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East's teams are the ones to beat on Tuesday

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2009 All-Bullitt County Track and Field Championships At Bullitt East High School. Both the field events and events on the track will start at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5

By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - A defending state champion and a number of individuals with that goal very much in mind will be in action on Tuesday at the All-Bullitt County Track and Field Championships at Bullitt East.

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This should be one of the better-attended county championships as with the exception of the Bullitt Central boys’ team, all of the squads should have a double-digit size list of entries.

Still, the team battle in both the boys’ and the girls’ races should belong to Bullitt East. The scoring probably won’t be close on the boys’ side while the North Bullitt girls’ team could push Bullitt East at least part of the day.

North Bullitt is the defending boys’ champion while Bullitt East won the girls’ title a year ago.

The three teams did compete in the same meet early in the season at North Bullitt but that meet also included DeSales. Bullitt East did win the team title in both the boys’ and girls’ meet that day.

Action for both the field events and on the track is set to start at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The public is invited to attend. There is no admission charge.

Boys’ Battle

Perhaps the biggest challenge on Tuesday for Bullitt East could be the chance to win all 17 of the events contested. While that might not be totally realistic, it is not out of the question.

With an influx of first-year seniors, the Chargers under first-year head coach Lenny Raley have become deep and talented in a number of events. While Tuesday’s action will be a solid warm-up, the big battle ahead will be on Saturday, May 16 when the team tries to win the Class AA regional title at Henry County High School.

Bullitt East will have a strangle hold on the sprints, especially now that Bullitt Central junior Jeremaie Bennett has shifted to concentrate on the jumping events.

Charger senior Bobby Harrison, who advanced to the state meet last season, is back and has some of the best times in the state this spring. He recently separated from the Bullitt East baseball team and is now concentrating solely on track.

Harrison qualified for the state championships last spring in the 100 and long jump and he is strong in those events again. He is also capable of winning at 200-meters and is part of a strong 400-meter relay team.

The top competition for Harrison comes from within the Charger program as senior Kody Kearney has posted some impressive times in the 100. Kearney is participating in track for the very first time this spring after playing basketball for Bullitt East the past four seasons.

Bullitt East has 13 senior boys on the team this spring.

“One reason we have had such a good year is because of the seniors,” Raley said after a practice last week. “They are a little more mature.They are all athletes and that is the key.”

Raley was an assistant coach with the boys’ basketball team a year ago and he has recruited some of those players. Kearney is one of those along with senior Grant Polson who has roared onto the scene in his first-season competing in the high jump and triple jump.

The Bullitt East coach talked a little about moving some athletes around to different events on Tuesday just to help train them for the upcoming regional and state championships. Raley doesn’t really have to work to maximize team points at this time.

“We should be pretty heavily favored,” Raley said of the boys’ meet. “Both of the other schools have athletes, but the depth is not there.”

Still, if Harrison and Kearney both go in the long jump, then that could be a major competition against Bennett. All three of those jumpers are capable of sailing out past the 20-foot mark.

Another event where Bullitt East will get outside competition will come in the two strength events. Charger senior Michael Bozarth is one of the area’s top throwers, but he could get a challenge from North Bullitt senior Greg Brown in the discus and from Bullitt Central junior Jeremy VanMeter in the shot put.

As of late last week, Raley was looking at having 22 or 23 boys out on Tuesday while North Bullitt head coach Michael Whitfill is only counting on about a dozen athletes. Bullitt Central has just five team members.

“I would say that Bullitt East is the team to beat,” Whitfill, a former Bullitt East track standout, said on Wednesday. “They have the numbers and the athletes. I’m short on numbers. In a small meet like the county championships numbers play such a crucial role.”

Girls’ Could Be Closer

 

It would take a perfect day with everything going just right, but the North Bullitt Lady Eagles are hoping to put a little pressure on Bullitt East on Tuesday. Most of that hope comes in the middle distance events as well as the field events that involve jumping.

Two events where things probably won’t be very close is the discus and shot put. Bullitt East junior Jackie Stevens, who had top three finishes in both events at the state championships last year, has been the area’s top thrower this season. She has already set the school record in both of those events at just over 109-feet in the discus and 38-feet in the shot put.

Bullitt East has also been getting a lot of points this spring from sophomore Lynsey Milburn in the high jump as well as the long jump and triple jump.

Raley will also look for points from Emily Melcher in the 400-meter dash as well as from first-year senior Chelsey Smith in the 100, high jump and triple jump.

North Bullitt will counter with defending state champion Helen Heines in the middle-distance races. Heines won the state final at 1,600-meter last spring and she will run at 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meters on Tuesday as well as anchoring the 1,600-meter relay team.

The Lady Eagles also will have junior Gentry Collins at 400- and 800-meters as well as in two of the relays.

North Bullitt will also be looking for major points from junior Meri Brian in both the long jump and the triple jump. Brian has been very impressive this spring, jumping over 30-feet in the triple jump and 15-feet in the long jump.

At Bullitt Central, veteran head coach Steve Johnson has better numbers than ever before, but still the team has just one senior. The coach expects as many as 12 girls to be available on Tuesday.

As seems to always be the case, Bullitt Central’s best athletes compete in the high jump. The Lady Cougars will challenge Milburn in that event with sophomore Danielle Biven and freshman Chelsea Staples who has really exploded on the scene this spring in a number of events.

Bullitt Central’s lone senior is Amanda Bruckschen and she will run in the long hurdle event as well as joining Staples, Devin Welch and Destiny Tinnell on a good 400-meter relay squad.

Still, with so many events and only three teams competing, there are a lot of points up for grabs. This meet is always a chance for someone to unexpected to score a lot of points.

That will well be the case again on Tuesday.