GREENVILLE – Cory Westerfield isn’t sure how long it has been since Marshall County won a region track championship.
Starting now, maybe it will be a little easier to remember.
It was in 2013.
The Lady Marshals became Region 1-AAA champions, and the Marshals took the runner-up spot in boys competition, at the region meet Friday at Muhlenberg County High School.
“We’ve been runner up many times, but we think it may have been 30 years since we won a regional,” said an elated Westerfield, coach of the girls squad. “We had finished second three out of the last four years to Owensboro, and this year we finally turned the corner and beat them.”
Marshall County, with gold-medal performances by Alyssa Barnard, Stephanie Russell, Lexie Myers and Devan Doss, outpointed the Red Devils 132-108 in a two-team battle.
Henderson County was third at 74 points.
Senior runner Ryan Wells claimed three gold medals as the Marshals took second behind Daviess County.
Wells won the 100 and 200, both victories by fractions of a second over Zack Main of Owensboro, and was part of the 4 x 100 relay team, which set a school record with a 43.39-second time in winning that event.
“They had perfect handoffs and every leg just torched the track,” Westerfield said of the foursome’s performance.
Barnard, Russell and Doug Reed each took two first-place awards. Barnard won in the 400 meter dash and Russell captured the pole vault, and both were members of the 4 x 400 relay team. Reed won the 300 hurdles and was also part of the 4 x 100 team, along with Wells, Nathan Solomon and Noah Steele.
Marshall County will send 20 athletes to the state finals Saturday at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park, 11 boys and nine girls.
The Marshals were second to Daviess County, which won by a 125-82 margin. Apollo was third at 74.
“We had a couple of things go our way and our girls really rose to the occasion, running great times in terrible weather conditions,” Westerfield said. “I joke with them all the time that we are ‘mudders.’ We have always seemed to respond well to adverse conditions and didn’t let the rain bother us.”
Wins by the MCHS contingent included:
n Alyssa Barnard, 400 meter dash, 1 minute, 0.62 seconds – defeated Tameka Alexander of Christian County by a tenth of a second.
n Stephanie Russell, 100 hurdles (she was also second in the 300 hurdles).
n Lexie Myers, Stephanie Russell, Melissa Ross, Alyssa Barnard, 4x400 relay, 4 minutes, 17.24 seconds.
n Devan Doss, pole vault, 10 feet even
Doss was disappointed to finish her effort well short of her personal best of 10-7, but her best vault was a foot higher than runner-up Shelby Lewis of Apollo.
“She didn’t vault as well as she wanted to at the regional, but one thing we talked about was that we just wanted to make sure we won here and vault our best at the state meet next weekend,” Westerfield said.
For the Marshals, winners included:
n Ryan Wells, 100 dash, 11.09 seconds – defeated Zack Main of Owensboro by two hundredths of a second (11.11).
n Ryan Wells, 200 dash, 22.94 – defeated Zack Main by three hundredths of a second (22.97).
n Doug Reed, 300 hurdles, 41.13 – defeated Aaron Brzowski of Daviess County (41.14) by one hundredth of a second.
n Nathan Solomon, Noah Steele, Doug Reed, Ryan Wells, 4x100, school-record 43.99 – close victory over Daviess County (44.23)
n Skyler Van Meter, high jump, 6-4 – short of personal best and school record 6-8 but four inches better than Cameron Luster of Madisonville.
“Ryan Wells continued the steady dropping of time that he has produced all season,” Westerfield said. “The 100 and 200 were simply awesome to watch! The 100 was an absolute battle and Ryan pulled ahead right at the end.
“The best part of Ryan’s race was those last 20 meters and it was awesome to see the joy on his face when he realized he had won.”
Second-place efforts were logged by five Lady Marshal individuals – Barnard, Russell, Kara Kelley, Sydney Goff and Kaylin Spiker and the 4 x 100 relay team of Goff, Kelley, Doss and Melissa Ross
Cody Gregory was silver medalist in the pole vault.
Bronze medals went to Ross as an individual and the 4 x 200 relay team of Kelley, Goff, Ross and Lexie Myers.
For the Marshals, third-place finishes went to Reed as an individual and to the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relay teams. Solomon, Robert Blankenship, Reed and Wells were on the 400 unit, while Collin Gunn, Dax Parker, Hunter Hillman and Blankenship were the 800 quartet.
The Marshal contingent to the state meet will include the following athletes:
n Girls: Stephanie Russell, Sydney Goff, Kaylin Spiker, Melissa Ross, Alyssa Barnard, Lexie Myers, Devan Doss, Kara Kelley, Michaela Manley.
n Boys: Dax Parker, Collin Gunn, Hunter Hillmann, Robert Blankenship, Ryan Wells, Doug Reed, Noah Steele, Nathan Solomon, Tanner Pollard, Cody Gregory, Skyler Van Meter
Doss goes to Louisville as the state’s third-ranked pole vaulter. Westerfield is optimistic about the prospects of Barnard, Spiker and the relay teams.
Among the boys, Van Meter is seeded with a jump of 6-4, but he is currently ranked first in the state with the school-record 6-8 effort he had at the Twilight Relays. He is also ranked first nationally among sophomores, along with seven others who have reached that height.
Gregory, who vaulted 13-3 in the Twilight Relays, is ranked second in the state.
“Both of these guys will have an excellent chance of coming home with a title,” Westerfield said.