LEXINGTON — When she’d finished her last event at the KHSAA Class 2A State Track and Field Championships Friday, Western Hills senior Anna Curlin, kneeling next to the track, looked up at a couple of bystanders and asked, “Did that just happen? Did I just win three events?”
Yes, Anna, you did.
The WHHS senior capped off her high school career by winning the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes at the University of Kentucky track, setting personal records in each race.
“I’m speechless,” Curlin said. “I’m really surprised in the best way possible.
“I can’t imagine a better way for your senior year state track meet to go.”
Teammates Alaina Hall and Cameron Murphy won the 300-meter hurdle races, and Murphy was runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles.
Aja Leachman was second in the discus throw, and the Lady Wolverines took third place in the team standings.
Franklin County’s girls team finished in a tie for ninth place with Ashley Lawhorn, Kerrigan Brown and Kristen Ellis picking up points for the Lady Flyers.
When the meet was over, Curlin received the Kentucky National Guard Best & Brightest Award.
“All day I felt good,” she said. “I was excited. The long jump went really terribly. I probably shouldn’t have done it at all, but I think I made up for it.”
She certainly did, starting with her first race of the meet.
Curlin’s goal at state was to successfully defend her title in the 400-meter dash, but she kicked off the day with a win in the 100 meters with a time of 12.38. Waggener’s Shannon Martin was second in 12.52.
Martin came into the state meet seeded first based on her regional time of 12.50. Curlin ran 12.72 in her regional meet two weeks ago.
“I didn’t expect to win,” she said. “It was a surprise. Surprising — I can’t think of a better word to describe the day, and that definitely got me going today.”
Curlin had no trouble defending her 400-meter title, winning by more than a second. Her time was 56.42 seconds, and North Oldham’s Erin Olsson was second in 57.70.
She outdueled Martin again, this time in the 200 meters, with a winning time of 25.14 seconds. Martin, the top seed, took second in 25.36.
Hall, a senior, came into state seeded first in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.14, but she wasn’t confident about the race.
“I was very nervous because I was sick,” she said. “There’s a whole lot of congestion and constant coughing, so I was very nervous.”
Hall started getting sick about midweek.
“I’ve been drinking a lot of water and eating cough drops like candy,” she said. “My mom was praying for me, a lot of people were praying for me, and I prayed for myself. I just pushed through it.”
And she pushed through it with a personal best time of 45.65 seconds. Russell County’s Bailey Bean was second in 46.37.
“When I crossed the finish line I expected to look up and see 47, but I looked up and saw 45. I was so excited I started crying.”
Hall also set a PR in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing fourth in 16.03.
Murphy, also a senior, placed second in the 300-meter hurdles at last year’s state meet.
He won the event at this year’s regional meet with a time of 39.58, good for the No. 1 seed at the state.
“Everyone said ‘you were going so fast,’” Murphy said about Friday’s race, “but it felt so slow.”
It wasn’t. Murphy won the 300 hurdles in 38.49 seconds, less than 4/10ths of a second ahead of Rowan County’s Isaac Lee, who was runner-up in 38.87 seconds.
Murphy’s time set a PR in the race, and he was runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.01 seconds. Defending champion James Washington won the race in 14.76.
Murphy holds the school record in both hurdle events.
Brown, in her first trip to state, had the Lady Flyers’ best finish, placing fourth in the shot put with a PR of 34 feet, 4 inches. Leachman was third in the event with a throw of 34-6.
“I tried not to think about it so I wouldn’t get nervous,” said Brown, a sophomore. “When I made it to the final I got a little nervous, but I kind of got over it.”
Lawhorn finished seventh in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 27.03 seconds, and she was eighth in the 1,600 meters in 5:28.93.
Ellis was eighth in the discus throw at 103 feet, 9 inches.
WHHS senior JP Isaacs placed fifth in two events — in the 400 meters with a time of 51.20 seconds and the 200 meters in 22.61.
Leachman threw a personal-best 124 feet, 6 inches in the discus throw and finished second behind Christian Academy of Louisville’s Lilli Popovich with a throw of 128-11.
“We’ve gone head to head all season,” Leachman said about Popovich. “If I’m going to get second place to someone I’m happy it’s to her.”
Setting a PR didn’t provide Leachman with a lot of consolation.
“I’m happy it was my personal best,” she said, “but what takes the sting out of it is seeing the PRs all my teammates have set and seeing them come out as state champions.”
North Oldham won the girls team title with 90.5 points, followed by Lexington Catholic with 63 points and WHHS with 59.
Highlands scored 56 points to win the boys team title, finishing five points ahead of North Oldham and Paducah Tilghman.
Here are the results for the Western Hills and Franklin County competitors.
100-meter hurdles — 4. Alaina Hall (WH) 16.03.
100-meter dash — 1. Anna Curlin (WH) 12.38.
1,600-meter run — 8. Ashley Lawhorn (FC) 5:28.93.
400-meter dash — 1. Anna Curlin (WH) 56.42.
300-meter hurdles — 1. Alaina Hall (WH) 45.65.
800-meter run — 7. Ashley Lawhorn (FC) 2:27.44.
200-meter dash — 1. Anna Curlin (WH) 25.14.
3,200-meter run — 19. Dove DeNigris (WH) 12:46.85.
4x400-meter relay — 20. FCHS (Charisma Haynes, Ashley Lawhorn, Kirsten Pilcher, Kerry Taylor) 4:29.98.
Shot put — 3. Aja Leachman (WH) 34-06, 4. Kerrigan Brown (FC) 34-04, 14. Kristen Ellis (FC) 31-05.25.
Discus throw — 2. Aja Leachman (WH) 124-06, 8. Kristen Ellis (FC) 103-09, 17. Kirsten Pilcher (FC) 82-08.
Long jump — 18. Anna Curlin (WH) 13-08.50.
Pole vault — 13. Annie Cunningham (WH) 8-00.
110-meter hurdles — 2. Cameron Murphy (WH) 15.01.
100-meter dash — 17. D.J. Green (WH) 11.47.
4x200-meter relay — 15. WHHS (D.J. Green, JP Isaacs, Cameron Murphy, Ben Tinsley) 1:36.02.
400-meter dash — 5. JP Isaacs (WH) 51.20.
300-meter hurdles — 1. Cameron Murphy (WH) 38.49.
200-meter dash — 5. JP Isaacs (WH) 22.61.
4x400-meter relay — 12. WHHS (D.J. Green, JP Isaacs, Keenan Jones, Cameron Murphy) 3:34.20.
Long jump — 21. Nick Raymond (WH) 18-06.
Triple jump — 12. Nick Raymond (WH) 39-04.75.
Click here for more photos from the state meet