High school athletics reached a fever pitch in the Commonwealth last week as state tournaments were contested in lacrosse, track and tennis. Local teams and individuals took home a bevy of hardware in all three sports. Here is a wrap-up of the action:
Going for their fifth straight Kentucky Lacrosse Association title, the St. Xavier Tigers used a second-half rally to force overtime against top-seeded Trinity, and then got a sudden-death goal from junior midfielder Brad Schickel to eke out an 8-7 win on May 18 at Trinityâ€™s Marshall Stadium.
â€œNobody gave us a chance in this game,â€ said Tigers coach Scott Howe, Sr. â€œ(At halftime we said) itâ€™s hot and weâ€™re just going to keep running them, keep pushing themâ€¦and weâ€™ll see who gives at the end. Thank goodness it worked.â€
St. X, which fell to the Rocks 17-10 during the regular season, trailed 4-1 at the half and 6-3 early in the fourth quarter before rattling off three goals in less than four minutes.
Trinity senior Brad Lott then scored his third goal of the game to put his side back on top, but the lead was short-lived as St. Xâ€™s Zayne Smith answered with 42.9 seconds remaining in regulation to make it 7-7 and force extra time.
With less than 10 seconds left in the first OT, Smith found a streaking Schickel.
â€œZayne Smith saw meâ€”I was open all aloneâ€”and barely thread the needle,â€ said Schickel. â€œI caught it about five yards from the goal, shot high and made it.â€
North Oldham fell to Tates Creek 10-7 in the Division II final.
Kentucky Country Day senior Caroline Flowers exploded for five goals and the Bearcats downed Sacred Heart 12-7 in the KLA Division-I girlsâ€™ championship on May 17 at North Oldham.
For KCD (13-3), the win avenged a 13-11 overtime loss to the Valkyries in last yearâ€™s final.
â€œI just really wanted to get revenge on them from last year and bring the state title back to KCD,â€ said Flowers, who was named MVP of the championship game.
It was the Bearcats seventh consecutive finals appearance and third title (2008 and 2010).
â€œWe earned it,â€ said KCD coach Pat McAnulty, whose team raced out to a 7-3 halftime lead. â€œI think the team believed and we saw it through.â€
â€œI couldnâ€™t have asked to end my senior year any better way,â€ said Andrea Wambaugh, who added four goals for KCD.
After going winless in 2011, Eastern beat Oldham County 10-4 to win the Division-II title.
Track – Class AAA
Maleâ€™s bid for a sixth straight boysâ€™ team title came up just short on May 19 at the University of Louisvilleâ€™s Cardinal Park as the Bryan Station 1,600-meter relay team got a crucial second-place finish in the dayâ€™s last event to give the Defenders a 66-65 edge.
The Bulldogs quartet of Mikal Ballard, Ronjae Morris, Taylor Fanagan and Torian Vaughn won the event and earned 10 points, but Bryan Stationâ€™s eight-point second-place finish was just enough for the overall win. Trinity was third with 57 points followed by Eastern with 55.
In the first event of the day St. Xâ€™s 3,200 relay team of Zack Beavin, Vincent Stephen, Nick Reader and Thomas Cave won in 7 minutes and 52.18 seconds to set a new state record.
Ballard senior Ronnie Baker edged Trinity junior James Quick to win the 100 in 10.65 seconds, then took the 400 in 47.18 seconds. Quick came back to beat Baker in the 200 in a state record time of 20.94 seconds.
Butler junior Tretez Kinnaird set the third record of the day when he won the 800 in one minute, 49.96 seconds.
Other local winners included Maleâ€™s Jordan Fields (110 hurdles, 14.57), Oldham Countyâ€™s Luke Weishaar (1,600, 4:19.52), St. Xâ€™s Connor Sheryak (3,200, 9:24.37) and Easternâ€™s 800 relay team of Derayvon Thomas-Randle, Greg Hayes, Jaylen Johnson and Daryus Sanford which won in 1:27.62.
Assumption dominated the distance events and copped the girlsâ€™ team title with 63 Â½ points. The Rockets were followed by North Hardin with 52. Male and Manual tied for third with 43 points.
Katherine Receveur, Melanie Strothman, Amanda Vokoun and Caroline McCaslin kick-started the day for Assumption by winning the 3,200 relay in a state-record time of 9:17.45.
