Lincoln track and field takes home two medals from championship

Kentucky High School Athletic Association

LOUISVILLE — Lincoln County High School athletes Alex Bunch, Brian Carlson, Taylor Elam, Santana Hocker, Deon Shannon, Luke Shofner and Micah Ward took their track season as far as they could, reaching the end of the track Saturday surrounded by some of the finest athletes in their sport.

The five Patriots and two Lady Patriots were among the  1,124 Class 3A athletes converging on Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park in Louisville for the 2012 Class 3A KHSAA State Track and Field Championships.

Perennial powerhouses like Louisville Assumption, North Hardin, Bryan Station and  Male dominated in the medal count once again, however, Lincoln managed to capture some hardware all its own.

Hocker, a junior, who qualified for state by winning the  300-meter hurdle regionals, and Carlson, one of only three freshmen to qualify for the state 1600-meter run, both left their first state meet with medals around their necks after placing seventh in their respective events.

Hocker matched his personal best time of 40.7 seconds to earn the state medal. His time was the same as the sixth-place finisher Eric Avant, but the John Hardin junior got a better lean at the finish to take sixth.

“Santana had a really good season. He was first or second at just about every meet we ever went to and then he comes up here and finishes seventh today,” Lincoln coach Tim Estes said. “I think all the way back to the very first meet of the year when he popped out like a 43-second (time) and I’m thinking, ‘Where did this kid come from?’ He ended up working hard and had his best time today. That’s the way you want to end the season.”

Carlson, who pulled off dramatic finishes at regionals to qualify for state in both the 1600- and 3200-meter runs, couldn’t pull off a win or runner-up finish at state but he did take out a runner in the final stretch of the 1600 to guarantee him seventh place in a personal best time of 4:33.44. 

“Brian Carlson is a big surprise. To come up here and get seventh as a freshman in the best class in the state, as far as times go, that was a major undertaking,” Estes said. “He is so headstrong. He won’t take a slow pace. He doesn’t know how to slow down. I compare him to a kid that use to run for us, Michael Mulligan. He knew two speeds – fast and faster. And that’s Brian Carlson. Carlson is starting to learn how to run better and stay within himself.”

Carlson did not have as strong a showing in the 3200-meter run, finishing way off his PR¿of 10 minutes 2 seconds with a state time of 10 minutes 39.12 seconds. Carlson, who was seeded 17th going into the race, finished 21st out of the field of 23.

Alex Bunch, the lone Lincoln athlete making a return visit to state, did not have one of her best 1600-meter races of the season Saturday. Bunch finished higher than her pre-race seed of 15th, but an 11th-place showing in 5 minutes 28.90 seconds kept her off the medals stand.

“Alex was right there at the start and all the way through the last lap. Then she fell off just a little bit,” said Estes.

While Hocker and Carlson were the only Lincoln athletes claiming state medals, all but Bunch would turn in personal best times.

Senior sprinter Taylor Elam had a PR in the 200-meter dash, finishing in 27.21 seconds and the boys 400-meter relay team of Hocker, Deon Shannon, Micah Ward and Luke Shofner crossed in their fastest time, 45.16 seconds.

“Everybody that came up today, except Alex, had a PR,” Estes said. “Taylor had her best time ever and the relay team came in as regional champions. Deon, Luke and Santana were a great team and then Micah coming in after the play was over just made us a step faster. They all ran well today, and there’s no greater way to end the season than at state.”

“It’s hard for a county school like Lincoln County to come up here and compete against a Trinity and St. X and Male, the Hardins, Lexington’s city schools – those kinds of schools where they have so many kids to choose from. We’ve got some talented kids for our area and then we have to compete against some of the best there is. It’s a tough competition but we’re happy to be here.”


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Kentucky High School Athletic Association
  • Brian Carlson
    Brian Carlson

    Lincoln County distance runner Brian Carlson placed seventh at the state track and field championships in Louisville.