The All “A” Classic isn’t all that it used to be, but it was still all that for the Burgin girls.
The first-place trophy they took home from the small-school track and field meet at Admiral Stadium might well have been a first for the program, and it was the best indicator to date of how much their program has grown in a short time.
There are more than twice as many girls on the team as there were just a year ago, and more than enough to allow them to do things their team has not done before:
n The Burgin girls’ victory in meet for teams from Kentucky’s smallest classification could be their first at an invitational meet. It’s at least the first such win in about 15 years, and for years before that the program was far to small for that to be a possibility.
n The Bulldogs broke three school records, including one in an event that offers them one of their best chances to qualify for the state meet next month.
n They won five of 17 events and finished 16 points ahead of second-place Danville in the girls team standings.
“We’re setting a lot of school records this year ... and this is the first really big meet that we’ve had a chance to win. That just gives us more confidence,” said Emma Holland, the team’s only senior.
To be fair, this is the smallest field the All “A” has seen in its nine years, with only four schools participating. The Burgin girls understand that fully, but that didn’t temper their enthusiasm after they claimed their trophy.
“We’re all really excited about that, because that’s not something that happens a lot at Burgin,” sophomore Liz Marcinek said.
Marcinek is one of the new faces on a team that had only five athletes last year but now has about 12. She and four or five of her friends who play on Burgin’s basketball and volleyball teams decided to give track a try this year.
“We have a lot of basketball players from this past season that we’ve recruited, and I think we have a stronger team because we all have a positive attitude towards each other and just work off of each other’s energy and strive to do our best,” said sophomore Megan Hughes, another of the team’s veterans.
Marcinek won the high jump and the long jump Saturday, setting a school record in the high jump, and Hughes also set a school record with her win in the 400-meter dash. And while the 800 relay team finished third in a three-team race, it also ran a school-record time, and one that coach Chris Beckerson said he thinks would be good enough to qualify for state.
“We’ve had a lot of PRs (personal records) and school records this year. We’ve never had a girl runner get to region or state since I’ve been here, and we think we have a chance to qualify a relay team or an individual for the first time in at least 10 years,” Beckerson said.
Other Burgin athletes, including sophomore Summer Burke and eighth-grader Kayla Tyler, had personal-best performances as well. And while Beckerson acknowledged that many of the school records aren’t that hard to reach, he said they are still significant steps for a program that doesn’t have its own track.
“We run around the baseball field — that’s about a 400. We have a jump pit that we have to share with the throwers, and we know the routes and the distances around school. We make it work,” Holland said.
Burgin also doesn’t have that many athletes to choose from. Most of the team’s newcomers gave up softball to try track, and Beckerson said he tried to convince them that they would have a greater chance at postseason success in track and that some of the skills they need to succeed in basketball and volleyball — running and jumping — are skills they would improve in track and field.
“Our basketball coach has been trying to get us to run for years now,” Marcinek said.
Holland and Hughes have been on the team the longest — four years — and Holland said it’s good to have some company and the capability to make a bigger dent in the team standings.
“We’ve both been working hard on getting our times down, and a lot of (the newcomers) are really talented and really athletic,” she said. “And each of us have set events we’re really good at instead of everybody trying to spread out and doing everything.”
Hughes said track has always been fun for her, but she admitted it’s a little more fun this season.
“No matter what place you get, you try to enjoy the race as much as possible, but it is fun to have a chance to win in our individual races,” she said.
Beckerson said he’s happy that the two veterans now have the chance to be part of a successful team.
“Emma has really put in a lot of hard work ... and Megan has been injured the last couple years, and she’s starting to turn into the runner we expected,” he said.
As the only senior and one of the most experienced athletes, Holland said she has tried to set a good example for her new teammates.
“I feel like I kind of need to be an example, always showing up at practice and really pushing it every day, and it’s really nice to able to encourage the younger runners,” she said.
“She is a leader,” Hughes said. “She pushes us all, she runs hard, and she’s a good role model because of the way she runs and her personality.”
Burgin may not have the chance to win many more meets this year, but the Bulldogs’ success Saturday has them thinking about the possibility of winning the title at the Bluegrass Conference Championships on April 23.
“This is great for our confidence and for getting to the next level and trying to get some girls ready for region and state,” Beckerson said.
Alex Beckerson of Burgin won four boys events — the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs and the triple jump — and Diamond Pace, Kaitlin Snapp and Max Ray of Danville won two each.
Danville edged Burgin by two points for the boys team title.
All “A” Classic
At Admiral Stadium
(Winners, area results)
Team scores — 1. Danville (D) 142; 2. Burgin (Bu) 140; 3. Bellevue 112; 4. Frankfort 44.
3200 relay — 1. Danville (Chase Berry, Karl Hempel, Matt Wagner, Calvin Steber) 9:26.05; 2. Burgin (Charles Holsinger, Nick Beckerson, Jared Powell, Damion Bottom) 10:16.04.
110 hurdles — 1. Max Ray (D) 17.55; 2. Travis McEachern (Bu) 18.41.
100 — 1. Marcus Brown (D) 11.59.
800 relay — 1. Danville (Brown, Ray Bradshaw, Ray, Berry) 1:38.42.
