my body and muscles time to really heal.”
▪ Jaelin Jenkins, who averaged 4.3 points and played in all 31 games for Lafayette this season, signed with St. Catharine on April 15.
▪ McCracken County sophomore Abby Shoulders committed to play softball for Murray State last weekend.
▪ Lexington Christian will represent the 11th Region in the All “A” Classic State Softball Tournament this weekend in Owensboro. The Eagles (11-9) will participate in Saturday pool play with Glasgow, Whitefield and defending champion Louisville Holy Cross. The top two teams from each of the four pools will advance to a single-elimination tournament on Sunday.
▪ Harrison County’s 13-2 softball win over Mason County on Monday was its 10th straight and its 200th since Christine Garnett took over the program.
Garnett played for the Fillies from 1995-2000 before starring at Georgetown College, where she was Mid-South Conference Player of the Year in 2004. She joined Harrison County as an assistant in 2005 and remained in that role before becoming head coach in 2008.
▪ Trey Blevins went 4-for-4 with two triples and two singles for Wayne County in a 6-4 win over Rockcastle County on Monday. The win snapped a three-game skid by the Cardinals.
Blevins, the 12th Region Player of the Year in basketball, is Wayne County’s all-time leader in hits, runs scored, doubles and stolen bases. For the season has scored 26 runs, stolen 21 bases and had 18 RBI. He’s batting .438.
▪ McCracken County’s softball team was voted as the top squad in the coaches poll for the 25th (!) straight time this week.