Two questions from Wednesday’s Class 3A, Region 5 track meet at Dixie Heights quickly emerged.
Could any team end Covington Catholic’s five-season boys team championship reign? And would Notre Dame coach Jamie Marsh run a victory lap after the Pandas dethroned two-time defending champion Dixie Heights?
The answers: definitely yes and possibly yes.
Ryle’s boys easily captured the school’s first team title with a 134-103 win over Cooper. Notre Dame, meanwhile, had a tougher time in capturing the first championship since 2019 – a 110-100.5 win over Dixie Heights.
Raiders coach Adam Smith thought Wednesday’s win was the start of a black, orange and silver (Ryle’s colors) trend.
“We’re going to be good for a while,” Smith said. “We’re young.”
Ryle was pretty good Wednesday.
You could start with senior Kaden Gardner, who’ll be running track and playing football at Thomas More University next fall. He won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.49 seconds, the 300 in 40.00, finished third in the high jump at six-feet and joined Evan Smith, Sawyer Haley and Braxton Portwood to take third in the 4×400 relay.
Smith said the 300 is Gardner’s best event.
“He could be a possible state champion there,” Smith said.
Gardner said his mechanics in the 110 hurdles are not the best.
“I have good speed endurance,” Gardner said. “I can keep my stride throughout the whole 300 hurdles and keep my pace on it.”
Continue with junior Tiger Bartlett because he set a personal record by winning the 1,600 in 4:19.02. He also finished fourth in the 3,200.
But Ryle was maybe strongest in relays – Abram Cusick, Dylan Lee, Nathan Verax and Derril Carr won the 4×100 in 44.20, and Cusick, Lee, Logan Verax and Nathan Verax were third in the 4×200.
Cooper won the other three relays: the 4×800 (Preston Winiger, Austin Liversgowdy, Sala Farah and Noah Miller), the 4×200 (Elijah Harrison, Isaiah Yancy, Alex Prevatte and Cole Henry) and 1,600 (Winiger, Liversgowdy, Prevatte and Harrison).
Gardner’s individual numbers were nice, but CovCath junior Ethan Long topped them – he won the high jump in 6-0, the 100 in 11.13 and the 200 in 22.33.
“Honestly, I think the 200 was my favorite event,” Long said. “I feel like it’s kind of fun coming off the turn and seeing guys in front of you, trying to catch ‘em.”
CovCath finished third with 82 points. Campbell County was fourth with 81, and Conner was fifth with 48.
Pandas lead late
Campbell County’s girls led much of the meet. The Camels’ Kaitlyn Strange, Emilie Zengel, Allison McKee and Aidan Christopher defeated Notre Dame in the 4×800 relay by a little more than two seconds.
Other Camel champions included: Abigale Bauer in the pole vault (10 feet) and Nevaeh Marcum-Gillespie in the 100 hurdles (16.81 seconds).
Notre Dame took the lead for good when senior Ellie Greenwell won the 800 by a little more than two seconds over Simon Kenton’s Allie Atchley. Greenwell also won the 1,600.
When Marsh told his team it had clinched the title before the 4×400 relay, senior Anna Meade suggested he run a victory lap. The rest of the Pandas loved the idea, but Marsh wasn’t so sure.
“It sounds like it, it sounds like it,” Marsh said. “Part of the joy of coaching is just sitting back and watching them react to achieving their goals.”
Dixie Heights’ Aubrey Elkins and Tatjana Andracenko finished 1-2 in the long jump.
“We were just waiting for our best events to take place,” Colonels coach Justin Bryant said.
Besides the long jump, the Colonels won the high jump (Caroline Hooper in 5-1), the 4×200 (Alayna Hocker, Kya Jones, Veronica Orr and Cameron Grice, 1:47.28) and the 4×100 (Grice, Hocker, Ashtyn Ivey and London Williams, 50.50)
Campbell County finished third with 94.5 points. Simon Kenton was fourth with 63, and Ryle placed fifth with 59.
Long, Gardner and Greenwell weren’t the only ones who won more than one event.
Ryle junior Viktoria Emelianova won the girls discus (122-6) and shot put (37-10 ¼). Conner’s Isabella Vonlehman captured the 100 (12.07) and 200 dashes (25.26), and Campbell County’s Hunter Wiseman won the shot put (45-½) and discus (144-8).
The top two finishers in each event automatically qualify for the state meet June 3 at the University of Kentucky. For complete regional results, visit live.kingtiming.com.