The Henry County track team had just eight athletes compete at the Eastern Relays, held at the University of Louisville’s track complex Saturday, but the Cats left Louisville with some of their best individual performances of the season.
Out of the eight Henry athletes, seven finished with season-best performances, which points them in the right direction with a few weeks left in the regular season. With the stiff competition, Henry’s coach, Ricky Drawbaugh, opted to not take his entire team and instead took those that have the best shot at qualifying for the Kentucky State Track and Field Championships, which will be held on the Louisville track May 30-31.
“I knew this was going to be a big meet, so I only took those that I thought would be able to compete at a high level,” Drawbaugh said. “We told them going in to not worry about their place but to try and PR (personal record). Coach (Greg) Woods and I were pleased with everyone.”
The best Henry performance of the day came from eighth grader Cassey Fischer. The Henry County Middle School student, competing against some of the best varsity distance runners in the state, ran her best times in both the 1,600-meter run (5:55) and 3,200-meter run (12:46.10) — which placed her 18th and 13th in the two longest races in high school track competitions.
Meanwhile, Brittany Crawford made her return from a strained hamstring with a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (16.72) and a ninth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (50.32), Jalie Adams finished ninth in the shot put (30-00) and 20th in the discus throw (68-00), and Alexa King finished eighth in the pole vault (6-06).
On the boys’ side, Larry Farmer completed the four-lap, 1,600-meter race in 4:51 — good enough for 32nd place in a large field — while Travis Farmer finished 13th in the pole vault (9-06), Justin Pigram finished 43rd in the shot put (31-01) and Cody Hinkle finished 11th in the discus (124-10).
By looking at the results, the higher-than-normal finishes might be a bit misleading considering the better-than-normal times and throws.
“This was the toughest meet we will attend this year,” Drawbaugh said of the competition. “I wanted the kids to learn how to compete at a high level and see others compete at a high level, too.”
In the team competition, the Ladycats finished with four points for 28th overall, while the Wildcats didn’t score any points to get on the board.
Male won the boys’ title with 114.75 points, followed by St. Xavier (86) and Ballard (46.5). There were 32 different teams that scored points.
Among the girls, Evanston Township won the title with 127.5 points, followed by Owensboro (75.5) and Assumption (75.5). There were 28 teams that scored points.
Henry’s next meet will be the Henry County All-Comers May 8 at home, followed by the Kentucky Country Day Invitational May 10. The regional championships — the qualification for the state meet — will be held the week of May 19. Drawbaugh hopes some of his athletes will be back on the U of L track May 30-31 at state.
“I would say with the way we’re improving, those that went this weekend have a legitimate shot at making it to state,” Drawbaugh said. “With hard work, I hope we can send those that stayed home as well.”
Girls’ 1,600-meter: Cassey Fischer, 18th, 5:55.68. Girls’ 3,200-meter: Cassey Fischer, 13th, 12:46.10. Girls’ 100-meter hurdles: Brittany Crawford, 6th, 16.72. Girls’ 300-meter hurdles: Brittany Crawford, 9th, 50.32. Girls’ pole vault: Alexa King, 8th, 6-06. Girls’ shot put: Jalie Adams, 9th, 30-00. Girls’ discus: Jalie Adams, 20th, 68-00. Boys’ 1,600-meter: Larry Farmer, 32nd, 4:51.73. Boys’ pole vault: Travis Farmer, 13th, 9-06. Boys’ shot put: Justin Pigram, 43rd, 31-01. Boys’ discus: Cody Hinkle, 11th, 124-10.