Harlan County boys capture SEKC title

HCHS girls finish second behind Williamsburg

Harlan County High School was represented on the All-Southeastern Kentucky Conference Team by Peyton Lunsford Kassy Owens, Hunter Blevins and Caleb Rigney.

Chandra Howard

Harlan County High School was represented on the All-Southeastern Kentucky Conference Team by Peyton Lunsford Kassy Owens, Hunter Blevins and Caleb Rigney.

Harlan County senior Hunter Blevins was the winner in the shot put at the Southeastern Kentucky Conference meet. (Chandra Howard)

The Harlan County boys team captured the first Southeastern Kentucky Conference title in school history earlier this week in a combined SEKC/Middlesboro Invitational meet at Middlesboro.
The Bears, who tied for a team title in 2011, finished with 179 points. Williamsburg was second with 130 points. Middlesboro was third with 82.5 points, followed by Harlan with 26, Bell County with 14 and Pineville with one point.
“I’m really proud of our teams. This was a nice meet with 16 schools, in addition to the SEKC championships, and I thought both teams performed well. It’s not often you can win two championships in the same meet, so that’s quite an accomplishment for our guys,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said. “These are both big wins, and crucial in the next steps of our development as we approach the regional meet. We have so many guys out with injuries and I continue to be impressed with the willingness of our guys to compete in whatever helps the team most. In the last three meets we’ve had three different lineups in the 4×100 and 4×200 and they continue to compete well. It says a lot about the character within this team. They have embraced whatever role helps us to accomplish our goals.”
Williamsburg won the girls competition with 168 points. Harlan County was second with 148 points. Middlesboro was third with 80 points, followed by Harlan with 59, Bell County with 57 and Pineville with two points.
“The girls really competed hard,” Vitatoe said. “There were two events where the meet got away from us, but I’m not disappointed in their effort. They competed hard and you are seeing marked improvement in lots of different areas. I’m proud of their progress. They are working hard, and I’m excited to see the final product. We have about three weeks of season left to continue to improved, and their behaviors to this point suggests they will continue to improve.”
Caleb Rigney, Hunter Blevins, Peyton Lunsford and Kassy Owens were named to the All-SEKC team.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Vitatoe said. “They are deserving of this honor. Both Caleb and Hunter are among the state’s best in their respective events In fact, Caleb’s time from this meet moves him to first in the 2A 1600 meter rankings. He has worked very hard this year to put himself in this position. Hunter exploded into the season and hasn’t slowed any at all. He keeps improving every week. He’s going to have a chance to finish very high at the state meet as well as he’s ranked in the top three in both shot and disc.
“Kassy is one of the quietest kids on our team, but one of the biggest contributors we have. She will quietly score 40 points and will never tell you that she did. She’s so humble and is truly one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. We go as she goes. Peyton is no longer a secret to anyone in eastern Kentucky through her successes in track and cross country. She works hard, always has a great attitude and has an incredible future in the sport in front of her.”