HCHS competes in 2A state meet; six earn medals


The Harlan County High School track team competed in the 2A state meet on Friday in Lexington.

Harlan County’s 2022 trip to the Class 2A state track meet will be remembered for the success of its throwers as five earned medals on Friday in Lexington to help the Lady Bears score 10 points for 25th place and the Bears score 11 points to tie with Bell County for 17th place.
“I’m very proud of all of our kids for their performances. Everyone came into the meet really focused on their events and there wasn’t anyone who was really mesmerized by the facilities, which is a sign of good focus. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed with this team,” Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe said. “We had several place in the top five in their events and lots who scored in the state championships, which is a great accomplishment. We had a total of five medals brought home from state.”
Seth Robinson and William Jones led the Bears by winning the unified shot put at 62-09.75
“I’m very proud of Seth and William for their win in the Unified Shot. This is Seth’s second straight state championship, and I’m really proud of him,” Vitatoe said.
Taylor Lunsford, a junior, had the top finish as she placed third in the shot put at 33-5.75
I’m very proud of Taylor. To come in and finish in the top three in the state in back-to-back seasons is a huge accomplishment. She sets herself up for a great senior year,” Vitatoe said.
Lindsey Browning, a senior, was fifth in the discus at 100-05.
“What a great way for Lindsey to finish her career at HC. She’s been a natural in the discus since she joined the program and is deserving of a medal. To hit such a big PR and be the first girl to hit triple digits in the discus at HC was a great way to close her career,” Vitatoe said.
Connor Blevins, a junior, was fifth in the shot put at 47-07.25.
Connor has really hit his stride in the last few weeks of the season,” Vitatoe said. “I’m proud of his hard work, and like Taylor, the sky is the limit for his senior season.”
Vitatoe said much of the success of the throws can be attributed to the hard work of coach Ron Daniels.
“I want to commend coach Daniels for his work with our throwers,” Vitatoe said. “He definitely had them prepared for a huge day at the state meet.”
Matthew Yeary, a senior, was sixth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.19.
“Matt has been one of the top hurdlers in both events all season long, and I’m glad he was able to cement it at the state meet,” Vitatoe said. “He’s been so important to our program and I’m happy for him to go out this way.”
Vitatoe said it was a memorable season for the HC track program.
“One of the things we talked a lot about coming into the meet was what an opportunity and privilege it is to be here,” he said. “So, if we had someone qualify in three events, they had the responsibility to compete as hard as they could in all of those, because there’s no guarantee that the opportunity comes again, and there’s lots of kids who’d love the chance to be there. I’m proud of these kids for all they’ve done this season. This has definitely been a special season. We had 10 school records broken this year on the boys side and six broken on the girls side, which is incredible. I’m so thankful to have had the chance to work with this group. It’s been a whole lot of fun.”

Vitatoe provided a breakdown of the HCHS performances at the KHSAA Class 2A State Championships:
Girls Shot Put – Taylor Lunsford, 3rd place – 33-5.75
Boys Shot Put – Connor Blevins, 5th place – 47-07.25
Girls Discus – Lindsey Browning, 5th place – 100-05
Boys Long Jump – Gavon Spurlock, 12th place – 19-07.75
Boys High Jump – Gavon Spurlock, 18th place – 5-08
Girls Pole Vault – Madison Daniels, 9th place – 7-06
Taylor Clem, 15th place – 7-00
Boys Pole Vault – Landon McCreary, 12th place – 10-06
Jayce Brown – NH.
Boys 4×800 – Austin Crain, Andrew Yeary, Caleb Schwenke, Daniel Joseph, 18th place – 9:08.15.
Girls 100 Hurdles – Paige Phillips, 11th – 17.56
Boys 110 Hurdles – Matthew Yeary, 6th place – 16.19
Dallas Sergent, 18th place – 17.79
Boys 100 Meter Dash – Demarco Hopkins, 22nd place – 12.08
Girls 4×200 Relay – Taytum Griffin, Emilee Eldridge, Brianna Howard,
Ella Karst, 17th place – 1:54.42 (PR)
Boys 4×200 Relay – Luke Carr, Luke Kelly, Demarco Hopkins, Thomas Jordan, 16th place – 1:34.12 (New School Record)
Girls 1600 run – Peyton Lunsford, 13th place – 5:45.34
Boys 1600 run – Daniel Joseph, 19th place – 4:56.95
Boys 4×100 relay – Luke Kelly, Luke Carr, Demarco Hopkins, Thomas Jordan, 22nd place – 46.16
Boys 300 Low Hurdles – Matthew Yeary, 5th place – 41.87
Girls 800 run – Peyton Lunsford, 16th place – 2:33.73
Boys 800 run – Andrew Yeary, 12th place – 2:04.42
Girls 3200 run – Peyton Lunsford, 17th place – 12:48.96
Boys 3200 run – Daniel Joseph, 22nd place – 11:07.66
Boys 4×400 Relay – Hunter Collett, Austin Crain, Cooper McHargue, Matthew Yeary, 16th place – 3:43.76
Unified Shot Put – Seth Robinson and William Jones,
1st place – 62-09.75
Kaleb Michael and Tanner Griffin, 11th place – 49-00.25