Twenty athletes will represent Marshall County in the Kentucky State Track Meet at the University of Kentucky’s Shively Track Complex Friday and Saturday.
Two of them won medals in last year’s state.
Senior Devan Doss (pole vault) and junior Skyler Van Meter (high jump) both took third-place medals in last year’s state meet.
Others going to Lexington include 11 Lady Marshals:
• Alyssa Barnard (400)
• Michaela Manley (high jump)
• Sydney Goff (100 hurdles)
• Stephanie Russell (100 and 300 hurdles)
• Barnard, Goff, Lexie Myers and Melissa Ross (4x400 relay)
• Barnard, Goff, Myers and Kara Kelley (4x200 relay)
• Sydney Nelson (shot put)
• Amber Crawford and Kaylin Spiker (discus)
Also, eight other members of the Marshals squad:
• Jacob Carnine (800)
• Nathan Solomon (200)
• Casey Gregory (pole vault)
• Carnine, Rob Blankenship, Dax Parker and Collin Gunn (4x800 relay)
• Blankenship, Solomon, Blaine Skeen and Cole Barnard (4x400 relay)
Cody Gregory, the highest finisher for MCHS in last year’s state meet, missed his senior season because of a knee injury suffered during football season.
Gregory finished second in the pole vault last year.
All earned the right to advance by their performances in the rain-delayed Region 1-AAA meet at Greenville, either by their finishing position or by their performance as measured against state standards for each event.
The Lady Marshals, defending region champions, finished second to Owensboro, while the boys were fourth behind Apollo, Daviess County and Madisonville-North Hopkins.
“I was very happy with the girls performance” in the regional meet, coach Cory Westerfield said.
He felt the Lady Marshals had a shot at repeating their region title, but said, “I knew that Owensboro was strong this year in several areas.”
Westerfield was pleased that Marshall County managed to claim second place by a single point over Hopkinsville.
“I’m going to be honest, I took a lot of joy in that,” Westerfield said.
“They had been beating us by the slimmest of margins all year, and we finally turned it around on them when it counted the most.”
Second place in team standings was achieved despite the lack of any individual event victories.
“We competed extremely well in every event and scored in everything but just a few events,” Westerfield said.
The Marshals 4x800 relay team got the only event victory of the regionals.
Boys coach Jared Rosa underscored Westerfield’s comments about consistent competitiveness.
“While the sport is individualized, it still works toward a common goal of accumulating points and scoring for your team,” Rosa said.
“At regional, everyone wants one of those first- or second-place bids to state, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that if you have someone finish fourth or fifth, you are still scoring points for your team and essentially taking points away from someone else.
“It is like a constant chess match putting athletes in the best possible positon to be successful as well as help the team, but it is fun trying to figure out.”
Rosa has high expectations for the MCHS athletes this weekend.
“I beleive that all of who qualified for state for the boys will compete up there and do well,” he said. “I just want them to keep improving their times and marks from this point.”
“This group of kids is very competitive and doesn’t like to lose or feel like they didn’t compete well.,” he said. “Often times you can’t teach that, but hopefully it’ll breed that same feeling in the program as we go on.”
He also praised the performances of athletes in some of the field events.
“I can’t say enough about our throwers this year.,” Westerfield said.
“As well as we have been able to do running, we would not have been where we were in several meets this year if had not been for our throwers (Sydney Nelson, Amber Crawford, Morgan Edwards, and Kaylin Spiker). “They routinely brought in tons of points for us every meet. I give a lot of credit to them for carrying us at several meets this year.”
Westerfield passed along credit to coach Nathan Bazzell and volunteer coach Zach Leible.
“They have had [the throwers] in the weight room, working on technique, and so on,” Westerfield said. “They have done an outstanding job with them.”