Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

May 25, 2014

Class A state track: Fab Five

Fairview's McIntyre wins 5th straight state pole vault title; Raceland's Messer wins three golds

LEXINGTON — The last event of Saturday's Class A state track meet was over for a few minutes when Fairview senior Morgan McIntyre and Raceland junior Connor Messer saw each other and high-fived.

They had lots of reason to celebrate.

Messer won three events: the pole vault with a 14-foot leap, the high jump at 6 feet, 4 inches and the 110-meter hurdles in 15.32 seconds. He also finished second in the triple jump, which means he scored all the Rams' 38 points.

That impressed McIntyre.

“We're all from the same area, so having somebody from the same area as I to go and win three events at the state meet, that's incredible,” McIntyre said. “I'm very proud of him.”

McIntyre won two fewer gold medals, but her pole vault title was beautiful, too. The winning 12-foot leap was her fifth straight state crown, and she obliterated the Class A state record she set last year by 15 inches and the overall height in all three divisions by three.

“She won five times, that's incredible,” Messer said. “I don't think anybody will probably ever do that, I don't think. Win five, that's just too much ... I'm really happy for her.

“She works hard all the time. Great pole vaulter, great athlete.”

Of all the titles he won, Messer said the pole vault and the 110 hurdles were the most satisfying.

“(The 110) was going to be a close race between me and second place (Murray's Dylan Boone's 15.71 seconds),” Messer said. “Pole vault's my favorite event. I was really looking (forward) to pole vault.”

Messer had vaulted 15 feet before Saturday. He said using a 15-foot-long pole yesterday — he snapped his 16-footer during practice last Sunday — greatly hindered him.

“I don't get as much bend,” he said about the shorter pole. “ … I had to lower my hand grip, try to make it stiffer.”

Messer started the 110 hurdles in third place before picking up his speed. He was happy with his winning high jump, but …

“I was just really tired,” Messer said. “(The winning height) was one of the last jumps I did. It was the last event I had left. I got 110s and triple jump and pole vault over with.”

Green County senior Evan Jaggers' 43-½ in the triple jump was that much better than Messer's 42-11 ½.

“(Jaggers) is a good kid, he's a good jumper, too,” Messer said. “I'm happy for him. Second place is OK with me.”

Work worth it

Here's how Fairview coach Tim Champlin described McIntyre: “Regardless of sport in high school, she's the best athlete I've ever been a part of, yes.”

Indeed, McIntyre achieved every high school goal she wanted.

“It's awesome,” she said. “Going into my senior year, it's my last state track meet, what better than to break the overall state record? All the hard work I've put in through all the years I've being doing this, going back to middle school and high school, my goal has been to jump 12 feet, and I did that.”

When pole vault chief official Barry Knapp asked her if she was tired, McIntyre emphatically said, “No.” She then cleared both 11-9 ½ and 12 feet on her second attempt — in each, the crossbar wobbled and stayed up — before missing three times at 12-4.

“I had a feeling I could get (12-4),” McIntyre said. “I think I was just tired.”

Messer received the Kentucky National Guard Best & Brightest Award in Class A, and McIntyre captured the Forcht Bank Excellence Award.

McIntyre wants to clear at least 13 feet in college — she's headed for Western Kentucky University this fall. Whatever happens, she's sure of one thing — the memory of her grandfather, the late Fred McIntyre, a former The Independent pressman who died earlier this year.

“I know he was here watching everything I did,” McIntyre said. “He was cheering me on up there (in heaven). He's my No. 1 fan, and I know that he would be so proud of me. I'm glad that I did this, and I did it for him.”

'Pretty excited'

That was Rose Hill junior hurdler Olivia Kee's two-word summary of her fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. She finished in 16.52.

“It wasn't my best time, but it was really good,” Kee said after the race. “I thought I had an OK start. I'm usually one of the last ones to the first hurdle.”

Kee took second in the 300 hurdles. Her 46.80 was a personal record and just 17 hundredths of a second behind St. Henry's Tina Felix's 46.63.

Paintsville junior shot putter Cody Charles was calmly pleased, while his teammate, sophomore Daymion Belcher, had a smile as wide as U.S. 23.

With good reason. Charles finished fifth with his 45-9 toss, and Belcher was seventh with a 45-5.

“I think I could do a little better,” Belcher said. “At the end, I was a little tired. I thought I was eighth.”

Charles said: “I was hoping for top five.”

Fort Knox won the boys team title with 70 points. Raceland was sixth with 38.

St. Henry took the girls team crown over Newport Central Catholic, 121.5-97. Fairview and Rose tied for 15th with 13 points.

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