Last year, Trigg sent 10 competitors to the state high school championship, but many of those athletes either graduated or moved out of the county between seasons.
Still, head coaches Jim Garnett and Kewanis Kennedy have high expectations for the 2011 Wildcats and Lady ‘Cats.
“We finished in the middle of the 1st Region last year, which was a little lower than we expected,” said Garnett, who primarily coaches the girls team. “But we actually did better [at the regional championship] than we had done during the season.”
Trigg earned regional titles in the 4x100-meter and 4x200-meter relays, but two runners on each squad – Shelby Grubbs and Kelliniqua Acree – have moved. Khadijah Grubbs and Maya Bridges return from those two relays and will factor in different individual events. Joining them will be Lanita Hughes, a transfer student from California.
Also returning is Valerie Barnes, last year’s regional pole vault champ, and Lynease Byers, who finished second in the regional 1600-meter race but finished next-to-last at state.
“She had a tough state meet run compared to what she did at regional, and hopefully we’ve got those kinks worked out,” Garnett said.
Garnett said the lack of seniors in 2010 had him looking forward to 2011, but the unexpected loss of a few girls has left this year’s squad with some fresh faces.
“We’ve got a lot of newcomers this year – older girls, but new to track,” Garnett said. “We’re excited to have them.”
The boys team sent two field competitors to state last year, and both – Javin Grubbs and Matt Savage – have graduated. Also in the Class of 2010 was Jalik Alexander, who was expected to qualify for state in the 100-meter dash but was sidlined by injury.
Hakeem Tyler was also bitten by the injury bug last season but returns ready in 2011.
Kennedy said a lack of preparation also hindered the Wildcats at the region meet last year.
“The night before region was Project Graduation, and a lot of our kids stayed up pretty much the entire night,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully, we won’t have to deal with that this year.”
Kennedy said he expects Tyler, Devonte and Deonquez Nance to be leaders for the ‘Cats.
“Those are our speed guys, and hopefully they can each pick up four events and carry some points,” Kennedy said, adding that senior Akeem Wilson is a solid competitor in throwing events.
Josh Adams and Sean Beebe, 2010 seniors, competed in jumping events, and Kennedy said he hopes to find athletes to fill those spots soon.
Jakelze Martin is one athlete Kennedy has high hopes for in 2011.
“He’s been working hard and he’s very athletic, which will help in the triple jump and high jump,” Kennedy said.
Trigg returns to Class A competition this year, and performances against schools like Murray and Mayfield will be indicators for what Trigg can accomplish at state, both coaches said.
“I imagine most of those schools are unhappy that we came back to Class A because we’ve been very successful there, then we went to AA and had some success” Garnett said. “They’ll know we’re there.”
Kennedy said Mayfield’s boys squad returns several strong underclassmen.
“Murray was competitive last year, but they graduated a bunch of kids,” Kennedy said.
Despite the inexperience of many of this year’s competitors, both coaches expect Trigg to bring home more state hardware this season.
“Murray and Mayfield are among the best in the state, and if we can compete with them, there’s no reason we can’t compete at state,” Kennedy said.
“This region will prepare is for sprints, but in Class A, a lot of the private schools in the northern side of the state are big on distance events,” Garnett said. “Even though we’re going down a class, the competition could be tougher, so we’ve got work to do.”
2011 Trigg County High School Track and Field Schedule
Mar 22, Marshall County; Mar 29, Murray-Calloway County all-comers; Apr 1, Kenwood; Apr 19, Hopkinsville all-comers; Apr 21, Caldwell County; Apr 28, Russellville; May 10, Fill the Lanes or Hopkinsville all-comers; May 21, 1st Region Class A Championship, location TBA; May 26-28, Class A State Championship, location TBA
POSSIBLE MEETS: Apr 12, Western Kentucky University; Apr 14, Ballard Memorial; Apr 23, Paducah; Apr 25, Henderson; May 6, Marshall County; May 12, Area 1 Championship @ Marshall County
(schedule was not confirmed at press time)
All 2011 Trigg County track meets are on the road