All three Oldham schools competed in a state track meet on June 3-4 at the University of Kentucky.
North Oldham’s boys team placed third at the 2A boys meet, and the girls team finished 13th.
At the 3A meet, Oldham County’s girls team finished tied for seventh place, and the boys team took 13th. South Oldham’s boys team finished tied for sixth behind three state championship performances in the field events, and the girls team placed 27th.
North Oldham’s boys team delivered the strongest performance of the weekend across all of the county’s teams, finishing third with a score of 62 points, behind only Mercy County’s 94 and Highlands’ 70.
“It was very similar to last year. The only difference is that last year we thought we could win, and this year we knew Mercer County was too strong. We just knew it would be a dogfight for second,” Ruggles said. “I’d give us at least a B-plus. You can always look and say ‘We could’ve gotten a couple points here or there,’ but overall, it was a really consistent job by anybody.”
The Mustangs had at least one athlete competing in every event, except for the 100-meter hurdles, but their overall placement was spearheaded by multiple state championship relays for the second consecutive season.
The Mustangs 4x200-meter team of Blake Wetzel, Skylar Taylor, Dawson Nagle and Owen Ruggles set a school record for the second consecutive year with a time of 1:29.33 to win NOHS’ first state title of the day.
In the final race of the day, North Oldham’s team of Andrew Chesser, Skylar Taylor, Jake Pyles and Brendan Ruggles won the 4x400 meter run going away with a time of 3:24.19.
“Going into this, we knew we had some competition. Not all of us are healthy, but we stuck to it these past couple weeks and were able to get the job done,” Pyles said.
The 4x400-meter team was undecided entering the day, but Owen Ruggles opted to sit out of the final race after being a part of the state championship relay team in 2021.
“We had five guys that were very similar, and we were going to pick four of those. We could put all five in a hat and pull four out and feel confident,” Brian Ruggles said of the group. “Two of those guys ran in the 400-meter and two of them ran in the 800-meter, and we wanted to see how they’d do because for Skylar, Brenden and Jake, that was going to be their third event.”
The 4x400 race was redeeming for Brendan Ruggles, who was a part of the 4x800-meter relay team that he felt underperformed on its way to a third place finish earlier in the day.
“I was in the 4x800, and it wasn’t amazing, but to me, I viewed it as a warmup so I didn’t get hung up by my performance there,” Brendan Ruggles said. “I came out and ran a great 800. All of us are tripling up, so for us to come together and run our best race is really incredible.”
North Oldham also finished third in the 4x100-meter relay.
“That was a really strong performance by them,” Brian Ruggles said. “If we had run the same time last year, we would’ve won it. That’s the second fastest 4x100 we’ve ever run in school history, so those guys did a great job. It just wasn’t in the cards for us today.”
Adam Patel secured the Mustangs’ highest placement as an individual, taking third place in the 3,200-meter run. Teammate Ethan Ransdell also finished sixth in the race, as well as seventh in the 1,600-meter run.
“The two guys Adam Patel finished behind are just really tough runners,” Ruggles said. “He gave no quarters in the first six laps. He was right up with them and even took the lead in the fourth lap, but they were just a little too much for him in the end.”
Wetzel took fourth in the 100-meter dash, in addition to a sixth place finish in the 200-meter dash.
“Blake Wetzel had a great day. He was the only person who ran four events for us today, and he medaled in all four,” Ruggles said.
Brenden Ruggles also secured a fourth place finish in the 800-meter run, trailed closely by Pyles in sixth.
“I thought Jake and Brendan ran great races. Both PR’d by at least a full second,” Brian Ruggles said. “Their race strategy was pretty much perfect. They stayed back in the first lap and stayed patient, then really executed in the second lap.”
Chesser rounded out the scoring for the Mustangs with a sixth place finish in the 400-meter dash.
After winning regions the week prior, North Oldham’s girls team recorded 21 points at the state meet.
“I feel like we had a good but not great day,” NOHS coach Brian Crumbo said. “I told the girls that when you’re in 16 events, some things are going to go as well as expected and others are not. We had some really bright points, but we didn’t have the best day possible, which is almost never going to happen.”
Makiyah Allen led the way for the Lady Mustangs with a third place finish in the 100-meter meter hurdles, followed by Isabelle Hacker, who finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles on her way to breaking the school record.
“Makiyah finishing third in the 100-meter hurdles was great for her to go out like that as a senior,” Crumbo said. “Isabelle Hacker finishing fourth in the 300-meter hurdles and breaking out school record was also a great day for her.”
