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By G. Michael Graham
The Highlands boys ran away for the Class 2A, Region 4 crown with 168 points more than doubling runner-up the 76 points from runner-up Western Hills at Bourbon County.
But the Highlands girls could not pull off a 10th region title in 11 seasons. The Bluebirds scored 114 points and the hosts won it with 141 points. The top two finishers in each event qualified for state with the next 10 best times qualifying for at-large spots.
"We ran well. The times were good," said Brian Alessandro, Highlands Girls Track and Field Head Coach. "It was probably the best meet we put together. Bourbon has a good team. But nine out of 11 isn't too bad."
|2000 Memorial Pkwy.|
Highlands senior Jake Welch led the way scoring 26 points individually. Welch won the 400 meter dash in 50.23 seconds and the 200 in 22.66 seconds. Welch also finished third in the 100 dash in 11.21 seconds.
"The constant speed training I do all year really paid off," Welch said. "It helped me set new personal records in almost all my events. It's about remaining calm, relaxed and letting all the training I do take over. It goes back to what I do best and that's going fast."
Welch helped the mile relay team win in 3:31.68 along with junior Thomas Gray-Torsell, senior Will Griffith and Nevels. Gray-Torsell and Griffith finished first and second respectively in the 800. Gray-Torsell ran a 2:01.63 and Griffith finished under a second behind at 2:02.42.
Welch also helped the 800 relay team finish second in one minute, 33.15 seconds. The other teammates were junior Jake Dedeker, sophomore Aiden Nevels and freshman Ben Hack.
Senior Isaac Surrey won three events. He won the long jump at 21 feet, 5.5 inches setting a new school record and triple jump at 41-9.5 in addition to the high jump at 5-11.
Surrey also helped the 400 relay team finish second in 44.76. His teammates were senior Jake Fahlbusch along with juniors Jake Dedeker and George King.
Senior Harrison Pawsat won two events. He took the shot put at 52-5.5 and the discus at 145-7.
Griffith and Gray-Torsell helped the two-mile relay team win in 8:22.82. The other two runners were senior Jack Banks and sophomore Alex Lacourt.
The Highlands girls had just one first-place finish. Freshman Laney Smith won the 400 in 59.58 seconds.
The two-mile relay team finished second in 10:14.65. The team consisted of Alyssa Harris, senior Maggie Schroeder, eighth grader Adrienne Harris and seventh grader Franny Smith.
The 800 relay team also finished second in 1:51.89. The team consisted of senior Jordan Stuempel, juniors Sarah Thurnauer, Emmie Brewer and sophomore Haley Zell.
Highlands senior Isabel Bankemper finished second in the 100 hurdles in 17.94 seconds. Schroeder placed in some events. Schroeder finished second in the two-mile in 11:46.46 and third in the mile run in 5:25.26.
Highlands sophomore Rylee Swope finished second in two field events. She threw a 32-foot even in the shot put and 94-01 in the discus.
Highlands has 10 days to prepare for the Class 2A state meet at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Complex. It starts at 10 a.m. on June 11.