Fairview’s Paige McKnight is known for jumping hurdles. She cleared a pretty big one on Thursday.
In front of friends and family at Fairview Elementary School, McKnight signed a letter of intent to run track for Georgetown College.
And with her final high school meet starting Saturday — the KHSAA Track and Field State Championships — McKnight was happy to get this milestone out of the way.
“It’s such a relief,” McKnight said. "It was such a hard decision and it took me a while to decide where I wanted to go. Now that I know, it feels better.”
Other colleges that McKnight expressed interest in were Xavier and Eastern Kentucky.
What swayed the hurdler to Georgetown was not only their success on the track, but the academics offered — she aspires to be a middle school teacher.
“It was the best situation for me academically and athletically,” McKnight said. “They have a really good education program there.”
For Georgetown track and field coach Dallas Robinson, that statement was music to his ears.
“It doesn’t matter how good the athlete is, if they don’t get the work done in the classroom they won’t get on the track,” Robinson said. “Other than some memories with track, that degree is the only thing that matters.”
While McKnight has one of the best 100-meter hurdles times in the state, she didn’t get many looks from Division I schools.
Robinson can relate because he was in that same situation when he was in high school in Kentucky.
In fact, Robinson first became acquainted with McKnight from his college coach at Eastern Kentucky — current Fairview girls track and field coach Bob Stacey.
“I saw her times and I understand what it’s like to be a good athlete in the state of Kentucky,” Robinson said. “Coach Stacey and I stay in communication and he brought her to my attention. It’s my first year at Georgetown and I was really excited to build a program where I hand-select the people that come in.”
McKnight's personal-best time in the 100 hurdles is 15.04.
McKnight credits Stacey’s coaching for making her stronger.
“We did a lot lifting this year and that helped,” McKnight said. “We also had harder workouts, and it helps that coach Stacey’s specialty is hurdles.”
And when asked how McKnight will transfer her talents to the college levels, Stacey said she will be just fine.
“The technique is there,” Stacey said. “Her technique is where it needs to be, and she’ll get stronger and faster. I know Dallas is a weight man, and I thought Georgetown would be a good fit for her.”
But before she focuses on her future, she has one more meet with her teammates left — the state championships in Louisville.
And while Robinson doesn’t have a “horse” in the field, he’s confident in his new signee.
“She would be a crowd-favorite,” Robinson said. “I think it would 1-1 odds, and I’m really excited about it. I am excited to see her possibly win a state championship.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2658.