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LEXINGTON – Tyson Yett was one busy young man Friday night.
The Anderson County High School junior would take some time working his craft near one end zone of Robert J. Bell Stadium, then head to the center of the stadium for another job before heading back to his previous work area at the Central Kentucky Conference track meet.
Bosses everywhere probably wish all their workers are as productive as Yett. He lived up to his performance sheet billing as the conference's best triple jumper and, for good measure, added a second place finish in the high jump. It was one of the better days in recent memory for an Anderson trackster at the prestigious meet.
Yett's performance led the Bearcats to a fourth-place finish among the 15 teams that scored. It was also the first time Anderson has finished higher than fifth since 2009.
Not only was Anderson's team finish strong, the team shattered 14 personal records last Friday as well.
Besides Yett, other Anderson boys finishing in the top five were Ross Cox, third in the high jump and fourth in the long jump, Casey Moninger, who was third in the 400-meter dash, and pole vaulter Paul Leskiv, who finished fifth.
On the girls' side, Anderson finished ninth as a team with Tiffany Yount's fourth place in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump being the only individual top five finishes. However, the Anderson 4x200- and 4x100-meter relay teams both placed fifth.
Yett showed why he will be a strong contender to win the Class AAA, Region 6 meet, which will be held on Thursday at Lafayette High School in Lexington. Yett flew through the air for a leap of 40-feet-10-inches on his first jump, more than two feet better than second-place finisher Robbie Irgang of West Jessamine.
“I felt pretty confident because I was on top of the performance chart,” said Yett, whose personal best is actually more than a foot better than his finish Friday. He had jumped 41-10.5 earlier this year.
Even though it was apparent that Yett probably would take first place after that first jump, he went back to the runway two more times before heading back to the high jump pit, where he had been working before the triple jump.
“I figured I could do better than that, so I was determined to go out on my next two jumps and jump better,” Yett said.
While he did not accomplish that, it is that drive that Anderson coach Robert Meacham hopes will send Yett to the state, where he could do well in two events.
“He had a great jump today,” Anderson coach Robert Meacham said. “If he gets that at the region, I think he will qualify for the state. The exciting thing is that he can do better.
Back in the endzone of the Henry Clay football field, Yett battled with his teammate, Cox, and Casey County's Micah Smith.
Yett and Cox could be seen bantering a bit with each other between jumps. “We just do some trash talk,” Yett smiled. “We have a little rivalry and we try to beat each other.”
Friday, Yett got the best of the in-team rivalry, clearing 6-02 while Cox topped out at 5-10. Both have been over 6-feet several times this spring.
Yett and Smith continued to battle through 6-02 before both failed to clear 6-04. Smith was declared the winner on the tie-breaker. He had taken fewer jumps to clear 6-2 than Yett.
“Tyson is getting closer and closer to the 6-4 mark in the high jump and I think he is gaining confidence for 6-2,” Meacham said. “That is a big step for a jumper to mentally know that every time out he is going to hit the standard of 6-2.”
Yett sometimes competes in the long jump – “That can be difficult,” Yett said of trying to pull triple duty – but deferred to Cox on the long jump last week.
Cox jumped superbly, placing fourth with a jump of 20-02.25. Kobe Ford of Mercer County took the event at 21-04.00.
Moninger looked to have a very slight lead in the 400 when the pack turned for home, but he could not hold on, finishing third at 52.57, only .05 behind second-place finisher Jonathan Carman of Boyle County.
Leskiv, a pole vault rookie, might have pulled the biggest surprise for Anderson when he finished fifth at 10-6. “Clearing 10-6 in his first year vaulting is quite an accomplishment,” Meacham said. “He has natural feel for the pole plant and drive. He still has a long way to go to polish his form in the air. For his first year though, I am so impressed with his effort!”
On the girls side, Yount appeared to be tuning up well in her effort to return to the state in the long jump. She has also become very solid in the triple jump and should contend at this week's regional tournament. Yount had personal records in both events Friday.
The Lady Bearcats were missing eighth-grader Alorra Sims, who could not run springs or compete in the jumps as she had hoped. Meacham hopes she will be rl
“I am also very happy with our girls sprint relays,” Meacham said.The 4x100 and 4x200 teams comprised of two seniors, Adrian Wilhite and Sierra Barnett, and two freshman, Allie Johnson and Summer Gritton ran the fastest relay times for the Lady Bearcats since 2010. They have continued to improve and I am excited to see if they can get better at regions.”
That is the key.
A year ago, Anderson had just two state qualifiers, a number that Meacham says Anderson can surpass in 2013.
“If we peak at the regions, then we will have a lot more kids qualify for the state,” Meacham said.