- Special Sections
- Public Notices
UPDATED INFORMATION: Anderson's Devin Davenport's third place finish in the regional meet was good enough for a wild card berth in the state finals. Davenport jumped 41-11 at the regional.
Sprinter Cody Dixon also made the state in the 100-meter dash. Dixon finished fourth at the region but his 11.34 time was still good enough to make the state.
Anderson competitors in the pole vault, high jump and triple jump will all compete Friday, May 30 at 6 p.m. at the University of Louisville. The 100-meter dash preliminary heats are set for 7:10 Friday with the boys' 400-meter dash scheduled for 7:55 p.m.
The 100-meter dash finals are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Saturday, May 31 with the 400-meter dash final scheduled for 6:50. The discus throw finals scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
LEXINGTON - As he watched the events unfold during last Tuesday's Class AAA, Region 5 track meet, Anderson County track coach Travis Gay could only produce a wistful smile that indicated the mixed emotions that have accompanied the remarkable rebuilding job he has done with the Anderson program.
Anderson's boys would eventually finish fourth in the team scoring. Four Bearcats qualified for this week's state meet, the largest number in recent memory. Jordan Sloan became Anderson's first regional champion since Ryan Morgan won the 800-meter run in 2004. Anderson proved it belonged, finishing ahead of several established powers.
There were plenty of reasons to be happy.
"By far, it was our best performance at the region," Gay would say the next day. Gay was referring to his 3-year tenure, but the statement could be applied to the post-Randy Crist era. A one-time state power under the hall of fame coach, Anderson had not had more than 3 state qualifiers in a single year in over a decade.
Gay, however, has emphasized personal improvement with the belief that will take care of placings and records. "We had several personal records and broke two school records," he said.
Senior Devin Davenport shaved more than a second off Jared Graves' school mark in the 400-meter dash with a 50.59 performance. John Updike's effort in the discus throw revised school history, besting D.K. Duvall's record of 32 years. Duvall set the mark with a 136-10 throw that won the state Class A meet in 1976.
Ironically, Davenport just barely got in, holding off Henry Clay's Blake Green at the finish. Both finished at 50.59, but Davenport leaned just enough to be awarded first place. Brandon Nichols of Henry Clay won the event with a 49.68. "I knew he was there," Davenport said of Green. "I could see him out of the corner of my eye."
Davenport, an 8-time state qualifier in cross country, beamed as he talked about his first trip to the state track final. "There is a big difference in track and cross country," he said.
Updike was never in serious trouble of being eliminated after his first throw went for a personal best. He actually held the lead in the event for some time.
"135?" Updike could be heard asking the judges. When it was confirmed that the sophomore had beaten his personal best by 6 feet, he pumped his fists in exhiliration. As it turned out, that throw would have made the cut, but Updike went on, topping out at 137-6. Tates Creek's Samson Lam eventually beat Updike with a 138-9 throw.
"I thought his first throw might hold up," said Updike's father and Anderson throwing coach Lee Updike.
John Updike does not give the appearance of a typical behemoth discus thrower or shot putter. A basketball player in the winter, Updike uses his long arms and outstanding form to be one of Kentucky's better discus throwers. He will not be one of the favorites, however as several throwers from the Owensboro area are hitting between 170 and 180 feet.
Sloan continued his dominating performances in the high jump, winning at 6-feet. The sophomore's jump was 2 inches better than Tates Creek's Michael Stone.
"I felt real good out there," Sloan said.
With his win wrapped up, Sloan went to work early for the state, where he will run into Madisonville's Jon Hood. The University of Kentucky basketball recruit has tied Sloan for the state's best leap this year at 6-7. Sloan tried to clear 6-4 but was not successful.
However, he welcomes the challenge ahead of him. "There really aren't that many good jumpers out there, so this should be fun."
B.J. Robinson technically finished third in the pole vault but met the automatic qualifying standard of 12-6. Once he hit that height, it made no difference what anyone else did. He was in.
"I was glad that I got the qualifying height," Robinson said. "That made it easier to relax."
Robinson scratched twice at 12-6, while Brian Gettler of Dunbar missed just once. Kaleb Ellis of Madison Central won the meet with another 12-6 vault but did not miss.
The vault matched Robinson's career best, but he and Gay feel that he can go much higher. "We are going to try to get him a new pole," Gay said.
Robinson has a chance to do well, but the state's best in AAA this year has been a 14-0 vault from Henderson County's Adam Hobson. Hobson won his regional with a vault of 13-6.
"The key will be how B.J. handles his new pole," Gay said.
But in sports there are always the what-might-have-beens. A good day might have been great. With only the top two finishers in an event advancing to the state finals, Anderson had near misses with third place finishes in four events. Davenport missed qualifying in the triple jump by 8 inches, while the boys' 4-400-meter relay team of Matt Calvert, Davenport, Cody Dixon and Jayson Barnes placed third.
On the girls' side, Madison Carter ran the 200-meters in 27.50, just .15 second away from qualifying. Sabrina Shelton was third in the 100-meter hurdles.
Two wild cards, the top two performances state-wide that did not qualify in regional action, are invited to the state meet. Gay was hoping that at least some of his third place finishers would still advance, but would not know until after Memorial Day press deadlines.
Any wild-card qualifiers and the times of their competition at the state will be posted at www.theandersonnews.com.