HCHS girls take fourth in Region 5 meet; boys place sixth

FIve Lady Bears earn trips to state meet


Scott Warren

Ella Karst was one of five Harlan County girls to qualify for the 2A state meet after setting a school record in the 100-meter dash.

By Abby Sherman, Contributing Writer

The Harlan County track team traveled to Boyle County on Tuesday to compete in the Class 2A, Region 5 meet, placing among the region leaders in both divisions.
The Lady Bears placed fourth overall with 71.50 points. Mercer County won the girls division with 107.50 points, followed by East Jessamine (104), Corbin (104), Boyle County (60), Rockcastle County (42), Lincoln County (32), Bell County (15), Knox Central (13), Casey County (4), Clay County (3) and Wayne County (2).
The Bears placed sixth overall with 36.50 points. Mercer County won the boys division with 141 points, followed by Corbin (132.50), Boyle County (79), East Jessamine (61), Rockcastle County (40), Bell County (24), Casey County (14), Russell County (13), Garrard County (8), Wayne County (4), Lincoln County (4) and McCreary Central (1).
“I’m really proud of our kids tonight. We walked out of here with four automatic qualifiers and I have zero doubt that we’ll add a lot of at-large qualifiers to the list,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said.
State qualifiers for the Lady Bears are Ella Karst, Madison Daniels, Taytum Griffin, Aliyah Deleon and Emilee Eldridge.
Karst was second in the 100-meter dash, setting a new school record. Daniels placed second in pole vault. Griffin, Deleon, Eldridge and Karst finished second in the 4 x 200 meter relay.
“I’m really proud of Ella. Her growth as an athlete during her time in the program has been fantastic. To earn an automatic bid in the 100-meter dash in this region is a big deal, and she absolutely nailed it tonight. I’m really happy for Maddie to qualify in the pole vault. This is her second consecutive appearance and she’s finished in the top two in the region the last two seasons. She’s had a great season, and she’s on the cusp of a huge breakout.
“I’m also so proud of these girls in the 4 x 200 meter relay. They have worked so hard this season and have improved all season long. Again, earning an at-large bid here is a big, big deal, and they ran fantastic. I’m happy for Emilee and Taytum to get another shot at state as seniors. They’ve meant so much to our program in their careers, and they deserve it. I’m really proud of Aliyah as well. She and Ella have been stellar in this relay.”
Eldridge was eighth in the 100-meter dash.
Karst finished fourth in the 200-meter dash, while Griffin was 10th.
“The girls came back up here as a team and finished in the top four overall in the toughest region in 2A. I’m so proud of them. They continue to show they’re among one of the best programs in the state year after year. That’s a result of a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”
Andrew Yeary is a state qualifier for the Bears, finishing second in the 800-meter run.
“Andrew has established himself as one of the best 800-meter runners in the state. He’s earned himself a great opportunity and if he runs sub 2:00 at state next week, he’s got a chance to do something special.
“I’m proud of our guys program as well. They came up here and competed hard. Finishing in the top half of this field of teams is a significant accomplishment. Many of the teams in front of us will score very high at the state meet next week. We competed hard, and I’m proud of them.”
“We had a lot of boys and girls perform well. This list of state qualifiers will grow significantly in the next few days when the at-large qualifiers are officially released.”
The Class 2A state meet will be on June 2 in Lexington.