What a difference a year makes.
At Thursday’s KHSAA Class 1A State Track and Field Championship at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Complex, the Rams scored 21 points to place 13th, while the Lady Rams tallied 10 to finish in a three-way tie for 20th.
“Going into the meet, we felt a great day would be scoring in double digits, but scoring 21 points was the thing that stood out and surprised me,” boys’ coach Randy Helton said. “(I) thought we were capable, but didn’t think we’d score 21 points and finish 13th.
“The kids really stepped up,” he added.
Raceland was the lone area team to make a big dent in the scoreboard. West Carter’s boys tallied five points to finish in a four-way tie for 29th, while Menifee County’s girls collected the only other girls’ point and tied for 34th. Bath County sent representatives in both genders; while Morgan County, Paintsville and Piarist each had just one competitor, but did not score.
Northern Kentucky dominated the standings. Walton-Verona won the boys’ title with 64 points, followed by Louisville Collegiate (56), Bishop Brossart (53.50) and St. Henry District (48). Beechwood was the girls’ winner with 100 points. Last year’s champ, Bishop Brossart (60), Lexington Christian (52) and Walden (46) rounded out the top four.
It has been a few years since either Raceland team has bettered their 2023 performance. In 2021, the boys also tallied 21 points, while the girls finished with 12.20. In 2019, the boys’ were sixth with 36 points. In 2015, the girls were fifth with 46 points.
Like many of the state meets in the past, the heat added another challenge to the performances.
“I think our kids responded pretty well to the heat. We tried to emphasize the importance of staying out of the heat when they weren’t competing, and to constantly hydrate through the day,” Helton said. “I think the jumpers would have been the ones it affected more because they had to go back and forth between the high jump and long jump.”
Girls’ coach Anthony Frisby echoed that sentiment.
“I think they did a good job at taking care of themselves and stayed hydrated all day,” he said.
Like it has all year, Helton relied on his field events and relay teams to do the bulk of the scoring. Sophomore Evan Burroughs was second in the discus with a top throw of 141’09”. Senior Jules Farrow placed fifth in the long jump with a distance of 20’05.50”, while senior Mason Lykins tied for sixth in the high jump after clearing 6’00”.
The 4×100-meter relay foursome of Christian Waugh, Cameron Bell, Brody Austin and Ty Tyson was third in 44.50; while the 4×200-meter quartet of Mason Lykins, Austin, Bell and Tyson was eighth in 1:33.66.
“To be honest, our whole team stood out in terms of balanced scoring. Evan Burroughs, obviously, with his ‘pr’ in the discus of 141’9” and state runner-up finish stands out, but our 4x100m ‘pr’ of 44.50 and finishing third was huge. (We) were ranked sixth going in,” Helton said. “Our 4x200m went in ranked 14th and ‘pr’ed and finished eighth with a time of 1:33.66.”
Burroughs’ performance was a bit of a surprise. Although he won the region, he did so with a mark of 121’05”, which only seeded him 12th overall. He finished 18th at last year’s meet with a toss of 109’08”.
But like several of the Rams, he exceeded expectations.
“It was a very fun, energetic day. I started on my first throw by breaking my own ‘pr’ and then I aggressively built up on every throw after that,” he said. “I really wanted to focus on getting 130 and above. Technique-wise putting my foot down, so I could have more power exploding out, that’s just about all (I did). I was just focusing on my nerves. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Green County’s Kelson McKinney posted a winning throw of 15’01”.
“I’m very pleased. I’m only a sophomore, so it’s a good thing to humble me with,” Burroughs said.
As has been the case for the last three years, Sophie Maynard led the way for the girls.
As a seventh-grader, she was third in the 300-meter hurdles in 49.04 and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in 17.29. Last year, she placed fourth in the 300m race in 49.72 and ninth in the 100m event in 17.28. On Thursday, she blistered those previous times, but still just claimed third in the 100m (15.75) and fifth in the 300m (47.89). Her 2023 times would have won both races in each of the last two years.
“In the 100m, I said a little prayer right before they said ‘set’ and after that, I just thought about the end of the hurdle, the last one in the whole race, and then just ran. I was hoping on ‘pr’ing, which I did, but obviously, I wanted to get first, but (it) didn’t happen,” she said. “In the 300m, I just thought about sprinting like a 100 hurdle to the first hurdle, keeping a 90 percent speed until the end of the last 100 meters, and then just running.”
