King captures two more state titles

Published 10:45 am Friday, May 18, 2018

With two regional basketball titles and three regional victories in both shot put and discus, few in Harlan County sports history can match the kind of postseason success that Mackenzie King has enjoyed in her high school career.

The Harlan High School senior capped a brilliant career in the best possible fashion Thursday, winning the discus and successfully defending last year’s state championship in shot put at the Class A state championship meet at the UK Track and Field Complex.

King won the discus with a throw of 122 feet, defeating Owensboro Catholic’s Faith Hogg by 3 feet, 3 inches. The throw smashed King’s school record by nearly 9 feet and was only 3 feet, 7 inches shy of the Kentucky Class A state record. King also held off Hogg in the shot put with a best throw of 36 feet, 9 inches to repeat in the event, winning by 8.25 inches.

“After I beat the school record I felt more confident throwing discus than I had in the past. I was leading on Saturday with a 118’4. I really felt like that would win it. But, before my final throw in the first round a girl from Owensboro Catholic threw a 118’9. As finals came I knew how important it was to throw near a 120 to win. My second to last throw I went in and threw a 122 to win. Throwing a 122 is something I had never imagined happening. The throw itself was a major accomplishment,” King said.

“She is one of those athletes that all coaches dream of having,” Harlan coach Tara Posey said. “She works outside practice to improve and has traveled all over to perfect her throwing. She is going to be greatly missed by all programs she has been a part of here at Harlan High School.”

King, who has opted to continue her basketball career at the University of Virginia at Wise, has fielded numerous offers for track, her coach said.

“Not all kids are natural leaders, but Mackenzie is. She has given up multiple college offers, (including) one from UK, to play basketball at UVA-Wise. I hope that program realizes just what an asset they are getting,” Posey said.

“Winning both events is what I dreamed of doing since my freshman year,” King said. “I put so much work in and I finally was able to do what I knew I was capable of doing. I’ll definitely miss being on the Harlan track and field team.”

Four other Harlan athletes also participated in the meet.

Freshman Story Miller placed 11th in the boys pole vault with a best jump of 10 feet, 6 inches.

“That’s awesome for a ninth-grader,” Posey said. “He goes above and beyond to better himself to be the best pole vaulter he can be. If he continues to work like he is, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be one of the top pole vaulters in the state.”

John Brady Brock, a junior, was 12th in both the 100-meter dash (11.59 seconds) and the 300-meter hurdles (43.53 seconds), and should enter the 2019 season as a regional favorite in both events.

“He still has another shot next season to improve even more than he already has,” Posey said.

Junior Carter Barnes was 20th in the long jump with a jump of 18 feet, 8.25 inches.

“He hadn’t competed in long jump much this season because we had to move him onto our relay teams, but he stepped up and competed like he had been doing it all season long,” Posey said.

Seventh-grader Raegan Jones participated in the girls high jump but did not clear a height.

“She is only in seventh grade and is clearing 4-6 doing the scissor kick,” Posey said. “Once she works on her form, she will be a contender. Competing at the state level was only her third time ever doing the event.”