LEXINGTON — Bowling Green senior Sarah-Emily Woodward was crying before her final race even started Saturday.
The Lady Purples runner was one of four distance seniors on the squad saying goodbye at the Class 3A State Track and Field championships at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The group, which has dominated region cross-country in recent years and earned a slew of top-eight track finishes along the way, celebrated its last event as a collective unit by helping the BG girls earn an eighth-place team finish with 27 points. “We trust each other, and we know that other person is going to go out and give 110 percent,” said Woodward, who admitted to getting emotional before her final race. “That makes us give 110 percent. It’s awesome to know we have each other for that.” Senior Ciara Scott had the shining moment for the Lady Purples, winning the girls’ 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:01.49. Freshman teammate Madisyn Peeples finished third. Scott will run at Eastern Kentucky University next season. Woodward is headed to Austin Peay, and senior Lauren Wheeler will run for Memphis. “We went out slow, and I was just trying to cruise and wait and see who would go with me,” Scott said. “Those girls picked it up and we took it out, and we let them go a little. We eventually picked up and started going from there. This was my first real team. I ran at (St. Joseph School), so I didn’t win anything team-wise – only individual stuff. “But then coming to Bowling Green, there’s suddenly a lot of us. We got really close, and of course we get on each other’s nerves – we spend 24/7 with them – but it’s going to be hard separating from them.”
The Lady Purples started the day with a fourth-place finish in the 4×800 relay. Wheeler and Woodward were joined by senior Van Games and sophomore Brittney Hansen for that event. Hansen also finished sixth in the 800 run, and Woodward capped her high school career with an eighth-place result in the 1,600. Woodward said the Bowling Green runners wrote letters to one another before the meet for encouragement. “I’m so happy,” Woodward said. “The solidness of our team is what keeps us going. I got to run out there with a girl I’ve run with for six years, and it was amazing. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it. I wouldn’t have done anything that I’ve done.” The Lady Purples also got a seventh-place finish from senior Sydnie Anthony in the long jump.
Sophomore Robbie Lofton paved the way for the Bowling Green boys, winning a state title in the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 45 feet, 10.75 inches. The Purples finished seventh as a team with 32 points. Lofton’s distance bested his previous record by more than 2 feet. He was also fifth in the long jump, two spots behind BG senior Danny Dewalt. “It went really well,” Lofton said. “At practice, I’ve been jumping really far. I came out here and did everything coach taught me.” This will be Lofton’s final sporting event for Bowling Green, he said, as his family is planning to move before next school year.
The 6-foot-2-inch athlete played on special teams and as a defensive backup for the football team last year. He moved to wide receiver in the offseason, when he caught three touchdowns in the spring game and began receiving “high-level interest” from colleges, football coach Kevin Wallace said.
“I’m been doing really good at receiver, and hopefully I can work hard and earn the chance to play at a really good school,” Lofton said.
Sophomore Blake Cleary claimed third place in the boys’ 300 hurdles for Bowling Green, and the Purples’ 4×800 relay squad of Ben Peterson, Sam Porter, Trajon Hall and Kyle Johnson was sixth. Johnson placed sixth in the 1,600 run.
|Class 3A State Meet – Top-eight finishers|
|4×800 meter relay||Brittney Hansen, Van Games, Sarah-Emily Woodward, Lauren Wheeler||4th||9:45.69|
|Long Jump||Sydnie Anthony||7th||16-1.25|
|Triple Jump||Robbie Lofton*||1st||45-10.75|
|300 hurdles||Blake Cleary||3rd||39.14|
|Long Jump||Danny Dewalt||3rd||21-8.25|
|Long Jump||Robbie Lofton||5th||21-5.75|
|4×800 meter relay||Kyle Johnson, Trajon Hall, Sam Porter, Ben Peterson||6th||8:10.71|
|* KHSAA State Champion|
|** BGHS School Record|
By ZACH GREENWELL The Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
— Follow prep sports writer Zach Greenwell on Twitter at twitter.com/zach_greenwell or visit bgdailynews.com.