The Wildcats held a slim one point lead for second place over St. Henry going into the final event of the Class A State Track Meet Saturday at the Shivley Sports Complex at the University of Kentucky.
Having already beaten St. Henry by two seconds in the previous day’s preliminaries, the Wildcats needed to finish two places ahead of the Crusaders to claim the runner-up trophy.
Instead, a dropped baton dashed those hopes and left with the Wildcats last in the event and in third place overall.
Running third in the relay, in which four runners make one lap around the track, Wildcat sprinter D’Angelo Cavanaugh lost control of the baton entering third turn.
“I was starting my kick in the turn when the Bardstown passed me and knocked the baton out of my hands,” Cavanaugh explained afterward. By the time he recovered and retrieved the baton from the infield, the Wildcats were in ninth and well out of the race.
The incident happened in front of two judges in the turn, who did raise an infraction flag but determined there was no foul.
“They said D’Angelo hit the guy from Bardstown but neither runner left their lane, and it dislodged the baton,” said Wildcat Coach James Shelton. “It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen at a track meet given when it happened and what was on the line.”
Despite the incident, Trigg County claimed third place with 46 points. Bardstown walked away with the meet, winning their first state title since 1987 with 99.5 points. St. Henry was second with 51 points, and Danville was fourth with 44.5 points.
Crittenden County was sixth with 37 points, and Murray was eighth with 31 points.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the effort everyone gave. It’s a shame that effort becomes tarnished on the last event,” Shelton said.
Trigg County was vulnerable in the distance events, having no participants in the 800-meter runs, 1600-meter run, and 3200-meter run and relay where runner-up St. Henry scored 20 points. But they made up for it in the sprint events.
The Wildcats’ strength was the relays, where they picked up a pair of first place finishes in the 400 and 800-meter relays to help boost their point total.
In the 400-meter race, Trey Diggs, Scott Mayes, Jon Wilson, and Frank Russell won the event with a time of 44.91 seconds. Russell overtook Murray’s Brandon Wells with about 40 meters left for the win.
The win redeemed the foursome, who finished with the fourth best time in Friday’s qualifier.
“We had a team meeting Friday night, and they decided to tighten their belts somewhat, and it showed,” Shelton said.
The 800-meter relay team of Diggs, Cavanaugh, Wilson, and Dennis Acree also took first place with a time of 1:32.83 as Acree outkicked Danville sprinter and 2004 Mr. Football favorite Kelvin Turner at the finish for the win.
Trigg County’s Steven Wadlington picked up a pair of top-five finishes for the Wildcats in two field events, giving Trigg what Shelton called “11 big points.”
The junior took third in the shot put with a heave of 44-feet, 9-inches, which was 2-feet, 3-inches behind the winning toss of Nicholas County’s Sam Reid.
Wadlington was fourth in the discus throw with a distance of 134-feet, 5-inches. Murray’s Cory Zirbel, who finished second in the shot put, won the discus throw at 144-feet, 8-inches.
Cavanaugh took fifth place in the 100-meter dash (11.52) and fifth in the 200 meters (23.27), while Wilson was seventh in the 200 meters in 23.37. Crittenden County’s Tim Hill won both events, edging Bardstown sprinter Kwasi Obeng both times.
Eighth grader Scottie Mayes followed up his relay team success with a seventh place finish in the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 44.05. Mayes was the only middle schooler in the event.
Dennis Acree was sixth in the 400-meter run in a time of 52.74 seconds. Greg Acree just missed qualifying for the finals by .18 of a second in Friday.
Dane Bolton also just missed qualifying for the finals in the 110-meter hurdles by .21 of a second.