There have many great and defining moments in the local sports scene over the years, but none could rival the overall success - in Kentucky High School Athletic Association competition - achieved by our three local high schools (Pulaski County, Somerset, and Southwestern) in the 2018-2019 school year.
The biggest achievements of the year came from the Southwestern High School girls basketball team and the Somerset High School girls track team, as both programs claimed state runner-up titles. Also, the Pulaski County High School girls archery team won KHSAA state title.
For the year in KHSAA events, the local area produced 10 different region team titles in eight different sports.
In chronological order I would like to recap the great year in sports:
Sept. 24, 2018 - The Pulaski County High School girls golf team captured the program's first-ever regional crown. A torrential downpour couldn't stop the Lady Maroons golf team, as they won the team title in a playoff hole with a winning team score of 366.
Oct. 18, 2018 - The Southwestern High School volleyball team claimed the program's eighth 12th Region title and their first in almost three years. Their eighth volleyball region crown didn't come easy as they had to come from two games down to beat two-time defending region champs West Jessamine in the tourney's opening round. Southwestern downed their 48th District rivals Wayne County, in four sets, in the region finals.
Oct. 20, 2018 - The Southwestern High School boys soccer team claimed the program's first regional crown since 2004 in a 3-0 win over Danville. Prior to the regional title game, the Admirals had only lost one time in 21 matches. Southwestern's stingy defense only allowed one goal in their four post-season matches in district and region tourney play.
Nov. 16, 2018 - The Pulaski County High School football team downed their cross-town foes Southwestern, 13-6, for the Maroons' sixth regional crown. On a muddy PCHS field, the Maroons hoisted another gold region trophy after a one-year hiatus. The Maroons had won four straight region titles and advanced to four straight state finals from 2013 to 2016, with a state crown in 2014.
Nov. 16, 2018 - The Somerset High School football team relied on their defense's goal-line stand to pull off the dramatic 35-31 regional championship win over Lexington Christian Academy. With a long history of football success over the past 50 years, the Briar Jumpers had went almost five years without a regional title, but the 2018 Somerset team brought home the program's 17th regional gold trophy.
March 4, 2019 - The Southwestern High School girls basketball team made school history by winning the program's first 12th Region crown in their 68-54 win over Casey County. Prior to their regional final win, the Lady Warriors knocked off region tourney favorites Lincoln County, 74-59.
March 9, 2019 - Both the Pulaski County High School boys and girls archery teams pulled off KHSAA archery team titles. The Pulaski County girls tallied 1,986 points to claim their region team title, while the Pulaski County boys scored 2,003 points to claim their team title. Morgan Ruckel won the boys individual archery region title.
March 17, 2019 - After playing in their first-ever girls state basketball tournament, the Southwestern girls basketball team fought and clawed their way to the KHSAA Girls Basketball State Tournament finals at Rupp Arena. Despite falling to Ryle 63-48 in the finals, the Lady Warriors staged one of the most heroic post-season runs ever.
April 30, 2019 - The Pulaski County High School girls archery team claimed the KHSAA state archery crown with a state best 1,997 points, while Pulaski County archer Morgan Ruckel (297) won an individual state crown in the KHSAA boys archery competition.
May 20, 2019 - The Somerset High School boys tennis team claimed their first regional team title in over 13 years. The Briar Jumpers were led by their region championship doubles team of Jonathan Nickell and Eric DeMunbrun, and their region runner-up singles play of Amin Katanbaf.
May 27, 2019 - The Somerset High School baseball team took down a powerful Danville team, 10-9, to claim their first regional title in over a decade. Led by some great senior leaders and a group of talented sophomores, the Briar Jumpers made an amazing post-season run to claim the region gold trophy. Somerset had to withstand a 13-inning game to down Pulaski County, 2-1, in the district tourney opener.
May 30, 2019 - A week prior the Somerset High School girls track team finished runner-up in the Class A Region 6 Championships. However, the Lady Jumpers stepped up their regional performances in the Class A State Track Championships with a state runner-up team title. Thanks, in large part, to sophomore Kendall Burgess' two individual state titles and two individual state runner-up titles, the Lady Jumpers scored 46.5 points and were just 1.5 points behind state champs Beechwood.
And beyond just the realm of KHSAA high school sports, the local area was well represented in other leagues in statewide competition. Just to name a few, Meece Middle School won a middle school state football title, while Northern Middle School won a middle school baseball title. This past school year, Somerset Christian won KCAA state titles in soccer, boys basketball, and girls cross country. The Pulaski County High School cheerleaders won a national cheer title.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.