The Russell County High School track and field team is ready to build off last season’s success, which saw several members compete at the state track meet.
After losing two of those athletes to graduation, head coach Barry Bolin said he has a team with great potential and is looking forward to seeing how this year’s athletes step up.
“We don’t have a big team, but I think we’re going to be pretty good at some events,” Bolin said. “We’ve got good athletes this year and younger athletes — including some middle-schoolers — that I think show quite a bit of promise.”
Last season, Russell County had two relay teams run in the state meet.
The boys’ 4×800-meter relay team finished ninth overall at state and set the school record during the region meet. The boys’ 4×400-meter relay team finished 15th overall. Both teams featured Tyler Lulek, Clayton Trosper, Blake Bolin, and Justin Stearns.
Stearns, who graduated last season, also competed as an individual at state, finishing sixth overall in the boys’ 800-meter run.
“That’s a pretty good accomplishment for us, being a small school,” Bolin said.
Junior Clayton Trosper, one of the two remaining athletes from those state relay teams, said last season’s experience has helped him learn the work ethic he needed to continue striving for greatness.
“I guess being one of the two youngest on the team, it was like a building experience because I learned from Justin how to become a leader a little bit more,” Trosper said. “He made me realize that if I took days off, or didn’t work hard enough, that I wasn’t just going to hurt myself but I was going to hurt the whole team.”
For his goals this season, Trosper noted that he is looking to make state as an individual competitor after getting a taste of Kentucky’s highest level of competition as part of two relay teams last year.
“I felt like I was going make it to state in the 300 [meter hurdles last year], but I fell on one of them,” Trosper said. “I just want to prove to myself that I’m good enough to do that and good enough to make it to state on my own and not have to have other people to help me get there.”
Junior Cheyenne Robertson said she is excited for this season, and her goals are for continued improvement throughout the season — especially in hurdles — and to qualify for the state meet.
“I really want to get better and be able to do hurdles without getting too tired,” Robertson said. “I’d really love to make state.”
Robertson said the biggest lesson she learned from previous years on the track team — and the mindset she is bringing into this season — is to just focus on herself and what she can control.
“Don’t worry about what others think, and do your best and try your hardest at the sport you’re doing,” Robertson said.
The team competed in its first meet of the season on Tuesday, March 22, where the Lakers brought home seven top-10 finishes at the Somerset All-Comers event.
Junior Clayton Trosper finished 3rd in the 300-meter hurdles.
Junior Mason Buras finished 7th in 300-meter hurdles.
Junior Nick Ford finished 5th in the Shot Put.
Eighth-grader Cadence Rager finished 6th in the 800-meter run.
Eighth-grader Cadence Rager 4th in the 1600-meter run,
Junior Cheyenne Robertson finished 9th in the 300-meter hurdles.
Freshman Hadleigh Parrish finished 10th in the 300-meter hurdles.
There are six more meets on this year’s schedule, according to MileSplit KY, although Bolin noted that more could be added throughout the season. They are:
• March 29 – South Laurel All-Comers
• April 1 – Blue Raider High School Invitational
• April 12 – Danville High School All-Comers
• April 15 – Campbellsville-Durham High School Invitational
• April 19 – North Laurel All-Comers
• May 6 – Carl Deaton Classic
This year’s roster, according to MileSplit KY, has 31 athletes listed:
• Clayton Baily
• Natalie Bartrug
• Nathan Bartrug
• Makaylah Bennett
• Chance Betts
• Blake Bolin
• Destiny Brown
• Mason Buras
• Savannah Butrum
• Aniyah Coffey
• Jaterria Coffey
• Kylar Cunningham
• Nick Ford
• Isaiah Gomez
• Clay Holder
• Christian Luttrell
• Blake McClure
• McKenna McCollen
• Mason Morrison
• Antonio Noyola
• Hadleigh Parrish
• Khushi Patel
• Kylar Perkins
• Cadence Rager
• Cheyenne Robertson
• Hannah Rowe
• Buddy Russell
• Bryson Trosper
• Clayton Trosper
• Webber Wilson
• Ernesto Zappato
“These kids from Russell County are good kids, and they always represent the school well, so I’m proud of them,” said Bolin, who is in his fourth year coaching the track team. “We might not be big in number, but we’re quality.”
The Lakers are coached by Barry Bolin. Assistant coaches are Greg Hammond and Aaron Poynter.