LEXINGTON — Scott County track and field coach Monty McIntyre swears he doesn’t look at “virtual meets,” in which a team’s season-long performances can be used to predict region or state results.
Thanks to a few glitches in Saturday’s online scoring, he couldn’t accurately assess the Cardinals’ actual score, either, entering the grand finale, the boys’ 4x400 relay, at Frederick Douglass High School.
Nobody was 100 percent certain whether the quartet of Caleb Griggs, Adam Greiving, Bryce Hearn and Ashton Miller absolutely needed to win that race for the Cards to hold off the host Broncos and successfully defend their Region 6, Class AAA title, but SC left nothing to chance.
Greiving’s run-until-you-drop second leg and Miller’s come-from-behind kick in the first turn of the anchor lap were highlights of a 3:27.55 journey that clinched unprecedented back-to-back titles.
“We can’t lose. I wasn’t going to let that happen,” Miller said of his mindset as he took the baton. “Tates Creek had the lead by 10, 15 meters. At the start I just wanted to make sure to eat up as much of the space as I could, because you’re always going to lose energy as you go.”
Scott County, its title considered less of a sure thing when distance ace Tyler Walker was ruled out with a stress fracture earlier in the week, won with relative ease, 109 points to Douglass’ 86.
Bryan Station (75), Henry Clay (69) and Lafayette (57) rounded out the top five.
In addition to SC’s stirring, exclamation-point relay victory, a fully healed Bryan Hudson gave the Cards season-best performances in his sweep of the discus (189 feet, six inches) and shot put (61-3).
“It was nice having those guaranteed 20 points again,” McIntyre said with a smile.
Hudson was cleared last week to throw with a full, spinning range of motion after standing flat-footed all season while recovering from Jan. 7 surgery to repair a dislocated left kneecap.
“To have everything clicking, it felt really good,” Hudson, who won both events at state his sophomore and junior seasons, said. “I’ve only been able to throw for a month-and-half, two months. With the experience I’ve had, so many years of doing it, that helped being able to step in.”
The multi-sport star, signed with Virginia Tech for both football and track, was practicing throws the day after Christmas when he sustained the injury.
Given two weeks to prepare, he hopes to clear 200 feet for his farewell high school performance in the discus. His career best is 198 at last year’s nationals.
“With everything that happened, I told myself I’d be happy with 60 and 180 today,” he said.
The Cards also cashed in school records in the 4x100 relay of Miller, Jeremy Hamilton, Silas Emongo and Bryce Chisley (third place, 42.80), 4x200 relay of Miller, Hamilton, Greiving and Chisley (second, 1:28.40) and the 300-meter hurdles (Griggs, second, 39.08).
Chisley was third (100, 10.99) and sixth (200, 22.66) individually, with Miller second (49.18) in the 400.
Wireman helped fill the void of Walker’s absence with fifth place in the 800 (2:04.79). Griggs warmed up for his big day with sixth in the 110 hurdles (16.21).
“So many people stepped up that I’d hate to single anybody out,” McIntyre said. “When they found out about Tyler the other night, they were down for maybe five or 10 minutes, and then it was ‘let’s go do what we have to do.’ Being the defensive coordinator in football, I kind of try to bring that mentality over to the track.”
Success in the pit has been SC’s bread and butter, and Hudson was far from the only star. Austin Taylor made it one-two for the Cards in shot put and was fifth in discus.
Hopping back and forth between triple jump (43-0) and high jump (6-4) yielded Peyton Shotwell a third-place finish in each. He added fourth in the long jump to his windfall.
Carter Felton tied for second in pole vault in 11-6.
Scott County takes a strong combination of depth and potential champions into the state meet June 1 at the University of Kentucky.
“I think we have a shot,” McIntyre said. “That’s all you can ask.”
Lydia LeDet joined Hudson as a regional champion, winning the girls’ triple jump with a personal record of 35-1.
“I’m excited to get back to state, because I was injured last year,” she said.
LeDet also took fifth with a career best of 15-9 in the long jump.
Those points propelled Scott County to fifth place out of 11 teams. Tates Creek (144) breezed to the championship, followed by Henry Clay (89.17), Woodford County (66.33), Bryan Station (63) and SC (61).
Erin Luckett was second to Tates Creek star Jenna Strange in the two-mile, outlasting the 90-degree conditions with a time of 12:16.78.
She was one of three runners-up. Heather Woodie shared second in the pole vault at 10-6, while Reilly Ray took that spot in shot put with a throw of 30 feet, ½ inch.
Scott County also pocketed points aplenty in the relays: third in the 4x400 and 4x800; fourth in the 4x100, and fifth in the 4x200.
Two members of those podium quartets excelled in individual competition. Maquoia Raglin was fifth (26.92) in the 200-meter dash, while Annalee Griffith took fourth (2:36.59) in the 800.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at email@example.com.