MOUNT WASHINGTON - Most high school track athletes strive to break their school record before they graduate.
This spring, four Mount Washington girls did that before they ever arrived at Bullitt East.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Bullitt East track coach Lenny Raley put together a small group of local athletes from Mount Washington Middle School and Eastside Middle School and took them to Lexington for the Middle School State Track Championships that are conducted by the Kentucky State Cross-Country and Track Coaches Association.
In the girls’ 3,200-meter relay, the foursome of Caroline Collins, Lindsey Duvall, Lauren Masden and Sierra Poppell finished fifth out of 38 teams with a time of 10:58.98. That broke the Bullitt East school record.
“These girls ran a great race,” Raley said. “They were not even in the seeded heat. This was in the second heat and they led from start to finish. They were not pushed, so it was a great effort to finish with such a strong time.”
While these girls are still in middle school, they are no strangers to high school type competition. Both Collins and Poppell ran for Bullitt East in the Class AA Regional Track Championships two weeks before the middle school finals and those two along with Masden competed in cross-country for Bullitt East.
Duvall, who is just a seventh-grader, as is Collins, played on the Bullitt East varsity basketball team this past season.
The 3,200-meter relay is not an event in which the local middle schools even contest during their regular season.
The top eight finishers in each event earned a medal.
The Bullitt East squad also got a medal from Allen Miles who finished eighth in the boys’ shot put with an effort of 38-08.
At the Middle School State Track Championships, the schools are not broken down in classes like the high school meets. Some middle schools run as stand-alone teams and others compete like Bullitt East did under their high school banner with athletes from more than one middle school.
Because of that, there are a lot of competitors in each event. Some events had over 80 participants.
The other finishes for the Bullitt East girls included: Katelyn Hanna, who was 11th of 47 in the girls’s discus (71-00) and 25th of 52 in the girls’ shot put (28-01); Shaina Ojala was 15th out of 62 runners in the girls’ 200-meter dash (28:73) and was 25th of 70 in the girls 100-meter dash (14:21); Duvall ended up 30th out of 75 in the 400-meter dash (1:08); Poppell was 23rd of 68 in the 800-meter run (2:45); Collins was 13th of 41 in the 3,200-meter run (13:15).
It should be noted that Collins’ effort in the long race is an event that is not contested by Bullitt County middle school track athletes during the regular season.
On the boys’ side of things at the state championships there were good finishes: Miles also competed in the 100-meter dash and was 39th of 68 (13.10); John Collins was 32 of 42 in the 110-meter hurdles (19.61) and was 31 of 42 in the 300-meter hurdles (55.50); Isaac Shelton was 18th of 62 in the 1,600-meter run (5:30); Cole Stump was 24th of 63 runners in the 800-meter run (2:29); and Isaac Mitchell was 24th of 41 in the 3,200-meter run (12:49).
As on the girls’ side, Mitchell ran 3,200-meters in a race that Bullitt County middle schoolers do not compete in during the spring. That is also the case for Collins in the 300-meter hurdles, another event in which local runners do not compete during the regular season.
“I look forward to having all of these athletes compete for Bullitt East going forward,” Raley said.