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Class A, Region 7 track and field: Rams regain region title: Maynard, Burroughs earn individual championships

Raceland entered the Class A, Region 7 track and field meet short-handed on Saturday.

The Rams would not let that deter them from defending their region title at Prestonsburg.

Senior Ty Tyson tore his Achilles tendon earlier this season, leading the Raceland coaching staff to make changes with the relay teams.

The Rams were clinging to a lead entering the final event of the day, the 4x400 relay. With Tyson cheering the team on from the sideline, the new quartet responded.

Cam Bell, Sean Short, Garrison Stephens and Max Burton produced a season-best time of 3:48.47 to cross the finish line first and secure Raceland’s second straight boys region crown.

“We were already paper-thin as far as numbers,” Raceland coach Randy Helton said. “The kids were torn up about (Tyson’s injury) but they didn’t get an attitude like we can’t do anything now or we can’t win. They went on with business as usual. We had to totally revamp our relays. We had to make two new relays and we hadn’t run a good relay since Ty was out. We had the right guys in there. But they just didn’t have the continuity yet. We didn’t know what would happen.”

“Our coaching staff is top-notch,” he added. “They are so good at what they do. It still comes down to the kids. … We told the relay team under the tent. We had to have this race to win. Pikeville was sitting right behind us. To their credit, they seemed determined and they all did their job.”

Helton said both girls and boys teams arrived at Prestonsburg with a purpose. The long bus ride didn’t phase them. They are used to it because Region 7 covers so much area in the eastern part of the state.

“There have been some years that we hosted region at Russell,” Helton said, “but for the most part, we’ve had to travel somewhere. Most of them sit on the bus and just chill out. The shotput, discus and pole vault had to start earlier at Magoffin County because Prestonsburg didn’t have that area completed yet due to renovations. Travel doesn’t phase them. They’ve handled adversity and performed well on a big stage.”

The individual event standings did show many Rams at the top but the competitors were a model of consistency all day. Noah Wallace’s triple jump mark of 41 feet, 3.5 inches earned a second-place finish. Burton was third in both the 110-meter hurdles (16:35) and the 300 hurdles (42:53), both season bests. Bell was fourth in the 200 and 400-meter dash. Stephens and Short finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 800-meter dash.

Raceland’s Grant Gwinn cleared the high jump bar at 5 feet, 8 inches to take third place. The 4x100 (third) and 4x200 (second) meter relay teams recorded top-three finishes.

“It’s what makes this more remarkable,” Helton said. “To win a team title, you have to have some depth. We were thin. If you look across the board, we only had three first places.”

Another stellar highlight of the meet was Evan Burroughs in the field events. The junior finished fourth in the shot put with a toss of 43 feet, 7.75 inches. Burroughs produced a personal best 144-1 in the discus to take the region title. The mark cleared the second-place finisher by nearly 17 feet.

“He was so focused (on Saturday),” Helton said. “He’s been up and down all year. He lost about 30 pounds from last season so his body has totally transformed. He puts more pressure on himself than he has to because of what he did at State last year. He wants to get back there. He threw a 141 at State last season. He was totally relaxed at the different venue.”

Raceland also won the pole vault. The Rams were the only competitors in the event. Ross Burton (8-6) and Jackson King (8-0) secured coveted points for the team.

Raceland’s 117 points cleared second-place Pikeville (113) by four. Floyd Central was third with 85. West Carter placed sixth with 28.

On the girls side, sophomore Sophie Maynard leaped the field to take first place in the 110 and 300 hurdles and the triple jump. Maynard (49:04) cleared Menifee County’s Payton Burgess by a full three seconds in the 300 meters.

Maynard topped the field in the triple jump, posting a PR distance of 33 feet, 3 inches. Teammate Kiley Roark was third at 31-6. Tilly Collins took the long jump title after launching herself 15 feet, 6 inches. Kiera Meyer gave Raceland another individual region title in the discus after a 90-foot, 2-inch toss. Alexis Boggs was unmatched in the pole vault at 6 feet.

“We only have nine girls,” Helton said. “They really stepped up. … We could have been over 100 points with nine. It speaks to the transformation within the program. We hope we can recruit more girls next year. Obviously, Sophie is the core of our team. She’s so talented, you have to have her in more events to score. The team produced plenty of season bests.”

Emma Pierce produced a season-best time of 1:07.63 in the 400-meter dash to finish fourth. The 4x100 meter relay posted a high mark of 54.94 to take third.

The Raceland placed third in the team standings with 92 points. Pikeville took the team title with 133 points, narrowly defeating Floyd Central (131).

West Carter’s Camryn Varney (2:36.94) secured a season-best time in the 800-meter dash for third place.

Dwaylon Dean took home a region title in the 300 hurdles (41.76) and a second-place finish in the 110 hurdles.

The top two finishers in each event qualify for the state meet in Lexington on May 30. The next top 10 marks in Class A in each track and field event also earn a spot in the field next week.

Full results from the Class A, Region 7 meet can be found at ky.milesplit.com