Kentucky’s recognized No. 1 senior boys track and field athlete is likewise grateful to receive top billing locally.

Russell’s Scott Gill had plenty of competition for All-Area Athlete of the Year, much of it coming from his own team. Senior Nathan Armstrong was the top hurdler in Class 2A, dominating the 110-meter high hurdles at the State Meet.

“Anywhere he would have been, any other team, Nathan would have been the star athlete,’’ Gill said. “He’s very athletic, the type you want to build your team around. Russell just got blessed this year to have two of them.’’

With Gill and Armstrong leading the way, Russell won a stack of meet titles and finished third at the State Meet in Lexington.

“It takes a lot of teamwork and we had a lot of fun together,’’ Gill said.

Russell had seven athletes earn spots on the All-Area first team, based on performances through regional competition. All-Area Coach of the Year Alice Leigh called it a privilege to coach a team with two marquee athletes leading the way.

"It’s very rare to have two as outstanding as Scott and Nathan,’’ Leigh said. “It sure makes coaching a lot easier.’’

Gill finished state runner-up in the long jump, 200 meters and high jump to go with a fourth place in the 400 meters. He broke two school records in the process.

Armstrong was headed for a hurdle sweep at the State Meet before hitting a hurdle in the 300s and leaving his lane, leading to a disqualification. He finished fourth in the high jump and helped Russell’s 1,600 relay team to seventh place.

Other Russell athletes on the All-Area first team include pole-vaulter Zach Virgin and 3,200-meter relay runners Tyler Cooksey, Steven Grimes, Corey Smith and Carter Couchot.

Fairview junior Shawn Williams posted a faster 200-meter time than Gill during the season and also had the area’s top time in the 100.

“Shawn’s a very good athlete,’’ Gill said. “He was second to me a lot this season. I look for him to be the front-runner for athlete of the year next year.’’

Another candidate figures to be Boyd County’s Justin Selby, strong in both the discus and shot put.

Lawrence County ruled the relay events. Richard Thomas, Mark Fitzpatrick, Timmy Cantrell and Robert Butcher finished third and fifth in the 800 and 400 relays, respectively. Cantrell and Thomas were also part of the area’s top 1,600 relay team.

Boyd County’s Bo Thompson (3,200), East Carter’s Tyler McClain (1,600) and Rowan County’s Patrick Fouch (800) led the way in their events.

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

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