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It has been quite the athletic year for Michael Barry.
Barry, a senior at Shelby County High School, was statistically one of the top wide receivers in Class AAAAA for the Rockets’ resurgent football team last fall.
He was the leading scorer on a boys' basketball team that won as many games this past winter as it did the previous two combined.
Then, last week he won regional titles in both the 110-meter hurdles and the pole vault for Shelby County’s track & field team.
A state title would be the perfect way to cap off the year for Barry.
“That’d be fun,” he said after practice Wednesday afternoon.
He'll have that chance today in the Class AA meet of the KHSAA Track & Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park (field events begin at 2:30 p.m., running events start at 4 p.m.). Barry is seeded No. 1 in the 110 hurdles and No. 4 in the pole vault, and his 1,600 relay team is seeded seventh.
“My goal is to be state champion in the hurdles,” Barry said.
After finishing sixth in the state in that event as a sophomore Barry entered last year’s state meet seeded sixth. He finished 11th in 15.9 seconds.
“It was my worst time of the year,” said Barry, whose personal-best time of 15.05 came last season.
“He clipped a couple hurdles halfway through and lost his impetus,” Shelby County Coach Nick Edwards said.
Barry won the 110 in 15.30 seconds in the Class 2A, Region 3 meet last Wednesday at North Oldham.
“His form and technique going over looked really smooth,” Edwards said. “It may have been his best race of the year.”
He might need another of his best races today. Paducah Tilghman sophomore Marcus Corbett, seeded No. 2, is right behind Barry with a time of 15.34.
“It’ll probably take fifteen-flat to win it, but he can do that; he’s done it before,” Edwards said. “He hasn’t had that race yet where everything was on, and he was pushed. If he can get out of the blocks well, [it will be good] because the last half of his race is better than it was last year.”
In addition to trying to put last year behind him, Barry will also be carrying the torch for Shelby County hurdlers after his teammate and good friend, Zach Shipley, the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles, was injured in the region meet and failed to qualify for state.
Barry’s goal in the pole vault is a top-3 finish. He cleared a personal-best 11 feet, 6 inches at region, but that’s still 2 feet behind top-seeded Brooks Divine of Marion County.
Shelby’s 1,600 relay team, which also includes senior Stuart Orange, sophomore Jacob Gowin and freshman Luke Dove (who replaced Shipley at region last week), could score points as well.
Other boys to watch
Gowin, seeded sixth in the pole vault and the high jump, is coming off a personal-best pole vault of 11 feet – 1 foot over his previous best – at regional. Orange, meanwhile, is seeded 11th in the 400.
Leading the way for Collins is junior Justin Downs, who is seeded fourth in the 800. He’s coming off a personal-best (2:00.36) at region. Downs is also one-fourth (along with freshman Ryan Hunter and seniors Devon Fielding and Nolan Petty) of the Titans’ eighth-seeded 3,200 relay team.
Also for Collins, junior Alex Sells, coming off a runner-up finish in the region, is seeded 13th in the 1,600. His classmate, Masai Whyte, is 18th in the 100, and senior Terez Smith is 18th in the 110 hurdles, 12th in the 300 hurdles and 26th in the high jump.
Girls to watch
Collins eighth-grader Gabby Karas is the overwhelming favorite in both the 1,600 and 3,200. She’s the defending champ in the 1,600 and is top-seeded by 14 seconds in that event and by 31 seconds in the 3,200. Karas’ biggest competition likely will come from the clock as she tries for a sub-5 minute 1,600 and a sub-11 minute 3,200.
Meanwhile Collins sophomore Shai Anne Moorman is coming off a region title in the high jump. She’s seeded third in the event at State.
"I want to win; that's my goal," she said.
Moorman, who is only in her second year of high jumping (she did it in eighth grade but didn't jump as a freshman), has cleared 5-2 in practice and said her goal at state is 5-4.
Asked the secret of her quick success, Moorman said, "I give myself little pep talks. They seem to work."
Shelby County senior Jamie Bradley is seeded fifth in the shot put and 11th in the discus, after finishing in second and third, respectively, in those events at region.
"My goal is to do well, at least do a lot better than I did last year," she said.
Bradley entered last year's state meet seeded fifth in the shot put and seventh in the discus but finished 15th and 11th in those events respectively.
