For The Independent
Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug.
It is a saying that proved to be all too true for Rowan County on Friday night at the KHSAA Class 2A State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Unfortunately, the Vikings know all too well what it is like to be the bug.
A week after losing star sprinter Isaac Lee to a leg injury in the 300-meter hurdles at the regional meet, Rowan County took another hit when senior jumper Jalen Stone severely hurt his ankle during the triple jump. The injury forced him to withdraw from the State Meet before he had a chance to compete in several events, including the 4x200-meter relay in which the Vikings were the top-seeded team.
“This wasn’t the image I had of this meet after last weekend,” Rowan County coach Roy Wright said. “Sometimes that’s just the way life goes. I feel bad for Jalen and Isaac, because they worked hard all year, and really deserved to be here and compete at full strength. If we had both of them, we really could have had a tremendous meet, maybe the best we’ve had in several years.”
It was not all bad for Rowan County. Junior Laney Stone finished second in the high jump, senior Zack Kelsey cleared 13 feet for the second straight weekend and junior Shelley Deharte placed eighth in both the 800 and 1600-meter runs. Those results helped Rowan County score 15 points and finish in a tie for 16th in the final team standings.
The meet proved to be a bit of a coming out party for Ashland sprinter Quinton Baker. The freshman finished third in the 200-meter dash and sixth in the 100-meter dash. He missed out on second place in the longer distance by just two one-hundredths of a second.
“We knew our best chance to score points at the meet was Quinton and he didn’t disappoint,” Ashland coach Kevin Stepp said. “He’s such an untapped talent, it’s just a joy to work with him.”
East Carter picked up points in the 4x800-meter relay as the quartet of Alex and Ben Napier, Brandon Neace and Dustin Sexton finished fourth in the event, just 15-hundredths of a second behind Mason County — the team which won last weekend’s regional meet by nearly two and a half seconds.
Lady Raider senior Shayla Henderson also had a strong day, placing eighth in both the long jump and in the high jump.
A week after becoming ill after completing his first event at the regionals, Lewis County junior Tanner Barton bounced back to finish as the runner up in the 400-meter dash for the second straight year.
Russell’s Emily Hanson scored for the Lady Devils by placing third in the 800m. Boyd County’s Jessica Adams claimed eighth in the 100m, despite being seeded 23rd entering the event. Her teammate and classmate Morgan Kenser just missed a spot on the podium by finishing ninth in the shot put.
Rowan County’s boys paced the area schools with their 16th-place team finish. Ashland scored nine points to claim 24th, while Lewis County followed with eight points to tie for 28th and East Carter tallied five to tie for 34th.
Russell led the area girls’ teams with six points, earning 31st. East Carter scored 1.25 points and finished 40th, while Boyd County’s lone point placed the Lady Lions in 41st.