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HCHS sweeps opening track meet

When Ryan Vitatoe took the reins of the Harlan County track program in 2014, the Black Bears fielded a skeleton crew that has shown significant progress with each passing year. That culminated Monday in the boys squad’s first win of the Vitatoe era as the Black Bears dominated in an all-comers meet at Coal Miners Memorial Stadium.

The victory was the boys’ first since claiming the regional championship in 2011.

“It’s taken awhile to get our boys into this position,” Vitatoe said. “We have more speed out this year than we’ve had in a long time, and it makes all the difference for our boys program. We still have a lot of moves to make, but I’m really excited about the group of guys we have out this year.”

Harlan County defeated second-place Bell County by 33.5 points despite only winning two individual events. Senior Kyton Joseph won the long jump with a jump of 18 feet, 2 inches, defeating teammate Devon Rodrigues by three-quarters of an inch. Senior Willie Doan won the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 17.72 seconds.

The Black Bears got a boost from eight second-place finishes. In addition to Rodrigues’ showing in the long jump, Hunter Owens (400-meter dash, 56.79), Doan (300-meter hurdles, 46.80), Joseph (triple jump, 35-9) and all four relay teams were runners-up in their respective events. Sophomore Phillip Helton set a new school record in the pole vault with 9 feet, 6 inches, good enough for a third-place finish.

Harlan posted a couple of event wins despite having a number of athletes out due to spring break. John Brock, a junior, won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.58 seconds, and freshman Story Miller had a high of 10 feet, 6 inches to win the pole vault.

“John Brady Brock and Story Miller show up every day with smiles on their faces and work hard,” Harlan assistant coach Tara Bryson said. “Their successes attest to their hard work. I’m very proud of both of them.”

Knox Central finished third, one point behind Bell County. Middlesboro and Leslie County rounded out the top five. Harlan finished eighth.

The Harlan County girls also left no doubt as they defeated second-place Middlesboro by 25 points.

Junior Madison Blanton won the long jump with 14 feet, 6.5 inches, and came in second while setting a new school record in the triple jump (29-8.25). Blanton was also part of the 4 x 200-meter relay team that was the Lady Bears’ only other event winner; she was joined by Phebe McHargue, Abby Stephens and Hannah Wood in a 2:02.06 effort.

“Those were big individual wins tonight for Kyton and Maddie (Blanton) and Willie. All of these kids are so instrumental in what we do as a team,” Vitatoe said. “They are battle-tested veterans who do anything they can to help our program.”

McHargue, a junior, finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.88 seconds. Sophomore Morgan Blakley (800-meter run, 2:50.19), eighth-grader Summer Farley (3,200-meter run, 15:10.38), Kassydee Owens (high jump, 4-6; and long jump, 13-11.50), Amber Allen (pole vault, 6-6), and the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams also posted runner-up finishes.

Junior Breann Turner also set a new school record in discus with a throw of 73 feet, 2 inches, earning third place in the process.

“This was a great night for us to open the season on,” Vitatoe said. “I knew we had a lot of new talent coming into the program this year, but I was pleasantly surprised with our performance tonight. We had three school records fall in the first meet of the season, and that’s very impressive.

“We have a lot of areas we have to improve on moving forward, but I’m very excited about the pieces we have and, more importantly, the attitude we have as a team. This is a really selfless group that wants to improve. That’s an exciting characteristic for a coach to see in a team.”

Letcher County Central finished third in the meet, 80 points behind the Lady Bears and 55 behind Middlesboro. Knott County Central and Knox Central finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Both Harlan County and Harlan return to action Thursday at the Tommy Smith Invitational at Knox Central.

The top three in each event and all local finishers are listed below:

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Girls

100-meter dash: 1) Kathryn Hunter, Knott Co. Central, 13.24; 2) Jada Higgins, Knott County Central, 13.72; 3) Sameerah Frazier, Letcher Co. Central, 13.91; 4) Phebe McHargue, Harlan County, 13.97; 6) Hannah Wood, Harlan County, 14.43; 7) Makayla Walters, Harlan County, 14.82; 8) Reanna Middleton, Harlan County, 14.95.

200-meter dash: 1) Kathryn Hunter, Knott Co. Central, 27.45; 2) Phebe McHargue, Harlan County, 28.88; 3) Lenia Miracle, Bell County, 29.08; 9) Hannah Wood, Harlan County, 30.89; 12) Reanna Middleton, Harlan County, 31.34; 18) Amber Allen, Harlan County, 33.93.