“Nerves got the best of her last year, but I think she learned quite a bit from that experience,” Edwards said. “She’ll be a lot more comfortable going in this time. She’s just got to relax and let her technique take over.”
It did in practice Wednesday, when Bradley threw a personal-best 34 feet in the shot put.
"I'm going to just be relaxed. I can't worry too much about it," she said of her approach this year.
Shelby sophomore Olivia Matlin is seeded third in the triple jump, which isn’t too shabby considering this is her first year of track and field and she didn’t even attempt a triple jump until the Tuesday after spring break.
At the region meet she eclipsed her personal-best by 3 feet on her way to third.
“She’s one that just really showed up and competed,” Edwards said. “If she gets another three-feet PR, she could be state champion.”
The Rockets’ 400 relay team, which consists of junior Kate Schaefer, sophomore Cali Mills and seniors Gina Stanula and Abby Siegel, is seeded eighth, and their 800 relay team, of Mills, Stanula, Siegel and freshman Madison Todd is seeded 11th. Individually, Stanula is 11th in the 300 hurdles, and Siegel is 14th in the 400.
Shelby, seeded entrants for state meet
3,200 relay –1. Mason County 8:20.26; 8. Collins (Ryan Hunter, Justin Downs, Devon Fielding, Nolan Petty, Dvontre Coleman, Jacob Hershberger, Alex Sells, Stevie Smith) 8:36.49.
110 hurdles –1. Michael Barry (SCHS) 15.30; 18. Terez Smith (CHS) 17.09.
100 –1. Jazz Hayes (Louisville Central) 10.77; 18. Masai Whyte (CHS) 11.40.
1,600 –1. Nicholas Laureano (Lexington Catholic) 4:31.22; 13. Sells (CHS) 4:44.86.
400 –1. Hayes (Central) 48.62; 11. Stuart Orange (SCHS) 52.38.
300 hurdles –1. Anthony Thompson (Central) 40.43; 12. Smith (CHS) 42.71.
800 –1. Conner Cloyd (Christian Academy of Louisville) 1:57.79; 4. Downs (CHS) 2:00.36.
1,600 relay –1. Mason County 3:29.79; 7. Shelby County (Barry, Jacob Gowin, Luke Brown, Orange, Trey Biram, Mikah Mattingly, Bobby Desmond, Zach Shipley) 3:35.78; 23. Collins (Coleman, Michael Nash, Neil Plante, Gabe Nash, Downs, Dashane King, Smith) 3:43.79.
High jump –1. Laney Stone (Rowan County) 6-6; 6. Gowin (SCHS) 6-0; 26. Smith (CHS) 5-8.
Pole vault –1. Brooks Divine (Marion County) 13-6; 4. Barry (SCHS) 11-6; 6. Gowin (SCHS) 11-0.
800 relay –1. Central 1:46.33; 11. Shelby County (Abby Siegel, Cali Mills, Gina Stanula, Claire Schaefer, Kate Schaefer, Olivia Matlin, Samantha Orange, Madison Todd) 1:51.71.
1,600 –1. Gabby Karas (CHS) 5:07.69.
400 relay –1. Central 50.46; 8. Shelby County (K. Schaefer, Mills, Siegel, Stanula, Matlin, Orange, C. Schaefer, Todd) 52.77; 17. Collins (Brittney Smith, Sarah Erhard, Lee Johnson, Zantasha King, Evoni Daugherty) 53.88.
300 hurdles –1. Abby Wiggins (West Jessamine) 45.49; 11. Stanula (SCHS) 49.79.
400 –1. Anna Curlin (Western Hills) 59.28; 14. Siegel (SCHS) 1:03.31.
3,200 –1. Karas (CHS) 11:01.36.
1,600 relay –1. Central 4:09.78; 13. Shelby County (Matlin, Mills, K. Schaefer, Siegel, Orange, C. Schaefer, Stanula, Todd) 4:25.91.
Shot put– 1. Jaycey Kendall (Caldwell County) 34-8; 5. Jamie Bradley (SCHS) 33-0.
Discus –1. Amy Johnson (Rockcastle County) 112-4; 11. Bradley (SCHS) 93-2.
Triple jump –1. Demondrea Starnes (Central) 35-5; 3. Matlin (SCHS) 33-8.
High jump –1. Lily Lowe (Calloway County) 5-2; 3. Shai Anne Moorman (CHS) 5-0.