By Rocky Stanley - CNHI News Service
June 12, 2013 —
A pair of dynamic hurdlers, a standout jumper and two coaching fixtures headline the 2013 All-Area Track and Field teams.
Fairview’s Paige McKnight is the Female Athlete of the Year, while senior classmate Mason Rutherford shares boys’ honors with Rowan County hurdler Isaac Lee.
McKnight, who racked up several highpoint awards during the season, was Class A state champion in the 100-meter hurdles and received a Forcht Bank/Kentucky National Insurance Uncommon Excellence Award.
The Georgetown College signee scored 18.25 of Fairview’s 36 points at the state meet as the Lady Eagles finished fifth in the team standings.
McKnight placed third in the 300 hurdles, eighth in the 100-dash and helped Fairview take fourth in the 4x400 relay. Teammate Morgan McIntyre won her fourth consecutive state title in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet, 7 inches for a Class A state record.
Likewise, Rutherford enjoyed a big day in his first Kentucky state meet at the University of Louisville. He dominated the high jump at 6 feet, 6 inches to go with a runner-up triple jump of 42-11.25.
Rutherford’s third place in the long jump netted him 24 points on the day.
Rowan County’s Lee turned in the area’s top times in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles.
He also ran on the area’s fastest 4x200 and 4x400 relays. The 4x200 team, also including Logan Ashley, Zach Kelsey and Chris Baker, broke the school record twice this season.
Lee won the 110 hurdles at the Class 2A region meet in Morehead, but his season ended later that day with a pulled hamstring in the 300 hurdles.
Rowan County’s Roy Wright, the boys’ All-Area Coach of the Year, called Lee one of the hardest workers on the team.
“Isaac doesn’t waste a lot of time messing around,” Wright said. “He comes to practice and gets his work done. I really hated when he got hurt at regionals, because he really wanted to run at state. Based on his previous times, especially in the 300s, he would have been right there.”
Lee, a junior, rates among the top hurdlers Wright has coached at Rowan County during a career that spans about 25 years. Former star Sam Mincey was a state record-setter who won state titles in both hurdle events.
Wright coached the Vikings to a third consecutive region team championship this season.
Rowan County edged rival Mason County for the top spot.
“Your athletes make you look better,” Wright said of his latest All-Area coaching honor. “We had some experienced kids this year that liked to work.”
Injuries to Lee and talented jumper Jalen Stone derailed Rowan County’s hopes for a strong showing at state. Stone injured his ankle at Louisville in the triple jump — his first event.
Raceland’s Ray Kilgore is the All-Area girls Coach of the Year.
He guided a Lady Rams team with only one senior to a Class A region runner-up finish behind Fairview.
“I’m tickled to death, not just for myself but our assistant coach (Ryan Harper) and the girls,” Kilgore said. “We had a cookout for the team and they are excited about next season. From our field event people to the runners, I couldn’t have a better bunch of girls.”
The Lady Rams won a meet at Coal Grove and finished second or third in several others.
Raceland was represented at the State Meet in 12 events.
Makenzi Speaks and Abby Jones each qualified in four events, while Jonda Williams competed in three.
“This year and last, we broke a lot of school records,” Kilgore said of his 14th year at Raceland as a head coach or assistant. “At state, several girls set personal bests. That’s what it’s all about.”