400-meter dash: 1) Jocelyn Wright, Middlesboro, 1:09.88; 2) Karlee Kincer, Letcher Co. Central, 1:12.90; 3) Brooklyn Grigsby, Middlesboro, 1:13.05; 5) Baili Boggs, Harlan County, 1:14.59; 12) Jacey Lewis, Harlan County, 1:19.50; 17) Kelly Beth Hoskins, Harlan County, 1:21.62; 23) Makenna Jackson, Harlan, 1:26.93; 29) Mia Pace, Harlan, 1:33.52.

800-meter run: 1) Emily White, Letcher Co. Central, 2:45.46; 2) Morgan Blakley, Harlan County, 2:50.19; 3) Brea Browning, Bell County, 2:50.86; 9) Ariel Madden, Harlan County, 3:09.32; 10) Taylor Rowe, Harlan County, 3:11.98; 18) Katelyn Hensley, Harlan County, 3:32.25; 19) Makenna Jackson, Harlan, 3:33.73; 21) Hannah Pittman, Harlan County, 3:41.36; 23) Amanda Caudill, Harlan County, 3:44.20; 24) Abby Vitatoe, Harlan County, 3:47.09; 25) Gracen Anderson, Harlan County, 3:47.40; 26) Jordan Blevins, Harlan County, 3:48.09; 27) Caitlyn Rice, Harlan County, 3:49.38; 28) Hailey Madden, Harlan County, 4:43.70.

1,600-meter run: 1) Mallory James, Middlesboro, 6:06.65; 2) Kinsey Forgey, Leslie County, 6:14.18; 3) Kennadi Larew, Middlesboro, 6:20.48; 4) Morgan Blakley, Harlan County, 6:20.60; 6) Lucy Bryson, Harlan, 6:40.32; 8) Summer Farley, Harlan County, 6:55.17; 9) Cadance Ferguson, Harlan County, 7:12.88; 11) Ariel Madden, Harlan County, 7:14.76; 18) Amanda Caudill, Harlan County, 8:17.71; 19) Caitlyn Rice, Harlan County, 8:23.75; 20) Hannah Pittman, Harlan County, 8:27.94; 21) Haylee Couch, Harlan County, 8:30.12; 23) Gracen Anderson, Harlan County, 8:37.50; 24) Jordan Blevins, Harlan County, 8:52.10; 26) Lainey Garrett, Harlan County, 10:01.32; 27) Hailey Madden, Harlan County, 11:04.45.

3,200-meter run: 1) Mallory James, Middlesboro, 13:48.99; 2) Summer Farley, Harlan County, 15:10.38; 3) Breezy Epperson, Harlan County, 15:30.02; 5) Ariel Madden, Harlan County, 16:11.00; 6) Cadance Ferguson, Harlan County, 16:13.07; 7) Laura Creech, Harlan County, 18:09.44.

100-meter hurdles: 1) Haven Hatfield, Middlesboro, 19.77; 2) Haley Morales, Bell County, 20.48; 3) Abby Stephens, Harlan County, 20.48; 6) Tracey Pryor, Harlan, 23.60.

300-meter hurdles: 1) Monica Brown, Knox Central, 52.90; 2) Haven Hatfield, Middlesboro, 56.66; 3) Bailey Woody, Middlesboro, 58.21; 4) Baili Boggs, Harlan County, 59.42; 5) Mekenzie Cornett, Harlan County, 1:04.71; 10) Tracey Pryor, Harlan, 1:11.77.

4 x 100-meter relay: 1) Knott Co. Central, 52.21; 2) Harlan County, 56.50; 3) Letcher Co. Central, 57.77; 7) Harlan, 1:01.89.

4 x 200-meter relay: 1) Harlan County, 2:02.06; 2) Letcher Co. Central, 2:02.52; 3) Middlesboro, 2:03.14.

4 x 400-meter relay: 1) Middlesboro, 4:46.69; 2) Harlan County, 4:56.91; 3) Letcher Co. Central, 4:57.49; 6) Harlan, 5:27.13.

4 x 800-meter relay: 1) Middlesboro, 11:11.61; 2) Bell County, 11:51.22; 3) Harlan County, 11:55.51; 6) Harlan, 13:18.02.

High jump: 1) Amber Brown, Knox Central, 5-0; 2) Kassydee Owens, Harlan County, 4-6; 3) Megan Thomas, Knott Co. Central, 4-6; 6) Madison Blanton, Harlan County, 4-2.

Long jump: 1) Madison Blanton, Harlan County, 14-6.5; 2) Kassydee Owens, Harlan County, 13:11.5; 3) Abby Stephens, Harlan County, 13-7.5; 9) Katelyn Hensley, Harlan County, 11-4.

