Dragons excited about trip to Class A state meet on Thursday


Chris Jones

Nate Montanaro, pictured in action earlier this season, qualified for the state meet in three events, including the high jump.

By Abby Sherman, Contributing Writer

Following a long tradition of track success at Harlan, 15 members of this year’s team will compete in the Class A state track meet on June 1 in Lexington.
“The coaching staff is extremely excited about our kids being able to go to state and to be able to experience something like that,” Harlan coach Trent McKenzie said. “Track has always been a strong tradition at Harlan High School and the kids are just continuing that tradition.”
Harlan athletes who qualified last week at the regional meet included Kaleb McLendon, Kyler McLendon, Darius Akal, Tayquan Vick, Nate Montanaro, Noah Sharpe, Dylan Cox, Abbie Jones, Mia Pace, Chloe Schwenke and Harper Carmical.
At-large qualifiers have been determined for the state track and field championship meets next week in Lexington, including Emma Owens in the triple jump and Marissa Marlowe in the shot put.
“Emma did extremely well at triple jump, especially for not doing it the last couple of years. The first meet she said she was just going to wing it, but I think by region it was a little more than winging it. She is an exceptional athlete,” McKenzie said. “Marissa was upset at region with how she threw, so she has a great chance to redeem herself.”
Abbie Jones, Mia Pace, Owens, Peighton Jones and Harper Carmical will represent the Lady Dragons in the 4 x 400 meter relay.
“Our 4 x 400 meter relay girls scared us all season. Coach (Mike) Pace and I crunched numbers all week and they knew that by breaking the school record it would guarantee them a spot in the state meet,” McKenzie said. “Those four girls really took a leap at region.”
In addition to the 110-meter hurdles and the 4 x 400 meter relay, Nate Montanaro also qualified in high jump.
“Nate came out of nowhere in high jump. A few of the boys were asking me to put him in it one meet and he signed in with no practice and jumped well,” McKenzie said. For his first year of state, he did great.”