Mercer's McCloud enjoys big day in AA

June 01, 2004|JILL ERWIN

RICHMOND - Andrew McCloud had high hopes Saturday in the Class AA, Region 4 meet, but they weren't nearly high enough.

The Mercer County junior qualified for the state meet in all four events he competed in and set school records in three of them.

"I didn't know it was going to be this good," McCloud said. "I was hoping for one, two events at the most. But the way it worked out, everything went good."

McCloud won the 100-meter dash and was on the winning 800 relay team, and he finished second in the 200 and on the 400 relay team. He set school records in both individual events and helped set the school record for the second time this year in the 800 relay with a time of 1 minute, 32.91 seconds.


The old record in the 200 had stood for 23 years, but his time of 23.16 seconds bested it. In the 100, he had run an 11.4 in the preliminaries against a strong headwind, but had wanted to bring that down.

"He tied the school record at 11.1 earlier in the season at Danville," Mercer assistant coach Steve Goggin said. "That was the goal today, to break that school record."

"I was hoping for an 11.1 or an 11.2," McCloud said. "I figured that would win it. They said 10.89 and I said 'Whoa. I'll take it.' It sounded good to me."

McCloud has state meet experience - he went last year in the long jump - but will now compete in four running events. The two relays are possible largely because he and Brandon Scheller convinced John and Jordan Lyons to join the team for the first time this year.

"Jordan and John usually take the spring off, but we just told them, 'Look what we could do. We'd be good, and it's fun,'" McCloud said. "We proved it to them. They said they've had a blast and we're going to state, so everybody's having a good time."

"By putting this combination together, it really motivated them to come on out and make it happen," Goggin said.

McCloud ran the anchor leg on both relays, both times competing directly with Brandon Rayford of Madison Southern. McCloud won by .3 seconds in the 800 relay, but came in second by .24 seconds in the 400.

"I thought I'd get him," McCloud said. "They got a pretty good lead on us. If I had another 10, 15 meters, I'm pretty sure I would have caught him."

McCloud credits football and weightlifting with giving him the ability to do well in short distances.

"It's just getting out of the blocks quick and getting that initial burst to try to get the lead and keep it," McCloud said.

It will be the first time at the state meet for some of his teammates, but McCloud vowed not to let them get nervous.

"Just have fun. That's what I told them," McCloud said. "A couple of them were nervous, but I just said, 'Run, just have fun with it. Whatever happens, happens.' When people get too caught up, that's when things go wrong. Just run."

Two Boyle County runners set school records

McCloud wasn't the only one setting school records, as two member of the Boyle County girls squad did just that twice. Freshman Sarah Hall set a new mark in the 400 (1:00.29) and senior Kathryn Bayless set a new mark in the 800 (2:24.19). Both were on the winning 1,600 relay team that also broke a record as Boyle's girls finished third in the team standings.

"I didn't expect it at all. I had no clue," Bayless said. "Before I ran (the 800), my only goal was either to get first or to get a second off my PR. I didn't even think I'd come close to the school record at all. When I crossed the line and my mom was like, 'You got the school record,' I was so happy."

Hall said she was extremely excited about the two firsts and two seconds she walked away with at her first-ever regional meet. She said the chance to compete at the state meet is a daunting, but exciting one.

"I'm nervous, but I think it will be fun," Hall said. "It will be a really good experience and I think it will definitely pay off when I get older."

Hall didn't know until after she walked off the track following the 1,600 relay that she had won the 200 earlier in the day. She edged Itoro Okpokho of Lexington Catholic by just .01 seconds.

"I knew it was close," Hall said. "I thought I might have had a chance, but then afterwards I thought someone told me they announced I got second. I'm just glad I won."

Boyle's Morgan won four events

Boyle's Patrick Morgan won all four of his events in the two-day regional, including three Saturday. He took first in the 800 and 1,600 runs and was a member of the winning 1,600 relay team.

"The wind was not as bad, and it was cooler," Morgan said. "That definitely helps. But the conditions are the same for everyone, no matter what the day is. We've just got to run."

Morgan has definite goals for next week's Class AA state meet.

"I'd like to get a state championship," Morgan siad. "I'll have to go a lot faster in the mile and the eight. In the 800, I want to get Tilghman. The last two years, he's beat me, but we'll see."

Beth Patterson of Casey County won her second event of the regional meet, taking the 100 hurdles title with a time of 16.25 seconds.

Mercer County's 800 relay team of Chrystal Claunch, Stacey Gash, Chelsea Goodman and Erica Lee took first with a time of 1:50.86.

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