Maynard learned a valuable lesson of how tough it is to get a state title.
“The competition has gotten a lot bigger from the first year I was here in the seventh grade. I’ve been here the last three years and the competition has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, but you’ve just got to bring it and hopefully be the same as the competition that’s coming,” she said. “I definitely wanted to get first in both events, obviously. But I’m proud of both of my ‘pr’s and hopefully work during the off-season to get better for net year.”
The top four girls in the 100m hurdles all posted sub-16-second times. Murray freshman Layla Green won in 15.27. Frankfort junior Katie Norman captured the 300m hurdles in 44.93. Five competitors in the latter race went under 48 seconds.
“Sophie Maynard, as you know, had a big day,” Frisby said. “She had personal bests in both the 100m hurdles and the 300m hurdles.”
West Carter’s boys had a pair of podium finishes. Sophomore Dwaylon Dean was sixth in the 300m hurdles (42.78) and 12th in the 110-meter hurdles (16.70); while the Comet 4×800-meter relay team of seniors Timothy Fields, Harley Richards, Connor Greene and junior Jordan Fuston, was seventh in 8:44.53.
The boys’ 4×400-meter relay squad of Fields, Landon Callihan, Greene and Richards placed 21st in 3:56.01; while the girls’ 4x800m group of Alexis Bond, Jaci Conley, Destiny Davis and Brooke Wolfe was 23rd in 12:30.23.
Jaelyn Gibson paced Bath County by tying for 11th in the pole vault with a mark of 7’00.00”. Raceland senior Sophie Hale was in a three-way tie for 13th in that event after also clearing 7’00.00”. Abby Allen, the lone Moran County entrant at the state meet, was 18th at 6’06.00.”
Bath County’s Nathan Ruark tied for 14th in the boys’ pole vault (9’06.00”). Bayley French was 18th in the girls’ 800-meter run (2:36.43), Alyssa Dyer was 19th in the discus (85’06”) and senior Braden Akers tied for 15th in the pole vault (no height).
The girls’ 4x400m foursome of Shaddix Lewis, French, Madison Mabior and Gibson rounded out the squad from Owingsville by placing 21st in 4:50.21.
In her final high school meet, Menifee County’s Taylor Parks’ capped off her highly-successful career by claiming eighth in the 800m in 2:28.01. She also was 11th in the triple jump at 30’10.75”, with her best leap coming last.
Menifee County’s other entrants included Payton Burgess, who finished tied for 18th in the high jump (4’06”) and 19th in the 300m hurdles (53.03). Shalyne Baker was 19th in the triple jump (29’08.75”). Triniti Blankenship was 20th in both the 1,600-meter run (6:06.34) and 3,200-meter run (16:00.76), while Brevon Ricker was 20th in the boys’ 1,600m (4:56.75).
The Lady Cats’ 4x200m relay team of Andi Wells, Baker, Burgess and Parks was 23rd in 1:58.95.
Kiera Meyer was a pleasant surprise for the Lady Rams after finishing in 14th in the discus (88’03”).
“Kiera Meyer exceeded expectations. She made it to state in the at-large field for the discus for her first berth at state, and came out today and threw her personal best,” Frisby said. “I was happy with how both girls (Maynard and Meyer) ended their seasons on high notes and have something to build on for next season.”
Raceland’s other competitors included: Cole Conlon in the 110m hurdles (15th in 16.99), 300m hurdles (23rd in 48.96) and pole vault (tied for 16th with no height); Waugh in the 100-meter dash (15th in 11.53), 400-meter dash (56.04) and the 300m hurdles (23rd in 48.96); Tyson in the 100m (11.51) and 200-meter dash (21st in 25.01); Max Burton in the 300m hurdles (13th in 43.56); Xander Jenkins in the pole vault (tied for 14th at 9’06.00”), Lykins in the long jump (15th in 19’01.25”) and Brooke Campbell in the girls’ pole vault (tied for 19th with no height).
Olivia Maynard represented Paintsville and was 17th in the high jump (4’08”) after clearing two heights on her final attempt. She also was 15th in the long jump (14’06.00”), with Piarist’s Porsche Reichenbach 16th in that event with a leap of 14’05.00”.