Eminence’s Ed Berry had his best day on the track at the Class A, Region 2 championships in Bardstown Saturday — when it mattered the most.
Berry took top honors in the high jump with a new personal-best clearance of 6 feet and 2 inches, which also tied the school record set by Eric Bachelor during the early 1970s, tied the best mark from any Class A jumper this season and advanced Berry to his third consecutive Kentucky State Track and Field Championships. Competing against the best two high jumpers in Class A, the junior defeated both Sean Edelen of Bardstown and Cameron Rattliff of Walden — both jumped 5-10. The victory puts Berry in the driver’s seat as the jumper to beat at the University of Louisville Cardinal’s Cardinal Park May 30-31.
“Our region has the best three jumpers in the state (Class A), so unless there’s a surprise, Berry should be the person to beat at state,” Eminence coach Steve Frommeyer said. “To get a PR at regionals, that’s exactly what you want.”
After all the other jumpers bowed out of the competition at 5-10, Berry went on to clear 6-0 and 6-2 before barely knocking the bar off at 6-3.
Meanwhile, teammate TJ Cooper finished the high jump in sixth place at 5-08. Cooper’s season was in doubt a few weeks ago when he sustained what was thought to be a season-ending hamstring injury, but now has an outside chance of advancing to state. The top two athletes in per event at each region qualifies, along with four at-large bids from across the state.
Minus Cooper due to the injury, and Tihon Durrett due to not getting in enough regular-season meets to be eligible to compete, Eminence’s 400-meter relay team finished fourth in 48.28 seconds. The team — composed of Sydney Armstrong, Berry, Brock Roberts and Trey Lindsay — finished behind Bardstown (45.25), Christian Academy (46.52) and Campbellsville (48.10). The Warriors have a chance to qualify for state as an at-large bid, Frommeyer said.
After the final running event came to an end, there was just one event remaining — the long jump. And Eminence had two athletes competing in Berry and Armstrong.
Berry leaped 19-feet even on his second to last jump to put him in second overall, but the next jumper leaped just one inch farther to push Berry back to third.
“Before he took his final jump, I told Berry he had nothing to lose and to stick the board and give it everything he had,” Frommeyer remembered. “He didn’t hit the board perfectly, but it was the best he had all season. The event was very exciting.”
Berry’s near-perfect jump gave him a 19-08.25 leap to put him back in second. But Campbellsville’s Michael McCubbin, who ran the 200-meter race and was the last jumper, leaped 20-03.25 to knock Berry out of the top two. But Berry still has a legitimate shot at advancing to state with an expected at-large bid, Frommeyer said.
Armstrong finished his high school career with a ninth-place finish with his 17-03.5.
Eminence had just five athletes compete at the regional meet, the fewest of any team, but still produced some outstanding performances. As a team, Eminence finished seventh out of the 14 teams with 22 points.
“Overall, I thought we did very well,” Frommeyer said. “For having just five guys, we did as well as we could have. I’ve been really pleased with this team all spring.”
Boys’ 400-relay: Eminence (Sydney Armstrong, Ed Berry, Brock Roberts and Trey Lindsay) 4th, 48.28. Boys’ high jump: Ed Berry 1st, 6-2; TJ Cooper 6th, 5-08. Boys’ long jump: Ed Berry 3rd, 19-08.25; Sydney Armstrong 9th, 17-03.5. Boys’ triple jump: Ed Berry 6th, 37-01.