Tracksters get needed experience

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By Tommie Kendall

Some of the top Kentucky track teams converged in Louisville for the Lenny Lyles Classic all day Saturday, and Henry County was right in the mix.

It was an eye opener for the Cats, who officially started the 2010 season at the Carroll County All-Comers the week before but for many it was the first time going against so many top athletes in such an intense environment. Sedrick Wiliams, the team’s new head coach, hopes to use the meet, hosted by Central High School, as motivation.

“I think they did what I expected them to do as far as performance goes,” said Williams, who took over the track program from Jacob Crowe this off-season. “It was good because we got some experience, and we got the chance to see some other athletes and see the caliber they compete at.”

The top performance for Henry came from Brittany Crawford in the 100-meter hurdles, one of the first events of a long day that started cold but warmed up as the meet progressed. Crawford finished second in the 100-hurdles at the Kentucky State Track and Field Championship last June and holds the school record with 15.63 seconds, but has suffered from mono since basketball season and had just a few days of practice before opening at Central.

Kayla Forrest of host Central won her heat in 17.79 seconds with Shene Quick of Ballard second in 17.86. Crawford, running in the slower heat because it was her first meet and no time was entered beforehand, won her heat in 18.49 and finished third overall.

“I was pleased with her because she had only been at practice a few days,” Williams said of the senior who hopes to contend for the state title. “I look forward to seeing what she can do later on.”

The second-best performance for Henry came from Cassey Fischer, another school-record holder who also competed in the state meet in 2009. The sophomore finished fifth in the 3,200-meter race, completing the eight-lap race in 13 minutes, 13 seconds. Fischer has been suffering from a hamstring injury the last few weeks and the coaches elected just to race her in the 3,200 instead of her typical triple of 1,600 meters, 3,200 meters and 1,600-meter relay.

A strong event for the Cats this season is shaping up to be the long jump. At Central, Cathryn Fischer finished 11th in the girls’ event with a leap of 13 feet, 7.75 inches, while in the boys’ event Robbie McClesky finished 11th with 19-even and Erick Butler 12th with 18-9.5.

Williams said he was pleased with all those previously mentioned Henry athletes, along with Eric Phillips. The junior distance specialist finished 18th in the 1,600-meter run in 5:01, 18th in the 3,200-run in 11:16 and ran the anchor leg of the 1,600-meter relay in around 56 seconds. The 3,200 and 1,600-relay were the final two events of the meet with a short recovery between the longest race on the track and an all-out 400.

In the team standings, North Hardin won the girls’ title with 92 points while Male won the boys’ with 133.5. Points are awarded in each event to the top-eight finishers. For Henry, the boys did not score while the girls finished with 11 points, good enough for 13th place. Crawford scored six points in the 100-hurdles, Fischer scored four points in the 3,200-meter race and the 1,600-meter relay team scored one point with an 11th-place finish —  the second team for Central, and second and third teams for Male all finished ahead of Henry but Henry was given the point because only one relay per event can score for each school.

The Cats are back in action with a busy week, which included the Shelby County All-Comers on Tuesday and the Henry County All-Comers this Thursday — Henry’s first home meet this season. The Cats will host the Wildcat Relays on Saturday, April 10, at the end of the school’s spring break.

“I talked to the kids afterwards and they now know they have to work harder to get better,” Williams said. “Going against these schools, it’s important to watch and learn. Now, they know more of what they need to do.”

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.