Boyle County sweeps Heart of the Bluegrass

Published 6:42 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

HARRODSBURG — For the first time in school history, Boyle County earned two first-place trophies at Heart of the Bluegrass.

It’s one of the premier track and field meets in the area, and the Rebels had resounding success across their boys and girls teams.

“It was a really great meet,” head coach Brent Wagner said. “We talked about it beforehand, boys had a chance to win and girls, we didn’t have everybody here but we might have a shot to get a trophy as well. It just happened, we all pulled together and won two trophies today. It’s the first time in school history that we have ever won boys and girls at Heart of the Bluegrass. This is a big deal, Heart of the Bluegrass is huge. It’s been going on since I can remember.”

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The Rebels started as they finished on the boys side: Boyle won the first event of the day — the 4×800 meter relay — and the last, the 4×400 meter relay.

Boyle boys won every relay of the event, using 10 athletes across the four relays: Malik Allahham, Trey Gilliland, Ezekiel Harless, Jackson Cox, Reese Smith, Peter Shipley, Landen Bartleson, Chris Duffy, Marquise Kinley and Grayson Rahbany.

Kinley’s day was particularly special: He set the school record — twice — in the long jump, placing second behind Frederick Douglass’ Christian Lewis.

Kinley cleared 23 feet, 2 inches on his final jump — nearly a foot further than his previous jump, and more than a foot past his previous personal record and school record.

“It was all about learning lessons. Him and the guy from Frederick Douglass were battling back and forth,” Wagner said. “What I love about it more than anything, yes the jumps were huge, but the fact that he performed under pressure. We’re all about the road to May, and for him to experience that atmosphere, that experience, that jump, that moment, for him to perform is huge. Pressure situation and he came through. He crushed his leg of the 4×1, did well in the triple as well.”

The Rebels had those “pressure situations” everywhere on Saturday, and they delivered nearly across the board: Boyle boys scored points in every event but three: 400 meter dash, mile and shot put.

What might be even scarier: Wagner said he’s still searching for the right blend of athletes on every relay. Sophomore sprinter Landen Bartleson — the reigning 2A 100 meter dash champion — didn’t run in the boys’ 4×100 relay that placed first.

The Rebels placed first with 138.50 points, beating second-place Frederick Douglass by 34.5 points.

“We won all of the boys relays. That’s a team thing, that’s huge,” Wagner said. “We’re very versatile, we haven’t figured out where we should place everybody yet and we’re trying to figure out what we can do, maximize the points for the team. Maybe we can get eight here, eight and two somewhere else. It’s all about a math game. We’re not 100 percent sure where we’re placing everybody yet, but it’s good to know what we have. Mercer, they’re the two-time defending state champions. They’ll be in the hunt. They’re favorites till somebody kicks them off.”

On the girls side, Mercer gave the Boyle girls an incredible run to the finish. Boyle won with 115 points while Mercer was just out of reach at 103.

Both teams were missing athletes — Mercer head coach Terry Yeast said his girls were missing seven athletes — but both showed their class at the meet.

Ally Anderson might’ve had the most impressive weekend on the girls side: On Friday, she ran an 11:26 at the prestigious Eastern Relays in Louisville, breaking her own school record by 13 seconds. The previous record was set at state last year, where she placed third.

On Saturday, she started the day with a second-place finish in the 4×800 relay with teammates Summer Allahham, Amelia Fogle and Addison Hensley. She finished it with a fifth-place finish in the 4×400 relay with teammates Daneezia Patton, Chelsea Elmore and Payton Bugg.

“It was all about a team effort, because every point matters,” Wagner said. “Ally goes out and runs her best time ever in the 2-mile last night, runs the 4×8 at the beginning of the meet and then we tell her, ‘hey, we need you for the 4×4.’ She says ‘OK!’ Nothing about her legs being tired, she was just extremely excited to do that for us. It was a team effort, every point counts. Some score more than others but at the end of the day, it says Boyle County track and field on the trophy.”

Similar to the boys team, Boyle girls scored points in all but four events on Saturday, including a sweep at pole vault. Boyle boys placed first and second — Derek Bernard (13 feet) and Gary Wood (12 feet, 6 inches), while Boyle girls were first, second and third — Ashley Smith (8 feet, 6 inches), Ashton Cox (8 feet), and Sarah Burns (7 feet, 6 inches).