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FERN CREEK – Bullitt East sophomore Trase Milburn has had his share of success stories as a track athlete, including a 12th place finish last season in the Class AA Kentucky State Track Meet in the high jump.
This season, Milburn is again one of the state’s top high jumpers and he has won his share of events this spring in both the long jump and triple jump.
Obviously, Milburn is known as a jumper. However, that might soon be changing. After leaping into the 300-meter hurdles at the All-Bullitt County Track and Field Championships last week and winning by almost four seconds, Milburn could quickly become a four-event threat.
Milburn was just helping his team out by entering the hurdle event, a race in which he had never competed at the high school level. Milburn ran a strong 45.8.
More important than the time was the five points that Milburn gave his team. If Milburn sticks to his normal three events, then Bullitt Central would have won the boy’s county title this season. Instead, Bullitt East pulled out a three-point victory in one of the closest county meets ever.
“It was a great, friendly competition,” Bullitt East head coach Lenny Raley said after it was all over. “Trase was really strong with those four wins.”
This is the second, and last, season for Bullitt Central head coach Mike Gossett at the helm (he recently became the school’s athletic director). He has lifted the Cougars back to respectability in the sport by getting football players involved in a spring sport.
“We just had a little lack of depth in the distance events,” Gossett said. “Other than that, the kids did as well as we could.
“Then there was the Bullitt East kid (Milburn) jumping into the hurdles,” the coach added. “We’ve competed against them a number of times this season and he hadn’t been doing the hurdles.”
Bullitt East actually won twice as many events as Bullitt Central, grabbing 11 first-place spots while Bullitt Central only had five. North Bullitt had the other win as Patrick Egnor took the 400-meter dash.
Bullitt Central stayed close with depth, but in a three-team meet scored on a 5-3-2-1 system, it is hard to win the team battle.
As it turned out, Bullitt East won all five of the field events as Milburn took three while senior Andrew Okruch easily won his two specialities — the discus and shot put. Okruch, who was the runner-up in the state meet in the discus last year to teammate Trevor Troutman, set a personal best in the shot put with a throw of 49-10.
Bullitt Central stayed close by finishing second and third behind Okruch with seniors Jeremy Flener and Alex Gossett.
On the track, the two teams were pretty much even. Bullitt Central had the edge in the sprints as sophomore Trevor Carnell won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes while also being part of the winning 800-meter relay team. Bullitt East answered with more points in the distance events as they won the three longest events on the track.
Raley got a lot of points from seniors in the meet. Many of the seniors had just gotten back from the school’s Senior Trip earlier in the day after a long bus ride and competed well.
Carnell reached the state championships in the Class AAA 400-meter dash as a freshman last year, but because of some stamina issues, is running the shorter races this spring and is finding success.
“The sprinting has always been my natural ability,” Carnell pointed out. “I felt good about the 400. I respect the decision to take me out of it from the way my body reacted. I recover faster in the sprints.”
Carnell will be on the same track with some of the fastest athletes in the state on Friday when Bullitt Central competes in the Class AAA regional meet at St. Xavier High School.
“I’ll do my hardest,” the sophomore said. “I’ll do my best to do amazing things.”
Bullitt East and North Bullitt will be in the Class AA regional meet on Wednesday at North Oldham High School. Milburn and Okruch will be looking for top finishes along with some of their distance teammates.
North Bullitt’s Egnor could also be looking at a top finish in 400- or 800-meter event.