Triple jump: 1) Jada Higgins, Knott Co. Central, 33-3; 2) Madison Blanton, Harlan County, 29-8.25; 3) Amber Brown, Knox Central, 28-11; 4) Kassydee Owens, Harlan County, 28-9.5.

Pole vault: 1) Ashley Visoso, Knox Central, 8-0; 2) Amber Allen, Harlan County, 6-6; 3) Abby Vitatoe, Harlan County, 6-6.

Discus: 1) Laneisha Lashon, Leslie County, 76-0; 2) Timesha Brooks, Middlesboro, 73-8.5; 3) Breann Turner, Harlan County, 73-2; 8) Kelly Beth Hoskins, Harlan County, 57-5; 9) Kathryn Bailey, Harlan County, 56-3.5; 14) Dixie Ewing, Harlan County, 50-3; 16) Janice Dean, Harlan County, 47-5; 24) Breonna Rhymer, Harlan County, 41-5.5; 25) Kiki Dean, Harlan County, 41-1; 28) Jessica Caudill, Harlan County, 31-10.

Shot put: 1) Timesha Brooks, Middlesboro, 32-1.5; 2) Faith Long, Pineville, 30-9.5; 3) Brooke Fannin, Knott Central, 28-8.5; 9) Breann Turner, Harlan County, 24-3; 20) Kathryn Bailey, Harlan County, 20-9; 22) Breonna Rhymer, Harlan County, 19-10; 23) Dixie Ewing, Harlan County, 19-3; 24) Kiki Dean, Harlan County, 16-9; 26) Janice Dean, Harlan County, 16-3; 29) Jessica Caudill, Harlan County, 14-5.

Boys

100-meter dash: 1) Jermel Carton, Knox Central, 11.72; 2) Ashlund Dennis, Bell County, 12.03; 3) John Brock, Harlan, 12.05; 10) Colby King, Harlan County, 12.39; 11) Matt Brown, Harlan County, 12.40; 12) Caleb Carmical, Harlan County, 12.54; 14) Killian Ledford, Harlan, 12.57; 16) Ethan Clem, Harlan, 12.68; 24) Hunter Mefford, Harlan County, 13.21; 30) Shaun Warren, Harlan County, 14.58.

200-meter dash: 1) Ashlund Dennis, Bell County, 24.18; 2) Jermel Carton, Knox Central, 24.23; 3) Colby King, Harlan County, 24.82; 6) Caleb Carmical, Harlan County, 25.74; 7) Matt Brown, Harlan County, 26.03; 13) Hunter Mefford, Harlan County, 26.78; 22) Austin Caudill, Harlan County, 30.42; 26) Antone Stewart, Harlan, 34.87.

400-meter dash: 1) Steven Poore, Middlesboro, 56.05; 2) Hunter Owens, Harlan County, 56.79; 3) Tyler Dixon, Leslie County, 58.75; 9) Hunter Mefford, Harlan County, 1:00.28; 14) Tate Bryson, Harlan, 1:04.97; 21) Antone Stewart, Harlan, 1:27.55.

800-meter run: 1) Colton Ratliff, Letcher Co. Central, 2:15.07; 2) Dawson Atkins, Bell County, 2:16.32; 3) Douglas Miracle, Bell County, 2:17.48; 9) James Chasteen, Harlan County, 2:26.20; 10) Josh Lee, Harlan County, 2:29.58; 15) Cooper McHargue, Harlan County, 2:44.43; 16) Matt Yeary, Harlan County, 2:45.79; 17) Charles David Morton, Harlan, 2:46.69; 19) Tate Bryson, Harlan, 2:47.47; 24) Daniel Joseph, Harlan County, 2:52.00; 25) Austin Crain, Harlan County, 2:52.46; 30) Jody Summers, Harlan County, 3:10.15; 32) James Pinkley, Harlan County, 3:16.00; 34) Andrew Yeary, Harlan County, 3:20.40; 35) Andrew Crawford, Harlan County, 3:20.86.

1,600-meter run: 1) Mitchell Miracle, Bell County, 4:52.82; 2) Jacob Miller, Bell County, 5:07.41; 3) Steven Poore, Middlesboro, 5:14.35; 5) Alex Lewis, Harlan County, 5:20.04; 6) Daniel Joseph, Harlan County, 5:20.76; 7) Caleb Brock, Harlan County, 5:21.43; 11) Zack Carmical, Harlan County, 5:29.30; 19) Cooper McHargue, Harlan County, 5:50.13; 20) Austin Crain, Harlan County, 6:07.62; 21) James Pinkley, Harlan County, 6:07.71; 22) Charles David Morton, Harlan, 6:09.27; 24) Ethan Shepherd, Harlan, 6:11.97; 31) Breydy Daniels, Harlan County, 6:49.63; 32) Lucas Epperson, Harlan County, 6:52.32; 33) Tyler Plamp, Harlan County, 6:54.60; 34) Jody Summers, Harlan County, 6:57.96; 35) Andrew Yeary, Harlan County, 6:59.16; 37) Andrew Crawford, Harlan County, 7:20.73.

