Story by Rusty Ellis
Upper Cumberland athletes put together an impressive showing at Tuesday’s Class A/AA State Track and Field Meet, as four different local area competitors brought home state championships.
York Institute freshman Reese Beaty was the first to bring home the gold, as she took the top spot in the Class A Shot Put competition. Beaty’s best throw came in at 42-8.25 feet, over six feet better than the second-place finisher and a new school record as well.
For Beaty, she says it was a surreal moment to be named a state champion as just a freshman representing Jamestown.
“It’s pretty crazy, but it’s just a good experience being here as a freshman,” Beaty said. “It’s really been a learning experience. At the first of the year, I didn’t even know how to throw, so getting to this point has been a really fun journey.”
She wasn’t the only notable finisher in the Shot Put, as older sister and defending champion Gabby Beaty finished in sixth place with a best of 32-8.5. While she may not have liked her overall place, the elder Beaty says it was still a great experience being back at Spring Fling and is already thinking of ways she can get back here next year.
“It’s really an honor to be back here,” Beaty said. “I was just really happy to be back here and happy to compete…my hope for next year is to be able to focus more on track, and I want to focus on getting stronger and more explosive.”
The gold continued in Fentress County, as Clarkrange junior Mattie Bush placed first overall in the Class A Triple Jump. Bush had her best jump right off the bat, as she completed a 35-9.5 jump to win by over a foot-and-a-half over second place.
Bush was in this same scenario a year ago, and she says she’s put in a lot of work to improve and make an accomplishment like this possible.
“It’s a really big deal to be here, and then to win is just insane,” Bush said. “I got a new PR today, and I’ve been training a lot, so my legs have gotten a lot stronger…I hope to get a 39-foot jump next year and to win first again.”
Macon County’s Isaac Kirby was the next Upper Cumberland representative to earn first-place, as he out-paced everyone in the field in the Class AA boys 1600 meter race. It took a late push in the final lap to take a lead, but Kirby finished strong with a time of 4:20.10 to bring the gold to Lafayette.
The final first-place finisher of the day was Cumberland County’s Treven McGhee, as he earned one of the closest wins in the Class AA boys 300 meter hurdles. The difference between first and second place was a mere .16 seconds, as McGhee finished with a time of 39.85.
As happy as McGhee is, he also says it hasn’t quite set in that he won a state title for something he’s competed in his entire high school career.
“It honestly felt like any other meet,” McGhee said. “Once I get home, I’ll probably realize that that just happened…there’s nothing better than this. State champion, you can’t get better than that.”
Other notable finishers in the event featured a battle in the Class AA boys high jump between White County’s Japheth Richmond and Cumberland’s Carson Conatser. Richmond earned a tie-breaker off of faults for second place, and Conatser rounded out the top-three with third.
Upperman’s Meiah Moss finished in third place in the girls high jump, and Cumberland County’s Jacob Atkinson earned a third-place finish in the boys pole vault.
Livingston Academy’s Jaden Lawrence finished in third place as well in the boys 400 meter dash, as he put together a time of 49.98.
Cumberland County was also well-represented in the Class AA Boys Pole Vault, as Jacob Atkinson finished in third place with a high of 11-06.
In relay action, White County and York Institute each had success in their respective boys 4×100 meter relays. Both teams finished in fourth place overall, as the Warriors team of Jakeb Davis, Christian Kelso, Javyn Strode and Malaki Dowell finished with a time of 44.68.
York’s team of Dalton Barger, Riylin Miller, Aidan Sweathomas and Marc Mitchell finished with a time 44.26 in the Class A relay.
Photos by Rusty Ellis and Kailee Means: