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Track team fares well at state

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By Jesse Osbourne

A school record fell and Marion County High School was three inches away from crowning their first state champion after the KHSAA Class AA state track meet on Thursday.

Jassmine Franklin was the star for the Lady Knights, breaking her own 100-meter hurdles record after setting it a week earlier.

Franklin was also the early favorite to win the girl's high jump, coming in as the highest seed.

"She had a pretty shot," Track Head Coach Robby Peterson said. "She's been fighting that ankle for half a season."

Franklin would come up short in the high jump, clearing only five feet. She cleared five feet, two inches at the region meet.

She was one of six finalists trying to clear five feet, two inches until a junior from Central High School did something incredible.

Cha' Niquia Gore was the first to clear five feet, two inches then went on to break the state record by clearing five feet three inches.

Franklin would jump five feet, two inches again for a chance at second place but would miss again. She finished fourth.

In the region meet a week earlier, Franklin broke Sallye (Thompson) Lampley's 100-meter hurdles record from 1980. Lampley's record stood at 16.42.

At the region meet, Franklin smashed that by finishing in 16.35.

Not satisfied, Franklin made the time a little bit more out of reach by finishing it in 16.31. She finished fifth overall in the event.

Franklin also owns the girl's high jump record at five feet, two inches. She beat Michelle Luckett's best jump of four feet, 11 inches from 1978.

Other highlights include an eighth place finish for the boy's 4 x 100 meter relay team that consisted of Bryson Bell, Valis Mudd, Kendal Taul and Jordan Bell.

"Bryson ran a real good leg," Peterson said.

The team finished second in their heat and eighth overall.

The boy's 4 x 800 meter relay team finished 20th out of 25 teams.

In the 110-meter hurdles, Timmy Dawson finished 21st out of 24 competitors.

Buster Hazelwood finished last in the 100-meter hurdles due to a leg injury that forced him to pull up.

The girl's 4 x 100 meter relay team finished eighth out of 24 teams.

Brooks Devine finished last in the boy's 300-meter hurdles. Devine also finished 11th in the pole vault.

Natavia Young finished 17th out of 24 competitors in the long jump. Young also finished 18th out of 22 competitors in the triple jump.

Kendal Taul finished 13th out of 24 in the triple jump.

Overall, the girl's team finished 19th out of 40 teams. The boy's team finished last out of the 45 teams that scored points.

"We lose quite a few but still have several kids returning," Peterson said. "I think we'll have a good year next year. The kids have bought in and we return several juniors and several kids that went to state the last few years. I don't see any drop off even though we do lose several."

The team took a record 19 athletes to the event, most in school history.