The Male boys and the host Central girls earned their Lenny Lyles Classic team titles Saturday on the polar ends of the spectrum of success.
Male dominated from start to finish en route to a convincing 55-point win over runner-up St. Xavier in the 20-squad boys race, while Central had to rally on the final lap of the final event to knock off Male, 140-136 in the girls race.
BOYS: Powered by its relays, Male successfully defended its team title. The Bulldogs won three relays (400, 800 and 1,600) and were runner-up to champion St. Xavier in the 3,200 — the one relay eluding the Bulldogs.
“We feel like we made a big statement,” said Male sophomore sprinter Michael Warner, who won the 200-meter dash and anchored the winning 1,600 relay. “Domination.”
Warner earned 23.5 points, second on the boys side of the meet only to teammate Darian Clyburn. The junior won the 110 hurdles and the long jump and was the runner-up in the 300 hurdles.
Senior Chris Woody, who was second in the long jump and was part of Ballard’s runner-up 400 relay, led the third-place Bruins (53 points). Senior Jermiah Parker, who swept the two throwing events, led ninth-place Pleasure Ridge Park. Senior Jaylen Garnett, the runner-up in both the 100 and 200 dashes and a member of a second-place relay, led fifth-place Central (50 points).
In addition to its 3,200 relay win, St. Xavier got an individual gold from Thomas Knepshield in the 3,200 and individual silvers from Andrew Edwards (3,200 run), Jax Goldberg (high jump)
and GJ Wellinghurst (shot put).
The lone boys meet record came from Ballard’s Augustine Tugbe, who reeled off a 10.75 in the 100 dash after entering third at 10.93.
“I love competition and when I see someone ahead of me, it’s just go get them,” said Tugbe, who now holds this season’s fastest time in the state according to KyTrackXC.com. “I feel great, but especially about the time because that was a time I hoped to run at state. So to run it so early, it shows that I can do something way, way above my imagination at state time.”
Joining Tugbe with new season state bests were Warner in the 200 dash (22.27), Atherton’s Keion Bentley in the 400 dash (51.31), Holy Cross’ Keeton Thornsberry in the 1,600 run (4:30.38), Clyburn in both the 110 hurdles (14.52) and the 300 hurdles (40.90), Male in both the 400 relay (44.09), Parker in the shot put (45-10), Male in the 800 relay (1:30.59), St. Xavier in the 3,200 relay (8:26.85) and Male in the 1,600 relay (3:27.42).
GIRLS: Central junior Bryanna Lucas knew what was at stake late in the meet. After Male had two placers in the 3,200, Central’s lead was down to just two points over Kaitlyn Lacy-led Male and Male just happened to be the owner of the fastest times in all four girls relays this season.
Lucas, who was the runner-up to Rockcastle County star freshman Victoria Dotson in the 800 run, inherited a several-second deficit entering the final leg of the 1,600 relay; however, Lucas erased a 30-meter gap to help Central clinch a one-second win and hold off Male for the title.
“I don’t like to lose. I don’t lose,” said Lucas, who was primarily the second-leg runner on the relay last season before transitioning. “And when I saw her (the Male runner) in front of me, I didn’t think I was going to catch her myself. But when we got around the (final) curve, I’m really good on curves. She started slowing down and me, I have a pretty good endurance. So I knew this last stretch is all I’ve got. And then I got closer to her. And then I had it. We got the 10 points and it was a happy moment. It was a very happy moment.”
Lacy had a happy moment as well, setting a meet record in the 1,600 run (5:08.09) with no one to push her. Dotson, one of the state’s top underclassmen on the track and cross country scene, was more than 20 seconds behind Lacy.
“This is just like practice for State,” said Lacy, who also beat Dotson by 30 seconds to win the 3,200 run (11:33.26). “Especially in the mile, I was really trying to hit my (time) splits. It didn’t go exactly as planned, but I gave my best effort.”
In spite of participating on a team of one, Jeffersontown’s Kaleb McDonald also gave her best effort. She swept every running event less than two laps, winning the 100 in a meet-record time of 12.12, taking the 200 in 25 seconds even and claiming the 400 in 59.46. Both her 100 and 200 times are now the fastest this season in the State, according to KyTrackXC.
McDonald was the high-point scorer for either gender in the meet, which featured nearly 800 competitors from 25 schools from six counties. Her point total, 30, placed her seventh as a team.
McDonald said participating by herself didn’t bother her.
“It doesn’t matter who’s here,” McDonald said. “Either way, I’m going to run my race.”
Male’s Hadiya Williams ran her race in both hurdles, winning the 100 (15.22) and the 300 (48.10). Central’s Aazyah Woods was a three-time winner, sweeping the long jump (16-8) and the triple jump (35-3.75) and participating on Central’s winning 400 relay (49.66).
Eastern’s Jumyia Denning was the runner-up to McDonald in both the 100 and 200 dashes.