3,200-meter run: 1) Ozzy Norris, Middlesboro, 11:30.18; 2) Caleb Brock, Harlan County, 11:30.61; 3) Tyler Jones, Pineville, 12:01.20; 4) Zack Carmical, Harlan County, 12:06.62; 5) Story Miller, Harlan, 12:11.16; 9) Matt Yeary, Harlan County, 14:01.23; 11) Breydy Daniels, Harlan County, 15:07.88; 12) Lucas Epperson, Harlan County, 15:09.31.

110-meter hurdles: 1) Willie Doan, Harlan County, 17.72; 2) Joey Eldridge, Leslie County, 17.91; 3) Tyler Boggs, Letcher Co. Central, 17.96.

300-meter hurdles: 1) John Brock, Harlan, 44.58; 2) Willie Doan, Harlan County, 46.80; 3) Sean Whitehead, Pineville, 47.44.

4 x 100-meter relay: 1) Bell County, 46.89; 2) Harlan County, 47.29; 3) Middlesboro, 47.84.

4 x 200-meter relay: 1) Middlesboro, 1:39.32; 2) Harlan County, 1:39.58; 3) Leslie County, 1:46.10.

4 x 400-meter relay: 1) Bell County, 3:52.82; 2) Harlan County, 3:59.01; 3) Letcher Co. Central, 3:59.56; 5) Harlan, 4:32.06.

4 x 800-meter relay: 1) Bell County, 9:01.72; 2) Harlan County, 9:26.01; 3) Pineville, 9:54.44.

High jump: 1) Joey Eldridge, Leslie County, 6-0; 2) Steven Poore, Middlesboro, 5-8; 3) Jacob Logan, Knox Central, 5-4; 6) Devon Rodrigues, Harlan County, 5-0; 9) Kyton Joseph, Harlan County, 5-0.

Long jump: 1) Kyton Joseph, Harlan County, 18-2; 2) Devon Rodrigues, Harlan County, 18-1.25; 3) Jason Jones, Bell County, 18-1; 15) Gavin Spurlock, Harlan County, 14-6.25.

Triple jump: 1) Caleb Teague, Knox Central, 37-4; 2) Kyton Joseph, Harlan County, 35-9; 3) Blake Feltner, Leslie County, 35-2; 9) Gavin Spurlock, Harlan County, 27-3.

Pole vault: 1) Story Miller, Harlan, 10-6; 2) Nick Spangler, Letcher Co. Central, 10-0; 3) Phillip Helton, Harlan County, 9-6.

Discus: 1) Donovan Arthur, Knox Central, 100-0; 2) Draven Goins, Hazard, 92-3; 3) Kennith Barrett, Knox Central, 88-2; 4) Jake Bush, Harlan County, 81-8; 6) T.J. Bryant, Harlan County, 74-6; 12) Austin Smith, Harlan County, 62-3; 14) Andrew Crawford, Harlan County, 59-8; 16) Joseph Gordon, Harlan County, 58-2; 18) Austin Caudill, Harlan County, 54-8; 20) Joseph Ferrell, Harlan County, 46-2; 21) Dylan Simpson, 44-0; 22) Kobe Grace, Harlan County, 41-5; 23) Edmund Dye, Harlan County, 33-1.

Shot put: 1) Skylar Mitchell, Leslie County, 41-3; 2) Donovan Arthur, Knox Central, 39-9; 3) Jake Bush, Harlan County, 37-6.5; 11) Jordan Howard, Harlan, 32-3; 12) Austin Smith, Harlan County, 32-1.5; 13) Austin Caudill, Harlan County, 31-7; 17) Franklin Davis, Harlan, 30-4.5; 20) T.J. Bryant, Harlan County, 27-11; 22) Joseph Gordon, Harlan County, 26-10; 25) Kobe Grace, Harlan County, 26-3.5; 29) Joseph Ferrell, Harlan County, 22-10; 30) Dylan Simpson, Harlan County, 22-0.5; 31) Andrew Crawford, Harlan County, 20-9.5; 33) Edmund Dye, Harlan County, 19.4.