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Prep Notebook: Track season set to take off

Mar. 25, 2013 @ 12:18 AM

The first area track meet of the season is Thursday at Cabell Midland's Chris Parsons Track. The Carlos Akers/Doc Hale Memorial Invitational begins with field events at 5:15 p.m. Running events start at 5:30. The meet will be on a rolling schedule.

The meet starts the final spring for Cabell Midland's Jacob Burcham. The standout distance runner has signed with the University of Oklahoma. He's the Class AAA record holder and defending state champion in the 800, 1600 and 3200.

Thursday meets are also scheduled in Charleston and Ripley so that could cut down on numbers for this meet.

This is the first year the meet has had a dual name. Richard "Doc" Hale served as a starter at meets locally, statewide and nationally until he passed away in June 2012 in Knoxville, Tenn. He was 80. Akers is a former teacher and coach in Cabell County and was one of the top track starters in this part of the country as was Hale. Dress warmly as it will be cold at start time and the temperature will drop as the meet continues.

PREP KNOWS CHAMPS: Huntington Prep is familiar with Mentor High (25-5), which won the Ohio Division I state championship Saturday night with a 76-67 victory over Toledo Rogers at Ohio State's Value City Arena in Columbus. In the regular season, the Express edged Mentor, 61-59, in the Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout on Jan. 26 in North Canton. On Friday, Menton handed unbeaten Columbus Northland its first loss in the semifinals. This is Mentor's first state basketball title. Mentor also is the first Lake County school to capture a state boys basketball championship.

VOLLEYBALL HELPS OUT: Boyd County, Franklin County and Atherton raised a total of $7,724 for The Side-Out Foundation in 2012 through their Dig Pink® fundraising events. The Side-Out Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises money for breast cancer research through the sport of volleyball. Franklin County brought in $4,488.42, Atherton County raised $2,785.75 and Boyd County's take was $450.

KENTUCKY ARCHERY: Trigg County won the first Kentucky High School Archery Championships held last week in Louisville. Henderson County was second and Anderson County third. Jerricho Vannoy of Hopkins Country Central was medalist for boys. He won a shootout with Billy Holliday of Prestonsburg. Justin Mehs of Anderson County was third, Dustin Sexton of East Carter fourth and Grant Willoughby of Madison Central fifth. On the girls side, Mary Adridge of Western Hills was medalist followed by Sarah Shipley of Trigg County, Jessica Byrne of Henderson County, Taylor Bochantin of Franklin County and Kaitlin Farthing of Harrison County.

SWEET SUCCESS: Julian Tackett, commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, was all smiles March 10 after the Boys Sweet 16 wrapped up at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

For the first time in 96 years, the tournament ended on Sunday. With Kentucky taking on Florida in a big SEC game on Saturday afternoon, the high school semifinals got moved to Saturday night and the championship game between Madison and Ballard tipped off on Sunday. Normally, the semifinals and title game are held on Saturday.

Attendance for the semifinals, featuring Madison Central-Hopkinsville and Ballard-Montgomery County, was 20,172. The Sunday matinee attracted 17,351, the largest attendance for a finals since 2009.

"I think a lot of us envisioned it would do well," Tackett told Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader. "But you couldn't in your wildest dreams thought it'd be perfect. This was perfect. The atmosphere for the kids, oh gosh, it was great. We needed it. It's a shot in the arm across the board."

Unofficial five-day attendance was 123,363, an average of 15,420 per session. In 2012 the average was 13,221 per session.

The KHSAA will study the numbers and get other feedback on how the tournament went before deciding whether to go with the Sunday finals in the future, or return to the Saturday format.

RIO GRANDE SOFTBALL: The University of Rio Grande softball team has signed two players. One is for next season and one is for 2015. Clay High's Autumn, a pitcher/third baseman, is signed for next season. She's maintained a batting average of better than .400 throughout her prep career and has a career fielding percentage of .900. Griffith plans to major in nursing. She is the daughter of Jon and Tammy Griffith of Portsmouth. Samantha Jo Nixon, junior at Rock Hill, has signed for 2015. She's a pitcher/second baseman/outfielder. She will major in elementary education. Nixon is the daughter of Mark and Shawna Nixon of Hecla, Ohio.

RIO GRANDE TRACK: Oak Hill's Timothy Haag has signed to continue his track career at the University of Rio Grande. The sprinter's specialties are 200 and 400 meters and he also runs relays. He plans to study sports therapy and sports fitness. Haag is the son of Joyce and Dan Haag of Oak Hill.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.

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