|PHOTO: Bob Jackson. The Highlands two-mile relay team finished fourth in the Class AA state meet Friday. From left are seventh-grader Maggie Schroeder, junior Chloe Gastright, sophomore Karsen Hunter and senior Molly Mearns.|
For the Highlands Ladybirds track and field squad, it marked the highest finish since the last of four straight state championships in 2011. The Bluebirds did not come close to winning another state championship, but they still finished fifth with 43.7 points Friday at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The Ladybirds ended up finishing second in the Class AA state meet with 67 points. Boyle County won it with 88 points capturing both hurdle championships and collecting 18 points in the long jump and triple jump.
"After a sixth-place finish, I'm really happy with (runner-up)," said Brian Alessandro, Ladybird Head Coach. "We ran really well, especially in some of the relays and individual events. They improved a lot so I'm very proud of them."
The Mercer County Titans won the male Class AA state championship with 74 points. They edged the state-power Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado by three points. Tilghman hoped to win its 30th state championship. Highlands won the crown two years ago and finished a point behind Tilghman last year.
Highlands senior Mikayla Reichert expected to have a big day and came through. She won the discus throwing it 37 feet, two inches and the discus at 125-3. The Univeristy of Kentucky signee edged out Elizabethtown senior Ngozi Akukwe by one foot and an inch.
The boys' team finished fourth.
The Bluebirds picked up some points in the shot put when senior Tyler Robinson tossed a 49-11.75 to grab third for six points.
Highlands juniors Jake Hoarston and Jared Pulsfort placed in two events. Hoarston finished fifth in both the 300-meter hurdles in 41.72 seconds and the 110 hurdles in 16.11. Pulsfort took fifth in the 400 dash in 50.77 and earned .75 points in the high jump reaching the 5-10 mark.
The Ladybirds had one other placer in the field events. Senior Rosemanie Long took fifth in the triple jump going 33-7.75.
They also saw one place in the 110 hurdles. Senior Kylie Schuerman took fifth in 16.88 seconds.
Both teams scored in the relay events. The Ladybird team of senior Molly Mearns, juniors Beth Ann Griffith, Sydney Ossege and Sophie Steppe took third in the mile relay in 4:11.73 as did the 800-meter relay team of Griffith, Steppe, Sydney Ossege and freshman Hannah Hartman in 1:47.52. Steppe took fourth in the 400 dash in 1:00.13.
The Ladybird two-mile and 400 relay teams also placed. The two-mile relay team of Mearns, junior Chloe Gastright, sophomore Karsen Hunter and seventh-grader Maggie Schroeder took fourth in 10:02.86 and the 400 relay team of Long, Sydney Ossege, Schuerman and junior Addie Parris took fifth in 50.9.
The Bluebirds saw two relay teams score. The 400 relay team of Hoarston, seniors Nick Kendall, Ben Ziegler and junior Carter Burke take fourth in 43.81 seconds and the 800 relay team of Burke, Kendall, Pulsfort and sophomore Nick Veneman took fourth in 1:31.71. Kendall took fourth in the 200 dash in 22.92 seconds.
Both teams earned points in the distance events. Senior Geoffrey Mearns took fourth in the two-mile run in 10:01.34 and Gastright took fifth in 12:04.96. In the 800, junior Kevin Kreutzer took fifth in 2:01.7 and Mearns took fifth in 2:24.92.
Both Ladybirds placed in the mile run. Lauren Ossege took fifth in 5:35.41 and Schroeder finished eighth in 5:39.72.