Hodge, Atkins lead strong day for NB

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By Mike Farner

 LOUISVILLE - Getting third place finishes from seniors Cody Hodge and Andrew Atkins, the North Bullitt boys' track team recorded a top ten finish on Friday in the Class AA Kentucky State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville.
 North Bullitt finished with 22 points.
 "We had a really good day," North Bullitt head coach Mike Whitfill said. "I was thrilled."
 Hodge scored points in all three of his events on Friday. The senior finished third in he 100-meter dash and was fourth in the 200-meter dash before helping the Eagles' 1,600-meter relay team to a sixth place finish.
 That made for a long day.
 "A little bit," Hodge said with a smile at the end of the meet when asked if he was worn out.
 Hodge ran a blazing fast 11.05 in the 100-meter dash. At first, his time on the scoreboard was posted in second place, but then was corrected to third as Silaf Harris of Union County was second in 11.04. Franklin County junior Ryan Timmons repeated as the Class AA champion with a time of 10.84.
 The first gun in the 100 was quickly followed by another as there was a false start. That happened in the lane next to Hodge and that might have affected his start the next time.
 "Coming out of the block I was a little slow," he said. "Coach said I was eighth. I knew I had to catch (Jazz) Hayes (of Central). I did that and I was happy with the time."
 After some time to recover on the hot day, Hodge was back on the track for 200. Timmons got the best of the field again in 21.90 with Hayes at 21.98. Hodge was fourth in 22.30.
 "Coming out of the curve I felt good," the senior said. "I like lane eight. I knew I was slowing down. I just wasn't strong enough to hold on."
 The big finish came in the relay were North Bullitt set a new school record with a time of 3:31.47. Hodge ran the third leg after seniors Keith Miller and Michael Dowell and he gave the baton to junior Patrick Egnor.
 While Hodge was expected to compete at the top of the field in his events, the third place finish by senior Andrew Atkins in the 800-meter run caught everyone by surprise, including Atkins. For most of the past two years he has run in the shadow of teammate Michael Dowell, but he saved his best for last.
 Atkins was not even in the fast heat of the 800. He went out and clocked a 2:01.48 in winning the first heat and then watched as the heat gobbled up a field that had a number of runners who had run the 1,600 earlier in the heat. South Oldham's Leonard Faul did win the second heat in 1:57.09 and Covington Catholic's Alex Flynn ran 2:00.70, but those were the only two faster than Atkins' time.
 "I've always been pretty close to Mike," Atkins said of his teammate. "Today wasn't his day. I'm sure that had to do with him running the mile.
 "But I didn't expect this," the senior said. "I was seeded 15th. There was no way I thought I could get third. I didn't have many eyes on me."
 Whitfill thought that Atkins could run well.
 "I expected him or Mike up there," the coach said. "It takes a lot to get Andrew to believe how good he can be. He has done that the past few weeks."
 Dowell did medal in the 800, finishing eighth in 2:03.29, but he was zapped by the heat in the earlier 1,600 where he finished a disappointing 10th.
 North Bullitt also got a point in the 400-meter dash when Egnor ran a strong race in the second heat to finish in 51.38 to put himself in eighth place.
 The North Bullitt boys also had senior Jamie Pate compete in the 110-meter high hurdles and he finished 14th in 16.10. The Eagles' 800-meter relay team of Pate, Logan Polley, Egnor and Miller was 19th in a time of 1:37.45.
Lady Eagle Relay
 One race that Whitfill wanted to do well in was the girls' 1,600-meter relay, an event in which North Bullitt has medaled each of the past three seasons.
 Just in the past week, Whitfill had run some time trials at practice and had inserted freshman Bre Stewart onto the team. That move paid off as the green and gold posted a time of 4:13.76 in the first heat, a time that carried over to a seventh place finish.
 North Bullitt senior Alexa Hughes had run on all four of the North Bullitt team scoring points in the relay.
 "We were thinking 4:20," Hughes said later. "We never thought about 4:13."
 That time broke the school record by three seconds.
 "I was nervous all day wanting that team to medal," Whitfill said. "Those girls ran 16 seconds faster than they have all year so that was good."
 Joining Hughes and Stewart on the team were sophomores Elizabeth Grau and Chelsey Slayton.
 Stewart had a big day in the high jump as she cleared 4-10 to finish tied for fourth.
 "She has a little mental barrier right now at 5-feet," Whitfill said. "When that bar goes up two inches and she clears that, she is going to start clearing 5-2 easily."
 The three finishers ahead of Stewart were all seniors.
 North Bullitt also picked up two team points from junior Kaitlyn Montgomery in the shot put with her throw of 31-05.5 which was good enough for seventh place.
 The Lady Eagles finished with 8.5 team points which was good enough for 25th place overall.