With seven state track titles, a Class A girls team state runner-up finish, and a Class AAA girls team state second runner-up finish - during a three-day period in the KHSAA State Track & Field Championships - 2021 was one of the best-ever statewide performances by our local track athletes.
And with all these great state meet performances, two athletes stood out with extraordinary athletic feats to dominate the Class A and the Class AAA girls state track meets.
Somerset High School senior Kendall Burgess and Pulaski County senior Maddy Dunn both excelled on the track this season, and in the state championships, to earn the Commonwealth Journal's Co-Track Athletes of the Year honors.
Kendall Burgess finished off an amazing track career by winning an unprecedented three individual KHSAA state titles, adding to her two state crowns from 2019. Burgess won back-to-back Class A long jump and triple jump state titles, and added a 100-meter dash state title to her trophy case this past season. Burgess placed fourth in the state in the girls 200-meter dash.
Burgess won all four of her events (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and the triple jump) in the Class A Region 6 Track & Field Championships. Burgess made her fourth straight Commonwealth Journal Track All-County Team and was named Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year for the second straight season.
Maddy Dunn won the Class AAA state title in the girls 100-meter dash, was on two Lady Maroons state championship relay teams (400-meter relay and the 800-meter relay) and placed third in the state in the girls 200-meter dash.
Dunn won both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash in the Class AAA Region 7 Track & Field Championships. Dunn also anchored the Lady Maroons' regional championship 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay teams. Dunn was named to her second straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Track Team.
Somerset High School senior Madison Garland saved her best athletic performance for last with a Class A state title in the girls shot put event. Garland, a three-time Commonwealth Journal All-County Basketball selection, also won the Class A Region 6 shot put title.
Somerset High School junior Grayson Turner turned in an amazing performance in the Class A State Track and Field Championships with state runner-up finishes in the long jump and triple jump. Also, Turner placed third in the state in the 100-meter dash and the 110-meter hurdles (with these two events staged back-to-back). Turner won four individual titles in the Class A Region 6 Track & Field Championships with wins in the 100 meters, 110 hurdles, long jump and triple jump.
Somerset High School junior Emily Ham placed third in the state in the Class A triple jump event. Ham also placed seventh in the state in the girls 100-meter hurdles. In the Class A Region 6 Track & Field Championships, Ham placed second in the triple jump, third in the 100-meter hurdles, and third in the 400-meter dash.
Pulaski County senior Shelby Cothron has had to deal with injuries throughout most of her high school career, but she closed out her track career with three state meet medals. Cothron, who has been named to three Commonwealth Journal All-County Track Teams, was on the state championship Lady Maroons' 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay teams, and was on the state second runner-up Pulaski County 1600-meter relay team. Cothron placed ninth in the state in the 400-meter dash. At the Class AAA Region 7 Championships, Cothron placed second in the 400 meters.
Somerset High School senior Lexie Herndon placed third in the high jump in the Class A Track & Field State Championships. Herndon placed second in the high jump in the Class A Region 6 Championships. In the high jump event, Herndon placed fifth in the state in 2019 and second in the region.
Pulaski County High School senior Morgan Bruin has been a staple for the Lady Maroons' track and cross country programs for the past six years, and in her last high school competition she was awarded two state championship medals and a state second runner-up medal. Bruin was on the Lady Maroons' state championship 400-meter and 800-meter relay teams and was on the state second runner-up 1600-meter relay team. Bruin placed 11th in the state in the 200-meter dash. In the Class AAA Region 7 Championships, Bruin placed third in the 200-meter dash and was on two regional championship relay teams.
The Commonwealth Journal All-County Track & Field Honorable Mention athletes were Pulaski County's Clint Woods, Pulaski County's Maggie Holt, Pulaski County's Abbee Coomer, Southwestern's Caleb Perrin, Southwestern's Ethan Ware, and Somerset's Cole Blakeman.