Receveur, a sophomore, also won the 800 (2:15.50) and fellow sophomores Bailey Davis (1,600, 5:03.06) and Emily Bean (3,200, 11:22.90) completed the distance sweep.
Male sophomore Dominique Edmonds defended her 100 hurdles title in 15 seconds flat and the Bulldogs 800 relay team of Edmonds, Jasmine Kraft, Mallory Dunn and Kenya Johnson won in 1:42.55. Johnson, a junior, also won the triple jump, covering 37 feet, nine inches.
Fern Creek senior Alexandria Grant won the discus (118 feet, 9 inches) and Jazmin Smith, a Sacred Heart senior, cleared five feet, four inches to win the high jump.
Paducah Tilghman took the boysâ€™ team title with 59 points followed by North Oldham (48), Lexington Catholic (45) and Central (44).
Central junior Jazz Hayes won the 400 in 48.49 and was second in the 200 with a time of 21.98 seconds. Other local winners were South Oldhamâ€™s Leonard Faul (800, 1:57.09) and Bullitt Eastâ€™s Jacob Duvall (110 hurdles, 14.55). Trevor Troutman and Andrew Okruch, both of Bullitt East, finished 1-2 in the discus.
Central was runner-up in the girlsâ€™ team standings with 61 points, four behind winner Western Hills.
Yellowjackets freshman Jaylyn Johnson had a big day, winning the 300 hurdles in a personal record 45.90 seconds and finishing second in the 100 hurdles and 200. Johnson also ran a leg on Centralâ€™s 1,600 relay team that finished second.
North Oldhamâ€™s Brianne Brown set a meet record with her winning leap of 18 feet, 6 Â½ inches in the long jump. The junior also ran second in the 100.
St. Henry took the boysâ€™ and girlsâ€™ team titles, but it was Holy Crossâ€™ Jacob Thomson who stole the show at Cardinal Park on May 17.
The junior swept the distance events for a second straight year winning the 800 in 1:57.38, the 3,200 in 9:44.58 and setting a new overall state record in the 1,600 with a time of four minutes and eight seconds. It was Thomsonâ€™s third 1,600 title and shattered the decade-old mark of 4:13.6 set by St. X great Bobby Curtis.
The Cougars finished third overall and got a boost from senior Jeremy Glass, who won the shot put (55 feet, 44 Â½ inches) and placed second in the discus (140-1).
Whitefield Academy junior Andy Klaasen won the 100 in 11.09 seconds and defended his 200 title in 22 seconds flat.
On the girlsâ€™ side, Senior Maya Hardin of Holy Cross won the discus (111 feet, four inches) and was second in the shot put (35-7). The Cougars finished seventh as a team.
Sacred Heart junior Katherine English and senior Caitlin Hanley repeated as doubles champs with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Notre Dameâ€™s Alyssa Kennedy and Catriona Shaughnessy at the University of Kentuckyâ€™s Boone/Downing Tennis Center in Lexington on May 19.
In team play, Lone Oak eliminated Sacred Heart in the semifinals before nipping Notre Dame 3-2 for their 11th team title.
Notre Dame senior Madie Cook won in singles by defeating Kennedy Womack of Rose Hill 6-4, 6-4.
CAL sophomore Ellie Gerlach, a two seed, was eliminated in the semifinals 6-3, 6-2 by three seed Kennedy Womack, a junior out of Rose Hill.
St. X junior Sean Donohue edged senior teammate Alex Gornet 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to win the boysâ€™ singles final. It was the second time in nine days that the friends squared off. Donohue beat Gornet 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Sixth Region crown on May 10.
In the semifinals, Gornet took down top seed and defending champion Beck Pennington of Greenwood 6-3, 7-6 (4), while Donohue rallied to beatÂ Lexington Catholicâ€™s Zack Lewis 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
St. X whipped Henry Clay 3-0 in the semifinal round of team competition and then dispatched Lone Oak 3-0 in the final to earn a fourth straight title.
KCDâ€™s fourth-seeded duo of Collier Bouchillon and Matt Browne upset No. 1 Randy Strause and Emerson Walsh of Trinity 6-4, 6-4 to take the doubles crown.
Pleasure Ridge Park basketball standouts Jeril Taylor and Cortez Macklin recently signed to play at Rend Lake Community College (Ill.).
Taylor averaged 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds a game and Macklin added 13.4 points and 5.1 boards for the Panthers, who went 26-7 and fell to Bullitt East in the Sixth Region final.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.