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Graves 'going the distance' this season

Garrett Wilson has already set a personal record in the two mile while at the Wildcat Classic indoor meet in January.

ERIC WALKER/The Mayfield Messenger

By ERIC WALKER ewalker@mayfield-messenger.com

Coming off a successful cross country performance last fall, Graves County will look to carry that into the new track season.

With a strong girls field whose cross country team reached the Kentucky 3A cross country championship meet last season, as well as several boys, paced by junior Garrett Wilson, the Eagles and Lady Eagles are hoping to "go the distance" this spring.

"Graves had a pretty good cross country season and a lot of those kids are coming out to run," head coach Bobby Potts said.

The roster has grown by around 30 athletes from last year's combined team of 40, which Potts credited to a number of players from the Lady Eagles' soccer team participating.

Also solidifying the roster is senior strongman Christian Lawson, who took his third-place 3A regional finish in the shot put to the state meet, as well as freshman phenom Sophie Galloway.

Galloway earned silver medals in both the state 3A long and triple jumps, and also ran for seventh in the 100-meter hurdles as an eighth-grader. She already has six GCHS track and field records.

Track: Wilson and another standout in freshman Carley Dowdy will headline the distance runners who are pegged as the track program's strength this year.

Potts said Wilson, who ran a 27th-place finish in the fall's state cross country championship, could be a threat in the two-mile race. He set a personal record of 10 minutes, 21.10 seconds for 13th place at the indoor Wildcat Classic in January.

"I could see him getting close to the nine (minutes mark) this season," Potts said.

Dowdy nearly qualified for state as a seventh grader, but has returned to the track fold after sitting out her eighth-grade year while still running cross country. In her first meet this season at McCracken County, she took fourth in the 1600 run with a 5:56.78 time.

Potts believes with the soccer additions that the Lady Eagles could piece together a strong relay squad.

With endurance and speed, David Brooksbank ran 34th (400 meter) and 61st (800) at the Wildcat Classic, then took first in the 400 at McCracken in 0:55.95.

The faster relays may be where Graves County will need to invest more time under new sprints coach Tyler Debonardi. Potts said he'll also be teaching hurdles to a new group, "so it is a mystery whether they will be competitive or not in that event."

Galloway will also lead the way in the hurdles after finishing second at regionals in the 100 and 300, and may also set her sights on running the 400 dash.

Field: Galloway has locked down the regional long and triple jumps. Her first-place finishes last year in the region saw her clear over 17 feet in the long jump and 37 in the triple.

At state, she surpassed that long jump mark by half a foot for a personal best and school record; however she only made two attempts at the triple after a storm forced the suspension of the event.

Her athleticism was also on display during basketball season, where she was generally the back-up post player but also defended the full length of the court.

That related basketball conditioning should also pay off for track.

"She has said it herself that she feels she is (in) much better shape than she was last year," Potts said.

Lawson has already started strong with a first-place shot put of 41 feet, 1.5 inches at the McCracken meet last week. His regional toss last year for third was 43-5; the same as he threw at state.

He'll be joined by towering Max Wilson, whose 6-6 build will provide a high launching point in the throws.

Senior Faith Mandry returns in the girls' throws. Potts said he believes she and Lawson could set new school records this season.

Graves County 2018

Track & Field Schedule

March: 20-at Calloway County. 27-at Murray High.

April: 14-at Paducah Tilghman. 17-at Calloway County. 23-at Ballard Memorial.

May: 1-at Marshall County. 4-at Fort Campbell. 11-1st Region at McCracken County. 19-3A State Championship at UK.