2008 - A Year of Success

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By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - It was certainly a Wide World of Sports in Bullitt County in 2008 as local high school athletes made it one of the most successful years ever.


The two mega-highlights came in two different sports, six months apart.

First, the Class 2-A State Track and Field Championships saw North Bullitt freshman Helen Heines bring home the first state track title in 20 years when she surged to the front on the final lap and won the 1,600-meter race.

That was the brightest accomplishment on a huge day for local athletes as Bullitt Countians won more medals than ever before at the state meet.

Then in the fall Bullitt County got Football Fever. For the first time ever, all three Bullitt County programs posted winning records. The regular season belonged to Bullitt Central as they won the Bullitt Cup with wins over their county rivals.

In the post-season, Bullitt East and North Bullitt each won twice in the Class 4-A play-offs and set up a showdown in Mount Washington for the regional title. Bullitt East won that night and then beat Calloway County a week later to reach the State Championship game for the first time since 1994.

It was a classic state final at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville with Bullitt East scoring a touchdown with 10 seconds to play only to fail on the two-point conversion in a 15-13 loss to undefeated Bell County.

Name the sport and there was probably a success story in 2008.

Track and Field

A rare local track rivalry broke out in the spring when both North Bullitt and Bullitt East started pounding on each other in area track meets. The two had a number of top-flight athletes who were dominating their events both on the track and in the field.

On the track, there was also a sibling rivalry going on between North Bullitt sisters Betsy and Helen Heines. Betsy, a senior, already had a pair of top-ten finishes under her belt at 1,600 meters at the state level in previous years. In deference to that, Helen had been concentrating on the 800-meter race.

Soon, it became apparent that the sisters were both at their best at 1,600-meters. They knocked heads at that distance during the second half of the season with Betsy then competing at 3,200-meters while Helen doubled at the 800. The sisters were both on the Lady Eagles’ 3,200-meter relay team.

Unfortunately, late in the season, Betsy became injured, competing for the final time in the All-Bullitt County Track and Field Championships, winning each of the four events that she entered that day on her home track.

That opened the door for Helen. She won the regional title at 1,600-meters and then on the University of Louisville’s track beat the heat and a strong field to win the first individual state championship ever for a North Bullitt athlete.

Overall, that June Saturday was a huge day for local track athletes. Bullitt County had four second place finishes that day as well as a pair of thirds and a seventh.

North Bullitt senior Robert Reynolds closed out his stellar high school athletic career on a high note as he finished second in the 200-meter dash as well as the long jump, the best finishes ever for a North Bullitt male athlete at the state championships. Reynolds also anchored the fifth-place 400-meter relay team that also included Ryan Vincent, Travis Samples and Jordan Wallace.

Bullitt East had a big morning that day in the strength event. Senior Ricky Seay was second in the discus and seventh in the discus. At the end of her very first track season, sophomore Jackie Stevens was second in the shot put and third in the discus.

The Charger track program also got a third place from sophomore Jade Troutman in the high jump and a seventh from junior Bobby Harrison in the 100-meter dash.

Football Fever

What track accomplished over a couple of days in June, was spread out over a couple of months in the fall by the three area high school football teams.

2008 was a banner season for Bullitt County football as Bullitt East finished at 9-6, Bullitt Central 8-3 and North Bullitt at 8-5.

Bullitt Central reversed almost two decades of football frustration as the Cougars had a winning season for the first time since 1990. The third week of the season saw a titanic 30-27 victory over Bullitt East and then the Cougars won the Bullitt Cup with a 26-17 victory over North Bullitt a month later.

Still, the post-season belonged to the two Class 4-A teams. North Bullitt beat Western and Valley to open the play-offs while Bullitt East was smoking Atherton and Marion County. That set up a winner-take-all showdown in Mount Washington for the Region II title.

In the deepest spot that two Bullitt County teams can meet in the post-season, the two rivals battled for the second time during the season. The outcome on Thanksgiving weekend was the same as in the regular season as Bullitt East won 26-7.

A week later, the Chargers and Calloway County put on an offensive explosion that saw over 1,000 yards of total offense before Bullitt East won 52-49.

In the State Championship Game, Bullitt East scored first and led 7-0 at halftime before Bell County scored 15 straight points including a touchdown in the closing minutes. Bullitt East answered, driving 74 yards in the final 90 seconds including a fourth-down conversion with less than a minute to play. With just 10 seconds remaining, Bullitt East got a touchdown, but the two-point conversion pass was incomplete.

Wrestling Success

For the first time in three years, Bullitt Central didn’t win the regional wrestling title, but the team did have its best day on an individual level at the Kentucky State Championships.

First, junior Jeremiah Walls got to the semi-finals at 160-pounds before losing and he then won twice in the ‘wrestle backs’ to finish third, the best placing ever for a Cougar wrestler. Teammate James Badgett, a senior, also reached the semi-finals before losing and eventually earned the fourth place medal at 103 pounds. Junior Akeem Bennett, in his first state meet, earned a sixth place finish.

Overall, Bullitt Central finished 16th in the team chase, its best state finish ever.

Baseball Run

Bullitt East put together one of the best regular seasons ever for a local team, winning 14 straight games at one point. The Chargers then won a fifth consecutive district title and reached the Sixth Region Championship game where they were beaten by eventual state champion Pleasure Ridge Park 7-2.

No Lack of Success

In softball, the North Bullitt Lady Eagles reigned supreme in the 24th District Softball final, smashing Southern 14-3. In golf, Bullitt East junior Justin York survived a play-off in the regional tournament and advanced to the State Golf Tournament in Bowling Green.

In cross-country, Bullitt Central Rachel Thacker advanced to the state meet, the first Cougar to do that in over 15 years. Bullitt East also had a young contingent of runners advance.

Bullitt East won a fifth-straight district volleyball title and hosted the Eighth Region Tournament.

Back during the winter, Bullitt East senior Paschal Glavinos qualified for the Kentucky State Swimming and Diving Championships in the 100-yard backstroke, making him just the third Bullitt County swimmer to reach that mark.

Basketball didn’t produce a district champion this season, but both of the Bullitt East teams finished as the 24th District runners-up to Fairdale. The loss for the Chargers’ came in overtime on a shot from mid-court.

Bullitt East senior Tabitha Collins advanced to the state tennis championships for the third time and won one match before being eliminated.

Of course, there were many others who reached a level of success that they never expected.