STATE TRACK: Eight not enough for Bearcats

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Team seeks more points, qualifiers in future

By John Herndon

LOUISVILLE – Sunday's papers had no headlines about Anderson County's performance in the Class 3A state track meet Saturday.


Few outside Lawrenceburg would see much news worthiness in a girls' team being shut out in the point standings and a boys' team finish with eight points in the event, held at the University of Louisville.

But around the Anderson camp? Things were much different. While no Bearcat performer was close to a state title, junior Tyson Yett medaled in two events, the best individual performance by an Anderson performer in recent memory.

And even though the boys' eight points were only good enough for 22nd place, it was the best finish for Anderson since the boys tallied 15.5 points in 2009.

North Hardin swept the boys' and girls' titles, the first Class 3A school to sweep the titles since Bryan Station in 1982.

For Anderson, however, the goal was much more modest: Just improve and get a feel for what the state meet is like.

Mission accomplished.

Competing in seven different events, Anderson saw four personal bests equaled or beaten. The boys' 4x200-meter relay team, which only made the state finals by a whisker, turned in the event's best time in school history.

Of the eight Bearcats competing Saturday, only one, Ryan McGregor of that relay team, graduates. The other seven vowed to be back next year and to be better.

“This is definitely one of the better showings we have had,” said Anderson assistant coach Jason Dickerson, who was running the team along with assistant coach Stephanie Moninger on Saturday. Head coach Robert Meacham was fulfilling a commitment to the National Guard.

Yett was a bit of a surprise in that he finished fourth in the high jump equaling his best-ever jump of 6-feet-2-inches, but was sixth in the triple jump, considered his top event. Yett exploded to a 43-09, another best-ever, but was more than two feet behind the winner, Corey Williams of Bryan Station, who recorded a 46-00.5.

“I wish I could have done better, but I was pretty pleased with the overall results,” said Yett.

Dickerson noted, however, the difference between sixth and third place was a mere two inches. Eric Avant of John Hardin and Emery Thompson of Dunbar both jumpe 43-10.5 and Robbie Lofton of Bowling Green came in third at 43-11.

“I am thrilled with Tyson's performance,” Meacham said in an e-mail. “I mean 43-9 is a stellar jump. … Sixth in triple jump with a new school record, breaking a record that was set in 1994 by Rob Bradshaw at the state meet, and to perform at the highest level on a stage that can be a little nerve racking the first time shows that he has the confidence to continue to improve and will be challenging for multiple regional and state championships next year.”

No other Anderson competitor finished higher than Ross Cox's 10th place finish with a 5-10 in the high jump.

Jocari Beattie of Eastern took the high jump at 6-08.

There were plenty of smiles around the 4x200-relay team, however, despite finishing only 21st out of 24 teams in the event. The team turned in a 1:35.08, barely setting a school record.

It was also McGregor's final event running track and field.

“It feels pretty awesome to get another week after the region, to get an extra week to prepare and to run at the University of Louisville to set the school record,” McGregor said.

After a sixth-place finish in the regional, the relay team thought its season was over, but when the next 10 best times were compiled across the state, four came from Region 6, including Anderson.

 McGregor said, “Coach Meacham called on Saturday and said, 'How do you feel about training in the 4x2 next week for the state.  I couldn't believe it.”

“Ryan McGregor has been the hardest working kid I've coached on the track since I have been at Anderson County,” Meacham said. “He had struggled through nagging injuries but today he was rewarded for his hard work by running the final race of his high school career at State (his first qualification).”

Moninger's 51.49 in the 400-meter dash was more than a half-second faster than his previous best and his 13th place finish was six higher than his placing in the performance list.

“I feel like I did pretty good,” Moninger said. “I got my best time.”

Pole vaulter Paul Leskiv, perhaps a surprise state qualifier, went out at 10-06, tied with four other vaulters for 13th place. “Paul Leskiv, is an anomaly,” Meacham said. “You don't have kids that walk up to the pole vault three weeks after we've started outdoor practice and say, I think I could
do that and in eight weeks compete in the state championship and match his personal record of 10-6.”

Buser had hoped for a Top 10 finish but might have been hemmed in at the outset in the large number of runners in the 1600-meter run. Still she finished 14th . “I didn't run my best race, but it was good. I am pretty proud of myself that I did as well as I did as a seventh-grader,” Buser said.

Buser, ranked among the best middle school runners in the nation, has designs on a state title before her career is over.

“Nobody is going to look at Anderson County with our end result,” Dickerson said. “For us, it is a matter of just getting better all the time.

“We are heading in the right direction.”


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