As the temperature and action started to heat up, so did Boyd County and Ashland Blazer at the Class 2A, Region 6 track and field meet, Saturday at the Mason County Intermediate School.
The Lions took home the boys team title while the Kittens won the girls title for the fourth straight year, topping Mason County, who finished runner-up despite some miscues and a key injury on the day.
The Lady Royals were dealt a blow early when Iyanna Johns hurt her knee in the girls triple jump, that was followed by a disqualification from Rachel Payne in the 100-meter hurdles and the girls’ 4×200 relay team.
“It fell apart early, but they rallied. It could have got worse real quick,” Mason County coach Mark Kachler said. “They pulled it together for the 4×100 relay and I think that really helped everybody’s confidence moving forward.”
But the Lady Royals were able to overcome it with some solid individual and relay performances in advancing athletes to the state meet Friday at the University of Kentucky.
The day started off well for the girls team, as they took home the 4×800 relay team title with Alyssa Bisotti, Hayden Faris, Paige Decker and Hadley Faris. Momentum quickly stalled from there as in about a 30-minute span, Johns went down with the injury, Payne was called for a false start and then the 4×200 team dropped the baton in an exchange, disqualifying them. Johns was slated to run the 100-meter dash, seeded fourth, Payne was seeded second in the 100 hurdles and the 4×200 team was also seeded second, those points added up quickly and if the expected results were to hold that way, the Lady Royals conceded essentially 20 points in the meet right there, ending hopes of topping three-time champ Ashland in the team standings.
But the day wasn’t for naught as nearly the whole team will have the chance to compete at state next week.
Some individual region champs included Te’A King in the 100, Marissa Scilley in the triple jump for the third year in a row and Abi Dawson in the pole vault.
King ran to a time of 13.06, topping Ashland’s Mykasa Robinson. The win comes off a year ago where she finished second in the event.
“I hit the weight room hard this year and got better block starts. My start was better today, I got thrown off by the false start, but it was definitely better than last year,” King said.
She’s hoping for a good birthday present come next Friday at the state meet.
“It’s my birthday that day so I’m hoping to place,” King said.
Scilley set a personal record with a jump of 34-03, dominating the field by nearly three feet.
“It was just about focusing really hard on what I was doing, my phases and making it all work together,” Scilley said. “I tried not to think about that (three-peat) and focus on what I was doing.”
Dawson’s height on the pole vault was 8-06, beating out teammate Olivia O’Hearn for the regional crown. Both will advance to the state meet as the top two in each event automatically qualify, then the next 10 best times, distances or heights from the rest of Class 2A.
Other automatic qualifiers for the Lady Royals include Payne in the 300 hurdles, in what was a close race with Rowan County’s Promise Cross. Cross edged out Payne by .06 of a second.
“She came back out in that race, still a novice hurdler and came within fractions of a second of setting the school record. Still probably hasn’t run 10 hurdles races in her life. We’re very excited about her and her future,” Kachler said.
Seventh grader Paige Decker placed second in the long jump at 15-09 to finish out the automatic individual qualifiers for the Lady Royals. The 4×800, 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams also qualified with second place finishes. The 4×400 team of Abi Dawson, Rachel Payne, Hadley Faris and Olivia O’Hearn set a school record with a time of 4:18.52.
“They finished the day off in strong style. Even though they finished second, they broke their own school record. The girls that set that school record last year were all here watching. They hate to see their name come off the board, but that’s a part of life,” Kachler said. “The opportunity to compete next week will be fun. Everybody, by the time we look at relays and alternates, basically the whole team has qualified.”
Mason County got addition qualifiers in Marissa Scilley and Sara Brewer. Scilley’s mark of 15-03.5 was good for fourth in the long jump, while Brewer finished sixth in the high jump with a mark of 4-06.
The Lady Royals ended up with 131 points on the day as a team, 53 off the pace from Ashland.
The Royals will also be sending a some athletes based off their performances. Dalton Kindt won the shot put for the second straight year with a season best throw of 49-10 on his final throw of the day. Kindt battled through a knee injury to win the event.
“It was definitely a rough week at practice. But this was my last go-around so a little bit of pain wasn’t going to stop me much,” Kindt said. “That final throw I knew I was going to get first or second, so I just let it all out.”
Kindt also placed second in the discus with a throw of 127-09, earning a state berth in both throwing events.
The senior was the lone regional champ for the Royals but a couple others earned auto-qualifying berths with second place finishes including Carson Adams in the 800 with a time of 2:09.54. Adams fought off Boyd County’s Eric Sparks down the final stretch to claim second.
“Carson, we’ve been seeing it all year. He knew where the move might come from and anticipated it really well,” Kachler said. “He’s a freshman, great future.”
Isaiah Riggs turned in a runner-up finish in the 3,200 with a personal best time of 10:53.85.
“Isaiah went out and seized the moment. Bless his heart. He went for it, no fear and had his mind made up on what he wanted to do. I was a little worried four laps in about his strategy being aggressive, but you train to peak at the right time and he did that,” Kachler said.
Allen Powell was the only Royal to earn a non-automatic bid to the state meet, finishing fifth in the high jump at 5-06.
The Panthers got a regional champ out of Robert Applegate in the 1,600. Applegate ran the mile in a time of 4:47.76, beating out Boyd County’s Eric Sparks by over two seconds.
Hayden Ramey placed second in the 400 with a time of 53.19, finishing behind Ashland’s Keontae Pittman, who won the 100, 200 and 400 on the day.
Caleb Faris finished fourth in the pole vault with a height of 9-00, which was good enough to earn a berth in the state meet.
For the Lady Panthers, Erin Peese is an auto-qualifier with a second place finish in the 100 hurdles behind Ashland’s Lydia Onan. Peese finished in a time of 18.45.
Peese was the lone girls auto-qualifier, but the 4×100-meter relay team also earned a spot with a time of 53.95.
The Panthers and Lady Panthers placed seventh as teams, the boys scoring 27 points, the girls 21.
Leshia McNamara finished second in the discus for the third straight year with a throw of 101-01, behind Rowan County’s Sydnee Cantrell with a throw of 104-09. She’ll still head to Lexington for the third straight year.
McNamara was the lone auto-qualifier for the school, but Tay Offut’s impressive personal record jump of 21-03.50 put him in third place in the event and earned him a spot a the state meet.
The Lions finished eighth as a team with 10 points while the Lady Lions finished ninth with 18 points.
BOYS TEAM RESULTS:
1. Boyd County- 140 points
2. Ashland Blazer- 119.5
3. Russell- 105
4. Rowan County- 69
5. Mason County- 43.5
6. Greenup County- 34
7. Fleming County- 27
8. Lewis County- 10
9. East Carter- 9
GIRLS TEAM RESULTS:
1. Ashland Blazer- 184
2. Mason County- 131
3. Rowan County- 81
4. Boyd County- 40
5. East Carter- 32
6. Greenup County- 27
7. Fleming County- 21
8. Russell- 20
9. Lewis County- 18