Admirals prep for Clash of Classes at Bardstown

Published 11:00 pm Friday, April 12, 2019

One of the premier midseason track and field competitions takes place Saturday in Bardstown.

Danville, Mercer County, Burgin and Casey County highlight the area competitors at the Clash of Classes, where more than 700 athletes and 20 teams will compete.

“The original idea was to get some of the top teams from each class to come have a mid-season test to see where you are,” Danville head coach Chris Verhoven said. “Early parts of the track season is just testing the waters, tweak different things. I’m sure all sports have a version of it, but it seems like in our sport we don’t really throw things together until the last three weeks. But this event really brings out the best, people want to put together their A-team most of the time.”

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The Admirals help Bardstown host the event, which is in its eighth year. Class 2A is the most well-represented at the event with 11 teams, with 1A (seven teams) and 3A (six teams) just behind.

Each class has some of its best performers set to compete, Verhoven said.

“It’s the whole mentality, a tougher schedule makes you tougher,” he said. “Then it doesn’t discourage 3A teams, they’re still getting tested against the top talent and not running against the same 10 teams every week. There’s loads of top 10 teams in every class.”

That mentality served the Admirals well last year: There aren’t many events that Danville could attend where it was competing against teams and schools of similar size.

But when Danville did compete against its own class, it dominated. The Admirals rolled their region on the boys side and carried that momentum to their first state title in 28 years.

“Last year, we didn’t win a whole lot of meets,” Verhoven said. “Then we go to region and we win 14 out of 15 events we competed in, doubled second place and won at state. It’s not like going against those bigger schools during the season hurts you, I fully believe it made us stronger.”

Danville won’t be at 100 percent this weekend thanks to a soccer tournament, but Verhoven said he likes what he’s seen so far from his squad.

“We’re still trying to figure things out, and I wish I could say we’re at full force but there’s a soccer tournament that will prevent Alec McAlister, Ethan Redmond, Sam Brunner from being there this weekend,” he said. “We’ve got backups, nobody will feel bad for us but we are stronger when we can put them in spots and still fill gaps on relays. I’m feeling good about our team. I have to look at the big picture, we’ll be competing against bigger schools all season long in preparation for our region and our class.”

Verhoven gave the example of Brennan McGuire, who will be in contention for the 100 meter dash title at the 1A state meet. But at Clash of Classes, McGuire is ranked 11th.

“That just shows you how much talent will be there,” Verhoven said.