Track's best local athletes over the past 10 years

This past decade produced a lot of great track & field performances among our local athletes with over 10 individual state track titles brought back to the Lake Cumberland area. Several more could have been earned this past season if not for the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Commonwealth Journal Sports picked out the best local track athletes, who we felt had the biggest impact on the spring sport over the past 10 years.

Topping the list was JP Vaught (Southwestern (2015 -2019), who claimed two Class AAA state track titles, was named the Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year two times (2016 and 2017), and was named to five consecutive CJ All-County Track Teams.

In his sophomore season, Vaught won two individual Class AAA state titles. Vaught won the state 100-meter dash with a 10.81 clocking, and he came back to smoke the 200-meter field with a winning time of 21.33. Vaught's 2017 state meet performance was historic at the local level, as well as the state level. Not only did Vaught join a prestigious short list of sophomore track athletes who have won double state track titles in the same day, but he became the school's first male athlete to win a state title in any sport.

In 2019, Vaught finished state runner-up in the 400-meter dash and helped led his Warrior 800-meter relay team to a state runner-up finish. Vaught was clocked in a school record time of 48.51 in his runner-up state meet 400-meter performance. In 2018, Vaught was state runner-up in the 200 meters.

In his freshman season, Vaught finished fourth in the state in both the 100 meters and the 200 meters. In his eighth-grade season, Vaught placed seventh in the Class AAA state meet 200-meter run with a time of 22.48, and later claimed two KTCCCA Middle School Track State Championship titles in the 100 meters and the 200 meters.

Maranda Mills (Somerset 2012-2015) dominated the state in the Class A jumping events for most of her career. Mills won back-to-back Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year awards (2012 and 2013), and was named to four consecutive CJ All-County Teams. Mills won three KHSAA state championship triple jump titles, 5 KHSAA individual state runner-up titles and 11 individual regional championship titles over a four-year span.

Over her high school career, Mills won 30 gold medals in the triple jump event and was only defeated eight times during her four-year high school career. Mills also won six KTCCCA individual indoor track state titles.

Mills dominated the Class A jumping events over her four-year high school career, she was never challenged in the long jump and triple jump events on the local level, and she rewrote the Somerset High School track record book.

Mills jumped a school record 38'01" in the triple jump during her freshman season, and won triple jump state titles in her freshman, sophomore and senior years.

Kendall Burgess (Somerset 2017- 2021) has only just completed her junior year in high school, but she is already regarded as one of the greatest Lady Jumper track athletes. Despite missing her junior track season because of the coronavirus pandemic sports cancellation, Burgess made her mark at the state level her sophomore season with two Class A state titles and two Class A state runner-up finishes all in the same day.

Burgess, the 2019 Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year and a three-time CJ All-County Team selection, finished up her 2019 track season with a bang after her state meet high-score total of 36 points. Burgess' state high-point total was a school record and helped guide the Lady Jumpers to a state-runner-up team title. Burgess won the state in the long jump event with a best of 17'08", and won another state crown in the triple jump with a best of 36'02. Burgess was state runner-up in the 100 meters with a time of 12.58, and second in the 200 meters with a clocking of 26.55. Burgess won two KTCCCA titles in 2020 and set Class A indoor records in both the long jump and triple jump.

In her freshman season, Burgess placed third in the state in the long jump, placed sixth in the state in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. In her eighth-grade year, Burgess improved her long jump distance by nearly three feet, and ended up with a Class A state meet runner-up finish in the long jump.

Carley Johnson (Pulaski County 2015-2018) was named to three straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Track Teams and competed in almost sprinting event staged for the Lady Maroons over her four years on the track team.

Throughout her prep career, Johnson has been a Region Champ in the 100 meters (twice), 200 meters, 400 meters, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay, and 4x400 relay. Johnson won two region titles in the 100 meters (2016 and 2017), won a region title in the 200 meters (2016), and a region title in the 400 meters (2014).

Cassi Reed (Southwestern 2014-2017) was named to four straight Commonwealth Journal All-County Track Teams and proved to be one of the school's all-time best multi-talented athletes in both track and basketball. In her senior season, Reed finished runner-up in the high jump in the Class AAA state track meet with a best height of 5'6".

Reed competed in the Class AAA state track meet high jump event for four straight years. Also, Reed competed in the state meet 800-meter event for two years (2015 and 2016), and appeared in the state meet 400 meters for three straight years (2015, 2016, and 2017).

For her career, Reed won a pair of Class AAA Region 7 titles in the 400 meters (2015 and 2016). As an eighth-grader, Reed placed third in the Region in the 1600-meter run. In her final performance at the state meet, Reed had her personal best in the high jump (5'6") and the 400-meter run (59.96).

Austin Hyden (Pulaski County 2011-2014) was named the 2014 Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year after wining the Class AAA 400-meter state title in a time of 48.60. Just a few days prior to his state title, Hyden stole the show at the Class AAA Region 7 Championships, by winning individual regional titles in all four of the events he competed in - 400 meters, 200 meters, high jump and long jump. Hyden won another state title that winter with a high jump (6'6") win in the KTCCCA Indoor Track State Championships.

Hyden won invitational meet MVP honors in several of the meets he competed in 2014, with wins in multiple events. Hyden had nine first place finishes in the 400-meter dash that season, which included the state meet, region meet, Rockcastle Invitational, Lake Cumberland Classic, Warrior Classic, Madison Central Invitational, and the Wildcat Classic.

Cam Cheuvront (Somerset 2011-2014) was a 2013 Class A 100-meter dash state champion, the 2013 Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year and a three-time CJ Track All-County Team selection.

In his junior season, Cheuvront beat the field in the 100-meter dash at the KHSAA Class A State Track Meet, finishing first with a time of 10.99 seconds. Cheuvront also played a role in Somerset's second-place finish in the 800-meter relay and seventh in the 400-meter relay.

Throughout is prep career, Cheuvront proved to be one of the best sprinters - regardless of Class - in the state. In his senior season, Cheuvront placed second in the 100 meters at the Class A state meet with a 10.91 clocking. Up until that meet, Cheuvront was undefeated in the 100 meters for the season with eight straight wins. Cheuvront's most impressive 100-meter win came in the prestigious Eastern Relays, where he won (10.99) against some of the top sprinters in the southeastern United States.

Also in his senior season, Cheuvront won Class A Region 6 individual titles in the 100 meters (10.99) and the 200 meters (22.8), and in only his second attempt at the event this season, Cheuvront finished third in the 200 meters at the state meet with a time of 22.38. In his sophomore season, Cheuvront took home a bronze medal in the 100-meter dash at the State Meet with a clocking of 11.29 seconds.

Jimmy Goldson (2011-2013) was the 2013 Class AAA 800-meter state champion, the 2013 Commonwealth Journal Track Athlete of the Year, and a three-time CJ All-County Track Team selection. Goldson brought home a state title in the 800-meter run at the KHSAA Class AAA State Track Meet with a winning time of 1:55. The junior also played a pivotal role in the Maroons' fourth-place finish in the 3200-meter relay and second-place finish in the 1600-meter relay.

As a sophomore in 2012, Goldson had a top-five finish at the State Meet in the 1600-meter run, which he finished in a time of 4:31. In the same event at Region, Goldson finished first in a winning time of 4:30. Also at Region, Goldson finished second in the 800-meter run with a clocking of 2:00. Earlier that season, Goldson turned in one of the state's best 1600-meter clockings with a 4:27.6 time

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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