LEXINGTON Thursday’s Class A state track meet was not a fraught-with-peril event.
It was, however, Perry-lous.
Morgan County senior Kailee Perry finished her high school career at the University of Kentucky just about the best way she could — she won the 1,600-meter run by nearly 19 seconds over Williamsburg’s Selena Mattingly and the 800 by seven seconds over Walton-Verona’s Ashley Akins.
And younger sister Krista Perry? Near-hurdling sovereignty — she won the 100 by nearly a second over Dayton’s Johnessah Barbiea and claimed second in the 300, finishing nearly a second behind Beechwood’s Caroline Schilling.
The English new wave band A Flock of Seagulls released “I Ran (So Far Away)” in 1982. The tune could describe what Kailee Perry did to most of her opponents. She took early leads and claimed five Class A state titles altogether — the 800 and 1,600 the past two seasons and a cross country crown in 2016.
A few seconds after Kailee won the 800, she looked heavenward and smiled.
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “ … I’m gonna miss it a lot.”
The way Kailee Perry saw it, Thursday’s 70 degrees and rain was a whole lot better than earlier predictions of 90s and humid.
“I was happy,” she said. “This is perfect conditions for me, even a little drizzle.”
Kailee Perry said the anemia that has plagued her all year let up a little — she ran the opening leg of the 4x400 relay instead of the 3,200. She was in the middle of the pack for about 200 meters of the 1,600 and didn’t take the lead for good until about 400 meters in.
“After the first lap, I started to feel good, and I wanted to take the lead,” she said of the 1,600. “ … It’s my favorite, and I tend to, like, even with long distance, add some speed in there.”
Krista Perry won the 100 hurdles, but she said Thursday was not her best race.
“I hit a few of the hurdles,” she said. “I hit two of ’em, I think. I’m overall happy with how I ran. … I was lower on the hurdles, I think, and then I didn’t bring my (right) trail leg high enough.”
In the 300, Krista Perry said Schilling pulled away in the last 50 meters. “My legs were just dead,” she said. “When I started, my legs were tight; I just couldn’t get ’em loose.”
You maybe could’ve heard Bath County senior Madelyne English’s scream at Kroger Field — yelling really loud is what English does every throw in the discus and shot put.
Thursday, after her final discus toss, she bellowed, put her hands on her head, waited, and slumped her shoulders in disappointment. Her 113-foot, 9-inch toss on her third of six throws was not good enough. She finished second to Murray’s Keagin Brooks (114-07).
Raceland’s Gunnur Lewis took silver in the 110 and 300 hurdles. In the 110, his time of 15.38 seconds was 17-hundredths slower than Bishop Brossart’s Jordan Moore’s 15.21, and he finished nearly a second behind Moore in the 300.
“Best time of the year,” Lewis said of his 110 finish. “Second’s good, but first would’ve been a little bit better.”
Raceland boys coach Randy Helton said it looked like Lewis was ahead most of the way in the 100. Regardless, he could not have been more pleased.
“I think it was very impressive by Gunnur Lewis considering this is the first year he’s ever done hurdles,” Helton said. “The first time he ran this year (was a) 17.9, and to go from that to 15.38’s pretty impressive.”
Lewis joined Derek Pennington, Ethan Cox and Drew Bailey to place second in the 4x100 relay. The 43.68-second clocking broke their school record by about half a second.
“I think this is the best sprint relay group I’ve ever had in my 11 years as a coach, by far,” Helton said.
Cox finished fourth in the 100 dash and sixth in the 200 dash, and Lewis was fifth — and just five-hundredths of a second ahead of Cox — in the 200.
Among the relays, the boys 4x100 relay was the closest. Fort Knox’s (43.62 seconds) Xavier Rodriguez nosed out Bailey by six-hundredths of a second. Bailey thought about going airborne at the finish line but didn’t.
“I saw (Rodriguez) creepin’ up ot of the corner of my eye,” Bailey said. “ … I guess it just feels weird to dive.”
‘Just as dedicated’
Bath County’s Amelia Oldfield finished third in the 400 dash (1:00.83), and West Carter’s Christian Rivers grabbed bronze in the long jump (20-2½). Menifee County’s Emma Hacker finished fourth in the long jump (15-9¾).
West Carter’s quartet of Leetavious Cline, Trace Harper, Joshua Hicks and Rivers finished fourth in the 4x100 (44.70) a whole lot better than not medaling last year because of a blown exchange. To Hicks, having two Region 7 teams proved you don’t have to be from Lexington, Louisville or Owensboro to run well.
“We’re just as dedicated as any teams that come from there,” Hicks said.
Happiness times two
Yes, Beechwood’s girls won the team title, and Louisville Holy Cross claimed the boys crown. It didn’t really matter much to Helton or Morgan County coach Amber Day — not when the Lady Cougars finished fifth with 41 points and the Ram boys were sixth with 36.
Helton and the Rams could thus forget about finishing 28th last year. Helton’s ebullience so overflowed, he playfully called Lewis a “specimen.”
“Specimen?” Lewis said. “I guess so; whatever Coach says, goes.”
Day said as far as she knew, placing fifth was the best Morgan County has ever done as a team.
“We had five events that we had athletes in,” Day said. “Five in 18 events, and we came out fifth place. I’m very, very pleased.”