DANVILLE — Frankfort High senior sprinter Shantiqa Shaw put her special combination of speed, skill and experience to good use Saturday in the Class 1A Region 5 Track & Field Championships, breezing to comfortable wins in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles races.
Shaw moves on to state in two weeks as a strong contender in the 300 hurdles and a dark horse in the 100.
The 5-foot FHS standout covered the 300 hurdles Saturday in 50.10 seconds, beating runner-up, Sarah Auvill of Burgin, by more than three seconds.
Shaw was just as dominant in the 100 hurdles, winning in 17.44 seconds. Maggie Morse of Gallatin County was second in that one in 18.79.
Shaw also qualified for state in the 100 meters, running second at region to Burgin senior star Liz Marcinek. Marcinek — an Eastern Kentucky signee — won in 13.12, and Shaw ran 13.37.
Shaw also competed in the long jump at region, finishing third in 15 feet, 5 inches.
Junior Jalen Acree was the only other Frankfort High athlete to post a top-two region finish and earn an automatic state meet berth. Acree tossed the shot put 42 feet Saturday, losing by a hair to Lexington Christian Academy senior Neil Rose, who won in 42-3.
Shaw said she’s run the 300 hurdles at state since the eighth grade, and ran the 100 hurdles there as a sophomore, but has never posted a strong state result. So Shaw ran with the determination Saturday that was typical of her efforts throughout the spring.
“I’ve been working on this for four years, so I’m glad to get it,” Shaw said. “This is my last year, and I’m just trying to push it. I’m very, very determined.”
“She was fantastic,” Frankfort coach Ed Fields said of Shaw’s showing at region. “She’s put in a lot of work, and she really has a burning desire to do better ... to get her times down.”
Fields said Shaw is better at the longer hurdles race because there’s slightly less emphasis on technique and more on speed. In the 100 hurdles, with fewer steps between hurdles, Shaw’s short legs are more of a drawback.
“Because her steps are short, we do five steps instead of three,” Fields said of the 100 hurdles. “She can sprint more in the 300 because there’s the bigger gap between hurdles. That’s why she does better there.”
Shaw indicated her only disappointment Saturday was a slight falter going over the final hurdle in the 300.
“If I didn’t mess up there, I could have run a 48,” she said.
A 48-second 300 could net Shaw a win at state.
Acree, meanwhile, has little of the experience Shaw can boast about. Acree is a football standout (running back, defensive line) who came out for track this spring largely just to pass the time.
He’s competed in just four meets this spring, making his second-place region finish in the shot borderline bizarre.
“My main sport is football, and I’m real good at that, but the coaches always tell me I should get out and do more things, and I thought the shot would be good to put on my resume for college,” Acree said. “I’m surprised. I didn’t think I would get to the top of the (region) ranking as I did.”
Acree came into the region at the No. 1 seed with a personal record toss of 43-8 this spring.
Fields said it was clear coming in this season that Acree has the strength to be a good shot putter, but Acree’s rapid progress in technique has been a surprise.
“I’m surprised how quickly he’s catching on to technique because the first time he threw this spring, he just threw it, and now he’s throwing it with a little more technique,” Fields said of Acree. “I think that says a lot for him. He’s an amazing story.”
Frankfort High was hampered at region by a lack of numbers, largely due to nagging injuries. FHS did not field any relay teams.
A handful of other FHS athletes enjoyed personal bests, even though no one qualified for state outside of Shaw and Acree.
Senior Amber Wilcoxson capped a long, consistent high school career with strong finishes in the 100 (fifth in 14.25); 200 (fourth in 29.19) and 400 (fourth in 1:08.5).
“Amber really did well in that 400,” Fields said. “That was one of the best 400s I’ve seen her run. And I had her for a PR in the 200. I really hate that we didn’t have any relays because that would have boosted her chances to get to state. But she’s been a diligent person in track for us. She started in the eighth grade.”
Junior Jayne Yocum enjoyed a busy and accomplished day at region, competing in the discus, shot and triple jump. Her efforts were highlighted by a ninth-place finish in the triple jump in 26 feet, 1/2 inch, and 10th in the discus at 58 feet, 10 inches and a 24-11 finish in the shot put in her first time competing in that latter event.
“Jayne has thrown the discus only twice, and she PRd in the discus today,” Fields said of Yocum. “And she threw the shot for just the first time today, I think. Jayne has been right there with us this spring. She is working on her basketball skills, but she really likes track, too. She’s a hard worker and one of the reliable ones, and there’s a lot to be said for that.”
In other events for Frankfort, junior Jalen Washington finished fourth in the 100 in 11.95 seconds, sophomore Devonte Faulkner was eighth in the 400 in 1:00.19, and sophomore Hunter Mantor was seventh in the 1,600 in 5:22.63 and 11th in the 800 in 2:21.57.
The final team scores were not available at press time.
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