Three of North Oldham’s four relay teams tallied points, as the 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays placed sixth and the 4x800-meter relay took eighth.
Lily Harper finished in eighth place in the 100-meter dash and ninth place in the 200-meter dash.
“She had to run in the slowest heat, but she still was able to run a time fast enough to earn a medal,” Crumbo said of Harper.
Elle Turner scored for the Lady Mustangs with a seventh place long jump and ninth place high jump. Cami Morgan also finished ninth in the triple jump.
South Oldham’s boys team qualified for just one track event – the 4x800-meter relay – but the Dragons were vaulted inside the top 10 of the team standings by a pair of strong performers in the field.
Grayson Brashear won the state title with in the shotput with a 57-foot-1 ½-inch throw, which was a personal record.
“I’ve had a lot of friends and teachers supporting me, and that really fueled me to go to state and just kind of embrace the culture. I love South, so to win the state championship and put the school on the map felt amazing,” Brashear said. “On the throw, I felt really balanced, and it felt good out of my hand."
The throw was far from the first personal record the senior set this season, as he had never competed in shot put prior to this season.
“One of my teachers is Oldham County’s track coach, and she encouraged me to join the team. I tried it and really enjoyed it, and it just kind of took off from there,” Brashear said “Me and my coach worked really hard. We’ve had a lot reps hammering down the technique.”
Brashear, who’s planning to play collegiate football, cited skills he learned from playing on the Dragons’ offensive and defensive lines as one of the reasons he picked up throwing so quickly.
“Footwork is a huge part of being a lineman, so that was huge with shot because you have to get your feet down to get a big throw. Also, you have to be explosive in shotput, which comes from football,” Brashear said.
Fellow football player and recent field convert Sam Reagan followed a similar path to winning two state championships in the long jump (23-feet-0 ¾ -inches) and triple jump (45-feet-10 ¼ inches).
“Last season, I started track thinking I’d just do sprints, and I came out a jumper. It’s just great to see all the hard work pay off and give the glory to God and all of the gifts He’s given me. I felt on top of the world,” Reagan said. “To work with teammates and coaches that push me so hard in practice and expect the best of me is honestly what got me this far.”
Reagan grew up a soccer player prior to switching exclusively to football, where he plays cornerback and kicks for the Dragons, in the fall of 2021
“It’s just having the power in my legs from soccer, then switching over to football where I’m making quick cuts and jumping up for fades,” Reagan said.
Still, the road to being the state’s best jumper wasn’t easy. South Oldham doesn’t have a jumping coach and the jumping area, which is scheduled for renovation, is worn down, leaving Reagan limited opportunities to practice and compete. As a result, the junior only made the state meet for triple jump in 2021, when he placed 12th.
“I was really nervous the night before state, but it was just getting the nerves out and finally feeling comfortable on the track,” Reagan said. “To be honest, if you told me at the beginning of the year that I’d be a state champion in both, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s just a confidence booster.”
A great day nearly became a historic one for Reagan, as he broke the state record with a with his final attempt at the long jump with a leap of 24-feet-4-inches. However, Reagan faulted by ¼ of an inch, wiping out the result.
“That pushes me to do that next year and work on my technical works so I don’t scratch and hopefully change that state record,” Reagan said.
Brashear and Reagan’s performances weren’t the only ones of note at the meet. South Oldham’s girls relay team of Virginia Goins, Evelyn Pazienza, Clara Spurlock and Taylor Duquette nearly joined the football duo as state champions with a second place finish in the 4x100-meter dash. The squad’s state time of 50.07 seconds set a school record.
That performance accounted for all eight of South Oldham’s team points in the girls meet.
Oldham County’s girls team scored in seven different events to help propel it to seventh in the state.
Tula Fawbush delivered the best two individual performances of the day for the Lady Colonels, taking third place in both the 800- and 1,600-meter runs. The sophomore’s mile time was nearly 15 seconds slower than the state record she set just over a month earlier at the Dream Mile meet.
The Lady Colonels’ 4x800-meter relay team came in fourth place, making it the team’s only other point-scoring track event.
In the field, Reagan Cheatham took fourth place in the shot put, and Kasia Korzeniowski placed eighth in the long jump, triple jump and pole vault.
On the boys side, the Colonels’ 4x400-meter relay team placed second, the best finish of the day for either OCHS team.
Canon Weaver took sixth in the 1,600-meter run, Nic Yamnitz finished seventh in the 400-meter dash and Gus Tichenor finished eighth in the 800-meter run to round out the Colonels point-scoring performance.