Great Decade of Sports

Over the last few months, the Commonwealth Journal has been highlighting some of the top athletes from the last decade, so I figured it would be nice to go back and take a look at some of the top moments from that same timeframe.

In this article, I am going to randomly highlight ten things that stood out to me from 2010 all the way through 2019. I hope you enjoy taking a look back at a decade that saw athletes and teams within our area do some spectacular things, including some team and individual state championships.

Pulaski football wins first state title in one of four straight trips to the title game

Johnny Hines and the Pulaski County Maroons punched their tickets to four straight state championship games from 2013-2016. With a 14-7 win over Graves County in 2014, the Maroons became the first local team to ever claim a state title.

In that four-year span, Pulaski County went 52-8 with four regional titles, one state championship, and three state runner-up finishes. Hines and company would play in seven regional championship contests throughout the decade and win five of them.

Southwestern volleyball wins six 12th Region championships

in the decade

When you think of 12th Region volleyball, Southwestern must come to mind. In the decade, the Lady Warriors racked up six regional titles under the direction of Skip Cottrell (five region titles) and Melissa Gaunce (one region title).

The Lady Warriors grabbed regional titles in 2008 and 2009 in the previous decade under James Cox before adding three more in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Southwestern won back-to-back banners in 2014 and 2015 prior to getting another one in 2018.

Local track athletes bring home gold medals at the

state meet

In the last decade, athletes from our area won ten different state championships in the sport of track and field. Somerset's Maranda Mills led the charge with three state titles (triple jump), while Southwestern's JP Vaught (100-meter dash and 200-meter dash) and Somerset's Kendall Burgess (long jump and triple jump) each grabbed a pair of state championships. Somerset's Brian Obino won a triple jump state title in 2012.

Austin Hyden, of Pulaski County, won the 400-meter dash in 2014. In the 2013 edition of the state meet, Somerset's Cam Cheuvront crossed the line first in the 100-meter dash and Pulaski County's Jimmy Goldson claimed the gold medal in the 800-meter run.

Somerset's miracle touchdown wins program's inaugural football state championship trophy

With 28 seconds to go and down by three points to Mayfield with 86 yards to go, Somerset's sixth trip looked as if it would finish like their five previous trips -- a loss. However, Kaiya Sheron and the Briar Jumpers worked their way down to the field to get themselves in scoring position.

On an untimed down, Sheron found a wide-open Tate Madden in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. With the score, the Jumpers were able to pull off a miraculous, 34-31 win to give the Briar Jumper Nation their first-ever state championship.

Pulaski County, Southwestern make consecutive trips to Rupp Arena in

boys' basketball

The county schools won regional boys' basketball titles in back-to-back seasons. In John Fraley's inaugural season in his return to his alma mater, the Pulaski County Maroons won a 12th Region title after downing Mercer County. The win gave the Maroons their first trip to the state tourney since 1992.

Southwestern, a year later, reeled off three upset wins over Boyle County, Pulaski County, and Mercer County to win the program's second regional title. The Warriors won the school's inaugural regional title earlier in the decade (2012) when they went on to make a Final Four run at Rupp Arena.

Local cheerleading squads get the white jacket at

UCA Nationals

Over the course of the last decade, both Southwestern and Pulaski County made a splash at the national level. In fact, the two county schools combined to win three UCA National Championships at Disney World.

Southwestern led the way with two national championships, winning in 2013 and 2015. Pulaski County recently won a national title in 2019.

Somerset and Southwestern baseball teams consistent

in decade

In the previous decade, the word consistent was one word to describe the Southwestern and Somerset baseball teams. The Warriors won 20-plus games all ten years, while the Briar Jumpers won 20-plus games in every season except one.

Southwestern defeated the Jumpers in 2014 to win the school's second regional crown. Somerset reeled off three come-from-behind victories to win the 2019 region tourney. The Warriors and the Jumpers each won a lone region title and tallied two region runner-up finishes in the ten-year timeframe.

Lady Warrior hoopers win first-ever regional banner en route to a state runner-up finish

Coming into the 2018-2019 girls' basketball campaign, Southwestern had never won a 12th Region title. That all changed in March of 2019 when the Lady Warriors defeated Casey County in the title game to win the program's inaugural regional championship banner.

Southwestern wasn't done though, as they reeled off wins over Collins, North Laurel, and Male to advance to the state championship contest. The Lady Warriors would fall to Ryle in the title game, but what a run it was for Stephen Butcher and the Lady Warriors.

Somerset is a

football town

The previous decade saw our area's three football teams make some noise at the state level. In fact, Pulaski County, Southwestern, and Somerset all had a successful decade.

The three local schools combined for two state championships, three state runner-up finishes, 12 region championships, and seven regional runner-up banners. Somerset made one state finals appearance, while Pulaski County went to the state title game four years in a row.

The final year of the decade was 'Year of the Jumper'

If you are a Somerset fan, 2019 was your year. The Briar Jumper Nation had a lot to celebrate in the decade's final year, highlighted by the football team's first state championship in the program's 113th season.

The spring treated the Somerset faithful just as well, as the girls' track team came home second at the state meet, the boys' tennis team celebrated a 12th Region title, and the baseball team won another regional championship trophy.

I hope you enjoyed reminiscing on some of the things that stuck out to me from the last decade of sports in the Somerset-Pulaski County area. Although the sports in this decade are not off to a good start thanks to COVID-19, I hope that the athletes and teams will be just as successful between now and 2029.

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