HCHS will be the site of two Class 4A regional meets

Hundreds of high school athletes from central and eastern Kentucky will descend upon Coal Miners’ Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, May 25, and Wednesday, June 2.
Harlan County High School is hosting the Class 2A Region 7 Track and Field Meet on Tuesday, and the Class 2A Region 5 Track and Field Meet on June 2.
“We are extremely excited for the entire Harlan County community to be hosting two such prestigious KHSAA sanctioned events here in Harlan County,” said Harlan County High School Athletic Director Eugene Farmer. “Coach Ryan Vitatoe really sets the gold standard as far as track and field in Eastern Kentucky and this will really put our district, our outstanding facilities, and our sensational track and field program on full display.”
An estimated 150 student-athletes in Region 7 are expected from Belfry, Estill County, Floyd Central, Knott County Central, Lawrence County, Letcher Central, Magoffin County, Perry County Central, Pike County Central and Powell County compete in the Region 7 event on Tuesday.
More than 200 are expected to compete in the Region 5 meet on June 2. These will include student-athletes from Bell County, Boyle County, Casey County, Clay County, Corbin, East Jessamine, Garrard County, Harlan County, Knox Central, Lincoln County, McCreary Central, Mercer County, Rockcastle County, Russell County and Wayne County.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley says the competitions provide our community with opportunities to show what we have to offer in hopes the athletes and parents will return for recreational visits.
“These types of events are another element of our tourism industry that bring people to Harlan County for school activities. We want to showcase our county to them in hopes that they may come back and enjoy the other things we have to offer,” said Mosley. “I applaud coach Vitatoe, Mr. Farmer, school and district officials for proactively scheduling these functions which bring people to Harlan County.”
To say HCHS Coach Ryan Vitatoe, his team and parents are excited to host the events would be an understatement.
“It’s a big deal to have the opportunity to host regional meets in Harlan County,” said Vitatoe. “This is our third time hosting. We hosted 2A7 in back-to-back years when we were part of that region. This is our first time hosting 2A5 as we are new to that region this year. This is good for our school, our kids, and our program. Most of the time we are on a bus for more than three hours to get to our regional site. Having this opportunity to be at home is excellent, and a special way for our seniors to go out.”
The May 25th competitions begin at 5:30 p.m. June 2 events begin at 4 p.m. There will be a $5 charge for adults and $1 for students.
Vitatoe admits it is a “huge deal to come out and support our kids. Typically, we have only family and friends of our team members who show up to watch. It would be amazing to have more fans there cheering on our kids. This is a tough region we are in. We would love a home field advantage.”
Vitatoe says a person needs to experience only one track and field meet to become a fan of the sport.
“It’s really hard to explain,” he said. “Track is the most entertaining sport that you can watch. Few people realize the discipline, dedication, and technical prowess it takes to be successful in track and field. It is not just ‘lining up and running.’ I’ve never invited anyone to a meet who has ever left and not been glowing about what they’ve witnessed.”