Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

April 20, 2014

Pole vaulters conquer wind in Chattin

ASHLAND — For obvious reasons, pole vaulting records and windy conditions don’t go together.

Raceland’s Connor Messer and Fairview’s Morgan McIntyre raised the bar anyway at Saturday’s Ernie Chattin Memorial Invitational.

Despite a windy challenge — especially for Messer — on the hilltop at Ashland Athletic Complex, both athletes set new pole vault marks for the 11-year-old meet and received Outstanding Performance awards.

Messer, a junior, cleared 14 feet on a sunny and breezy day to eclipse one of the meet’s oldest standards (13-6 in 2004) and also shattered the stadium record of 13-8.  

“I had to wait a couple of times until the wind calmed down,” said the three-sport standout. “I tried to time it up. The first time I tried at 14 feet, it kicked up. I finally got it on my third attempt.”

Earlier this season, Messer established a personal-best and school record of 14 feet, 6 inches at Coal Grove.

McIntyre, meanwhile, rewrote the girls’ Chattin Invitational mark of 9-3 that she set in 2010 as an eighth-grader. Fairview hadn’t been back to the meet until Saturday, when the four-time Class A pole-vault champ reset the Chattin mark at 11 feet.

Because of leg cramps the past two weeks, McIntyre tried to conserve energy when possible Saturday.  

“I think I only took a total of five jumps today because of cramping,” said McIntyre, who has committed to Western Kentucky University. “I’m pretty happy to go 11 feet. Wind was a factor, but it wasn’t too bad earlier in the morning when I was competing.”

McIntyre cleared 11-3 at South Point this season, which tied for the state’s best in all classes.

She competed in two other events Saturday, finishing second to Ashland’s Kaylee Robinson in the 200 meters and running the anchor leg on Fairview’s winning 4 x 400 relay team to end the meet.

Afterwards, McIntyre was treated for several minutes with hamstring cramps.

“They were balling up,” said McIntyre, who had ice bags taped to the backs of both legs. “We have a lot of girls injured right now. I knew I could battle through it. You’ve got to overcome those kind of things. You can’t let it bring you down.”      

Raceland’s girls continued their strong spring, edging Ashland 108-103 for the championship among 11 schools.

The Lady Rams were missing one of their main cogs, Abby Jones, on Prom day but still had enough to pull through for their fifth meet title this season.

Seventh-grader Baille Riffe and junior Jonda Williams finished 1-2 in the 400 meters. Riffe set a PR with her time of 1:04.83. Raceland’s other first place came in the 4 x 800 relay, with Williams, eighth-grader Lauren Runyon, seventh-grader Katelyn Quillen and freshman Haley Boggs turning in a time of 11:16.98. Quillen subbed in because of a teammate’s foot injury.

Depth again provided the difference for the Lady Rams.

“That’s our strength,” Raceland coach Ray Kilgore said. “We usually have two people score in an event. We’re pretty deep, even our younger ones. Every one of these girls has a lot of heart.”

Ashland, led by sophomore Kaylee Robinson, kept the heat on the Lady Rams.

Robinson and teammate Rachel Barber finished 1-2 in the 100 dash, and Robinson later won the 200 in a personal-best 27.24.

“Kaylee and Rachel have such a great competition inside our team,” said Kevin Stepp, who coaches Ashland’s girls and boys. “They are always pushing each other.”

Robinson considers this something of a breakout season for herself.

“When I was younger, I was not always winning my races,” said Robinson, who began running for Ashland as an eighth-grader. I feel I’ve gotten stronger, better. I would like to get under 13 (seconds) in my 100, and probably around 26 or 26.5 for the 200.”

Ashland also swept both sprint relays Saturday, with Robinson, Barber and Alaina Thornburg as members. Mykasa Robinson helped out on the 4 x 100, while Rudy Sewell ran on the 4 x 200.

“I’m really pleased with our team,” Robinson said. “They work hard. We never have any issues. I think we can go far, even to state this year.”

Morgan County finished third in the girls’ standings with 91 points, thanks to a boost from the young Perrys. Seventh-grader Kailee and fifth-grader Krista, went 1-2 in the 1,600 and 3,200 races. Kailee was also third and Krista fifth in the 800, and both ran on the second-place 4 x 800 relay team. Senior teammate Jessica Davis played a major role as well, winning the shot put and discus.

Other multiple-event winners included juniors Olivia Kee of Rose Hill Christian and Sandra Skinner of George Rogers Clark. Kee handily won both hurdle events, while Skinner swept the high jump, long jump and triple jump.

George Rogers Clark, one of the state’s rare Class 3A schools without a home track, won the boys division for the second time in three years. The Cardinals have never missed the Chattin Invitational and finished with 124.5 points to edge Coal Grove (121) for the top spot.

“We have so many kids that have parents and grandparents from Ashland and Boyd County, we always bring the team so their other cousins and other relatives get to see them participate,” GRC coach Dodd Dixon said. “We love coming here. Kevin (Stepp) and Phillip (Caudill) and Shawn (Thornsbury) all put on such a good meet.”

The Cardinals own three boys’ meet records from their many visits and always make a stop at Mr. Gatti’s before returning to Winchester.

Senior distance runners Grayson Brookshire and Ben Petrey combined for 56 points to lead GRC’s effort. They ran 1-2 in the 1,600 and 3,200 events. Brookshire also won the 800, with Petrey taking third. Each also ran on a relay team that placed second.

In the final event, GRC’s 4 x 400 team of Brookshire, Brandon Burris, Aaron Barnett and Logan Burchett finished second behind East Carter to wrap up the team title. Coal Grove was third in the race.                    

Messer spearheaded Raceland to the third-place trophy with 103 points. Raceland also took home the award for the school with the most combined points.

Along with his pole vaulting, Messer won the 110 hurdles (16.14) and triple jump (40-9) on the way to a stellar 38-point day. Ordinarily, his meet-tying record of 6 feet, 6 inches in the high jump would have been good enough for another first place, but Messer had to settle for second because Coal Grove’s Brandon Adkins also went 6-6 with fewer misses.

“I’m really happy, even though I would like to have won the high jump,” Messer said. “Me and the Coal Grove kid had a pretty good battle going.”

Raceland’s Alec Risner threw a career-best of 121 feet, 1 inch in the shot put for second place behind Coal Grove’s Austen Pleasants (126-01).

Fourth-place Ashland’s boys had a big day in the sprints despite an early disappointment when Quinton Baker was disqualified for a false start in the 100. But teammate Jake Long won the race (11.55).  

Baker came back to smash a meet record in the 200, crossing the line in 22.10 seconds. The old mark was 22.61.

“Quinton is improving every day,” Stepp said. “With spring football and other distractions for a kid his age, he has a lot going on. He starts the meet with a DQ, which was a great learning opportunity, and comes with a meet record.”

Baker, Long, Miles McGranahan and Connor Fannin added a victory in the 4 x 100. McGranahan and Fannin also helped the Tomcats to third in the 4 x 200, behind West Carter and Coal Grove.

In addition, Baker and Long claimed the top two spots in the long jump.

Boyd County’s unbeaten boys team and strong girls squad sent only a few athletes from their regular lineups to the meet because of the school prom.   

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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