As he blazed around the final turn in the 800-meter run at last weekendâ€™s Eastern Relays, Butler High Schoolâ€™s Tretez Kinnaird was right where he wanted to beâ€”alone.
The 11 runners who started the event with him at the University of Louisvilleâ€™s Cardinal Park were now distant background figures as the junior raced against time.
â€œI knew that last lap I was going to be all by myself and I needed to make a move no matter how much I was hurting,â€ said Kinnaird, who is the defending Class AAA state champion in the 800.
For months Kinnaird had trained to break the 1:50 mark and now he wanted more than anything to do it here, in his hometown, for all his family and friends to see.
â€œWith about a hundred (meters) to go I kicked it into another gear,â€ recalled the Louisville commit. â€œâ€¦ I saw 1:49 and just ducked my head and hoped for the best.â€
When he raised his eyes, the scoreboard read 1:49.97, a new personal best and the third fastest 800 in the U.S. this year.
Kinnairdâ€™s 800 was just one of several memorable performances from the elite meet held April 27 and 28.
Holy Cross junior Jacob Thomson bested a strong field and set a record for the fastest 3,200 ever in Kentucky when he clocked an 8:58.62 on the meetâ€™s first night. The reigning Class A state champion in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 broke former St. Xavier standout Bobby Curtisâ€™ decade-old mark of 8:59.63.
â€œI knew it was going to be a fast race,â€ said Thomson, who also notched a personal best in the 1,600 (4:10.69), good for third place. â€œWith about two laps to go I realized we had a shot to break 9:00 and that was definitely a little bit of motivation.â€
Ronnie Baker, a 2011 All-American and senior at Ballard, won the 100-meter dash in 10.59 and followed it up with a 400 victory in 47.42. Trinity junior James Quick took the 200 in 21.64 and Will Short of Manual claimed the 2,000-meter steeplechase title in 6:39.71.
Assumptionâ€™s Katherine Receveur won the 1,600-meter run (4:56.84) and teammate Emily Bean was tops in the 3,200 (11:05.80). The Rockets won both the 4×800-meter relay (9:21.43) and 1,600 sprint medley relay (4:22.39) to clinch the girlsâ€™ team title. Houston High from Tennessee won the boysâ€™ title.
Other local winners were Sacred Heartâ€™s Jazmin Smith (high jump, 5-4), North Oldhamâ€™s Brianne Brown (long jump, 18-9), Maleâ€™s Kenya Johnson (triple jump, 34-8 Â¼) and Centralâ€™s Jaylyn Johnson (300 hurdles, 46.57). Ballard won the girlsâ€™ 800-meter sprint medley in 1:50.21.
- Christian Academy seniors Haley Rose (tennis, Georgetown College) and Matt DeVries (lacrosse, Wheeling Jesuit University) recently signed national letters-of-intent.
- Cole Killion, a senior at Trinity, signed to play lacrosse at Bellarmine.
- St. Xâ€™s Alan Donhoff was recently voted 2012 Athletic Director of the Year by members of the Kentucky High School Athletic Directors Association.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.
Photo by CHRIS CAHILL | Contributing Photographer