1600 — 1. Alex Beckerson (Bu) 4:42.18; 2. Hempel (D) 5:01.55; 3. McEachern (Bu) 5:04.19; 6. Clellan McMurry (D) 6:25.96.
400 relay — 1. Danville (Brown, Bradshaw, Ray, Berry) 46.98; 3. Burgin (Bottom, N. Beckerson, Powell, Holsinger) 56.92.
400 — 1. Aaron Jackson (F) 52.56; 4. Gunnar Kehrt-Reese (Bu) 57.03; 5. Steber (D) 1:00.67; 6. Wagner (D) 1:00.89.
300 hurdles — 1. Ray (D) 44.36; 2. McEachern (Bu) 48.27.
800 — 1. A. Beckerson (Bu) 2:07.15; 2. Berry (D) 2:09.33; 3. Hempel (D) 2:20.66; 4. N. Beckerson (Bu) 2:25.46.
200 — 1. Brown (D) 23.89; 3. Kehrt-Reese (Bu) 25.75; 5. Bradshaw (D) 26.28.
3200 — 1. A. Beckerson (Bu) 11:12.19; 2. Holsinger (Bu) 11:13.55; 3. Steber (D) 12:23.77; 5. McMurry (D) 14:52.90.
1600 relay — 1. Bellevue (Jordan Roberts, Nolan Rechtin, Alec Hazeres, Tony Isbell) 3:51.31; 2. Burgin (Bottom, Holsinger, N. Beckerson, Kehrt-Reese) 4:27.22.
Shot put — 1. Bradshaw (D) 37-8; 4. Elliott Porter (D) 35-1.
Discus — 1. McEachern (Bu) 124-4; 2. Powell (Bu) 112-9; 4. Jaylin Hendren 100-7; 5. Porter (D) 83-2.
Long jump — 1. Ethan Tolliver (Be) 15-6.
Triple jump — 1. A. Beckerson (Bu) 35-11; 2. Powell (Bu) 32-3 1/2; 3. Hempel (D) 27-8.
High jump — 1. Wagner (D) 5-0; 2. Kehrt-Reese (Bu) 4-10.
Team scores — 1. Burgin (Bu) 164; 2. Danville (D) 148; 3. Frankfort (F) 97; 4. Bellevue 25.
3200 relay — 1. Burgin (Randi Burke, Emma Holland, Emilee Hurt, Danielle Peavler) 13:13.38.
100 hurdles — 1. Jasmine Washington (F) 18.89; 3. Kelsie Madden (D) 20.79.
100 — 1. Donnesia Hunn (D) 13.52; 3. Kayla Tyler (Bu) 14.19; 4. Alea Bates (D) 14.47.
800 relay — 1. Frankfort (Shanae Brown, Shantae Brown, Washington, Amber Wilcoxson) 1:55.41; 2. Danville (Bates, Hunn, Alexis Mason, Haley McCowan) 1:57.65; 3. Burgin (Summer Burke, Holland, Tyler, Marcinek) 1:57.72.
1600 — 1. Kaitlin Snapp (D) 5:13.48 (meet record, old record 5:15.76, Snapp, 2010); 2. Meagan Smith (D) 5:44.80; 3. Megan Hughes (Bu) 6:38.26.
400 relay — 1. Frankfort (Shana. Brown, Shant. Brown, Shantiqa Shaw, Washington) 53.93; 2. Danville (Bates, Hunn, Madden, Mason) 56.25; 3. Burgin (Peavler, Hurt, R. Burke, Taylor Sanders) 1:03.13.
400 — 1. Hughes (Bu) 1:07.29; 2. McCowan (D) 1:10.22; 4. Peavler (Bu) 1:21.18.
300 hurdles — 1. Diamond Pace (D) 49.34; 4. S. Burke (Bu) 55.17; 5. Hibah Siddiqui (D) 57.50.
800 — 1. Snapp (D) 2:31.05; 2. Smith (D) 2:47.66; 3. Hughes (Bu) 3:04.28; 4. S. Burke (Bu) 3:06.03.
200 — 1. Shana. Brown (F) 209.06; 2. Tyler (Bu) 29.74; 3. McCowan (D) 32.58; 5. Jonah Loomer (Bu) 37.70.
3200 — 1. Smith (D) 12:38.73; 2. Holland (Bu) 15:30.77.
1600 relay — 1. Danville (Snapp, Pace, Mason, McCowan) 4:49.26; 2. Burgin (R. Burke, S. Burke, Hughes, Peavler) 5:40.18.
Shot put — 1. Cailyn Jouett (F) 32-3; 2. Hurt (Bu) 26-2 1/2; 3. Sanders (Bu) 24-5 1/2; 4. Autumn Ray (D) 22-4.
Discus — 1. Sanders (Bu) 73-3; 3. Hughes (Bu) 69-1; 5. Ray (D) 48-1.
Long jump — 1. Marcinek (Bu) 14- 1/2; 2. S. Burke (Bu) 12-9 1/2; 3. Mason (D) 12-1.
Triple jump — 1. Pace (D) 31-4; 2. Snapp (D) 27-5 1/2; 3. Holland (Bu) 24-8; 4. Hurt (Bu) 23-0.
High jump — 1. Marcinek (Bu) 4-6; 2. R. Burke (Bu) 4-0.