Not only did the Eminence track team participate in its first track meet of the season last Tuesday night at the Henry County All-Comers, it was the first time the Warriors had been on a track in more than 10 months.
It was the first time the Warriors had used a mat to jump on in the high jump; sand to jump into in the long jump and triple jump; lanes to run inside in the relays; and blocks to start out of in the sprints. But when the starter's gun fired to send the runners towards the finish line, it was no problem for the Warriors, who opened their track season with impressive performances despite the matless, sandless, blockless and trackless training scenario.
"We've had practice, but it was the first time we've been to a track," Eminence coach Steve Frommeyer said. "It turned into as much of a practice for us than anything."
For the five athletes from Eminence that competed, they came back with six top-two finishes, including a pair of first from Ed Berry. Berry, who has qualified for the Kentucky State Track and Field Championships the previous two seasons, won the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet and 8 inches, won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet and 8 inches, and took second in the triple jump with a distance of 34 feet and 4.25 inches " three events he hasn't practiced this season. The triple jump, despite the loss to Henry County's Larry Farmer, might ultimately be Berry's best event.
"It's only the second or third time Berry's competed in the triple jump, and he's never practiced it during training," Frommeyer said of the junior. "He's just a great jumper and he can be a great triple jumper with a little practice. Really, it's still a brand new event for him."
Berry also teamed with Sydney Armstrong, Tihon Durrett and Trey Lindsey to finish second in the 800-meter relay to Carroll County. The foursome were thrown together at the last minute, and finished just 1.6 seconds behind Carroll with a 1:44.9 finish time.
"I was really proud of them because that's not our regular group but thy got their handoffs and came in second," Frommeyer said of the team that used makeshift starting blocks during training and worked on their relay exchanges on grass. "They did very well for a last-minute thing. We weren't perfect - as most teams aren't this time of the year - but it was close."
T.J. Cooper, who is usually on the relay team, provided some better-than-expected finishes in his events, taking second in both the high jump (5-04) and 100-meter dash (11.9). Henry's Eric Butler won the 100-dash in 11.8 seconds, while Cooper edged two Carroll runners for runner-up honors.
Armstrong, the lone senior competing for the Warriors, finished fourth in the triple jump (23-08) and fifth in the long jump (15-05.25) to round out Eminence's athletes.
As a team, the Warriors finished fifth out of the six schools. Carroll won with 111 points, while Trimble was second (101), Owen was third (90), Henry was fourth (89), Eminence was fifth (58) and Kentucky Country Day was sixth (57). Eminence had by far the fewest athletes at the meet, but still cracked the top five.
"Considering everything, I was really tickled with our performance," Frommeyer said. "Our attitude was good and we competed hard considering our limited practice time. It was a good start for us."
Boys' 100-meter: T.J. Cooper, 2nd, 11.9. Boys' 800-meter relay: Eminence, 2nd, 1:44.9. Boys' high jump: Ed Berry, 1st, 5-08; T.J. Cooper, 2nd, 5-04. Boys' long jump: Ed Berry, 1st, 18-08; Sydney Armstrong, 5th, 15-05.25. Boys' triple jump: Ed Berry, 2nd, 34-04.25; Sydney Armstrong, 4th, 23-08.