The Eagle Post
Fort Campbell | May 16, 2017
PADUCAH, Ky. — Despite a slow start in the Region 1, Class AA track and field meet for Fort Campbell, the Falcons and Lady Falcons slowly found their wings Wednesday, and each took a second-place finish at Paducah Tilghman with several team members heading to the state tournament.
Falcon coach Tavis Kennedy said he didn’t have many expectations coming into the meet know how strong the host school way.
Fort Campbell’s Austin Keeling is heading to state in the triple jump and high jump but the sophomore said he’s not concerned about competing for a state championship next weekend.
“Honestly, I don’t care about rankings or if I win or not,” he said. “I’m just trying to PR. I was trying to get 6-04 today in high jump because my PR is 6-02. In triple jump, I was trying for a 44-00, I got 42-09.
“I’m really trying to prove anything other than myself. One of my best friends, Desmond Mayfield, we had a couple bad meets recently so we were trying to prove to ourselves more than anybody, we’re still ourselves and we can still improve.”
Keeling’s distance of 42-05 in the triple jump earned him a second-place finish and he won the high jump with a height of 10-00.
Keeling isn’t the only underclassman from FCHS going to state in multiple events, as freshman Jack Dellinger is headed to state in the 800-meter run and 1,600-meter run.
“Those two individuals, they come to practice every day and put in a tremendous amount of work,” Kennedy said.
Dellinger finished first in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:52.27 and second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:11.89.
Along with the boys’ second-place finish, the Lady Falcons took the same trophy on their side but in more dramatic fashion.
Heading into the final girls race of the night, the 4x400-meter relay, Fort Campbell was in second but only a point ahead of Calloway County.
Kennedy made the decision to not tell his team and it worked out for the better as the Lady Falcons hung on and clinched not only a second-place finish in the race, not only second in the meet but also a trip to the state tournament.
“What I actually told them, I didn’t want to tell them what place we’re in and that we were one point ahead of them going into the final race,” he said “They were five seconds faster than us on paper but the only thing I asked them to do what do their best.”
In the girls’ 100-meter hurdles, FCHS’s Kyla Thompson finished first for her trip to state with a time of 17.48. Other Falcons headed to state are Jahlyn Mincey in the girls ‘100-meter dash, Ayonna Daniels in the girls’ 200-meter dash, Maddison Ruggles in the girls’ 400-meter dash, Kimberly Kean in the girls’ high jump, Atta Anzoua in the boys’ 400-meter dash, Mayfield in the boys’ long jump and Dylan Edwards in the boys’ pole vault.
Fort Campbell relay teams include the boys’ 4x400 meters, boys’ 4x800 meters, boys’ 4x100 meters and the girls’ 4x400 meters.
The Falcons finished with 151 points on the boys’ side and 114 on the girls’ side. Paducah Tilghman won both titles with 189 points for the boys and 200.
Trigg County also competed in the event with the Wildcats finished fourth with 45 points and the Lady Wildcats finished sixth with 17 points.
Trigg County coach Kewanis Kennedy knew his team was at a disadvantage but didn’t use that as an excuse.
“A lot of our kids are young,” he said. “They’re sophomores, juniors and a lot of eighth graders. I’m happy with where they were, where they started, where they finished. They persevered through a lot of injuries.”
It’s easy to falter at the sight of Paducah Tilghman’s track with all it’s accolades but Kewanis said he gives his athletes a simple message.
“I just try to tell my kids not to bed afraid,” he said. “It’s hard to come here and run against a school that’s won 10-11 state championships in a row and expect them not to be scared at 13-14 years old.”
The Ricks twins proved to be another formidable duo for the Lady Wildcats as each are headed to state in their natural events. Livi Ricks took second in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 13:35.70, while Lexi Ricks took second with a 6:06.11 in the 1,600-meter run.
Sean Aguiar ran in one of the final races of the night and finished first in the 3,200-meter run While all the first and second-place finishes are already on to the state tournament, the rest of the finishes still have an opportunity depending on how their time adds up to the rest of the state.
These athletes will have their day on May 19 at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track Complex.
When asked about what he expect at the state tournament, Tavin said he honestly has no idea but he did have one piece of advice for his team.
“Never quit, never quit,” he said. “You never know what could happen.”