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Track team has night to remember

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Ratliff jumps to state's best; Carter, Conley, Williams have big weeks

By John Herndon

Ryan Ratliff is doing just fine for a rookie. Fact is, he's doing as good as anyone, rookie or veteran, in the high jump this year.

The Anderson County High School junior cleared 6-feet-7 in the Carl Deaton Invitational at Green County on Friday. In his first year of track, Ratliff turned in the state's best jump this season.

“He was running high on adrenaline because his relay team had just run the 4x200-meter relay to a new (school) record,” said Anderson coach Robert Meacham.

Anderson already had one state high jump championship contender in Jordan Sloan, who is recovering from a foot injury, but now could have two on the medal stand at the state meet.

The relay team continues to improve with its school-record 1:35.72, but even with the school mark being shattered, the team has an uphill climb to make the state, Meacham says. Even with the best in Anderson history, the time is just fourth-best in the region this year. Only the top two teams from a region are guaranteed a berth in the state.

Jayson Barnes, Chris Misheff and Ryan McGregor joined Ratliff on the relay team. “Both Barnes and McGregor set new personal records in the 200 meters and 400 meters,” Meacham said. “They are working their tails off. Barnes broke 24s in the 200 for the first time. That is a big milestone for a kid who was running the 800-meters last year.

“I like to put Ryan McGregor up against other freshman to get a good idea of his skills. After Friday he had the seventh-fastest time among Kentucky freshman in the 200 meters and the fifth-fastest time in the 400 meters. That’s a pretty good place to start a high school track career. With his work ethic, he will only get better.”

The Bearcat boys got a big day from John Updike as he placed third in both the discus and shot put.

Meacham says junior Madison Carter is continuing to get better and could give the Lady Bearcats a strong performer in the long sprints as she won the 200 and 400. “When she peaks at regions and state, we could see some great things from her,” Meacham said.

Sabrina Shelton set personal records in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles while freshman Sierra Barnett was fourth in the 100-meter dash with a 13:58, a time that is the state's eighth-best for freshmen this year.

Hannah Smith finished second in the high jump with a 4-08 while Maggie Conley was second in both the 800- and 1600-meter races.

Meacham said that after repeatedly going against state powers, it was good to be in a meet where the Anderson teams could succeed.

“Our girls brought home their first trophy of the season coming in just short of Green County,” Meacham said. “They performed really well across the board. This meet allowed our kids to stretch their legs out against a more even field of athletes. It’s a good change of pace to get out in the clean air at the front of the race. It is important for our kids to experience success. We had that on Friday. We had a lot more 'look what I did' rather than 'maybe next time.'

Last Tuesday, the Bearcats were at the Boyle County All-Comers meet where Kiefer Williams broke 11 minutes in the 3,200-meter run. “That was a big jump for him,” Meacham said. “He ran a hard race.”

Conley also had a nice day, turning in a 2:31 in the 800 meters and shaving two seconds off her personal record.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.