The Manual track team competed in the Kentucky High School Athletic Associations (KHSAA) 3A Region 3 track meet on May 15 at Male High School.
This track meet was the determining factor for who would qualify for state championships. The girls’ track team placed second overall while the boys’ placed third.
Manual had 14 girls and 10 boys qualify for state this year. To qualify for state each individual or relay team needed to place first or second or be ranked in the top 24 in the state.
Yared Nuguse (12, MST), who is ranked fourth in the nation for his 1600 meter record in the 2017 outdoor track season, won first place in three individual events and one team event, which all qualified him for state.
Nuguse said he accomplished his goals for the meet.
“I think I did very well, I did all the things I wanted to do which was essentially to just win all the events,” Nuguse said.
Alena Sapienza-Wright (11, YPAS) placed first in the 1600 meter to qualify her for state. Myecia Bright (9, HSU) placed third and will also be attending the state meet.
Sapienza-Wright along with Emma Kuntz (12, MST), Taylor Boggess (9, HSU) and Grace Duplessis (12, VA) placed first in the 4 by 400 meter securing them a place at state as well.
Kuntz, a long distance runner, placed first in the 800 meter and helped Boggess, Duplessis and Kennedy Duncan (11, HSU), to place first in the 4 by 800 meter.
Nuguse also assisted Josh Dye (12, HSU), Connor Gerhardt (12, HSU) and Austin Bridges (12, HSU), in placing first in the boys’ 4 by 800 meter relay, sending the team to state with a time of 8:08.
Dye, a long distance runner, talked about his feelings during the races.
“For big races I definitely get a little bit nervous, but it goes too quickly to get to you when you know you’ve got a job to do,” Dye said. “I try to focus on only the task at hand because if you visualize beforehand and know that one race is your objective, it helps you to avoid getting lost in everything going on around you.”
“I definitely hear everyone cheering me on, especially if they’re right next to the track,” Dye said, “if no one’s there, I usually focus on footsteps or my breathing. After the rush to move out of the way for everyone else, that’s when the tiredness washes over you and everything cramps up, usually your throat is burning or it will be from coughing and it’s a struggle to walk for awhile.”
The boys’ 4 by 100 meter team, including Sterling Patillo (10, J&C), Marcis Floyd (11, HSU), Kenneth Jones (12, HSU) and Aidan Robbins (10, HSU) also qualified for state by placing fourth.
Julie Nwuso (12, MST), a sprinter, qualified for four state events by placing first in the 100 meter and second in the 200 meter as well as helping two relay teams.
Nwuso led Tonysha Curry (12, HSU), Kat Thompson (11, YPAS) and Casey Kohlstruck (11, HSU) to place third and qualify for state in the 4 by 100 meter relay.
Curry also qualified for state in the high jump, placing third in the event. Rayne Jones (10, HSU) also qualified for high jump by placing fourth.
Nwuso also helped Kohlstruck, Duplessis and Boggess to also place third and qualify for state in the 4 by 200 meter relay.
Kohlstruck, a sprinter, discussed how she feels during races and what she focuses on.
“I really don’t notice anything, my mind just kind of clears and I just pay attention to myself and ignore everything happening around me,” Kohlstruck said, “I hear all white noise, I don’t notice the cheering until I cross the finish line.”
“I focus on finish time because your finish time is what qualifies you for invitational races like regionals and state,” Kohlstruck said.
Nuguse discussed the preparation that was put into this event.
“We did a little bit of tapering at the end of the year which is what everyone does,” Nuguse said, “I didn’t really do anything specific, but there was a lot of mental preparation to do that many events in a short amount of time because it’s nothing I’ve really done before.”
Nicole Kaeka (12, YPAS), qualified for state placing sixth in the 300 meter hurdles.
Olivia Evans (11, J&C) also qualified for state in two field events: placing third in shotput and discus. She also threw a new personal record (PR) in shotput of 32 feet 11 inches.
Manual had two state qualifiers for the triple jump.
Keon Farris (11, HSU), won the triple jump, sending him to state with a distance of 45 feet 3 inches, he is currently ranked first in state for this event. Callie Hamm (12, HSU), placed fifth with a PR of 32 feet 6 inches.
Nuguse is hoping for victories at the state level.
“I think I do have a good shot at winning all four events, but the hardest will be the two mile because I have a tough competitor,” Nuguse said. “I think my main goal is to win all four events.”
The Manual track team competes in the state tournament on May 20.