One of Nashville’s best chances at a state track championship next week will come off the leaping feet of Father Ryan’s Kevin Carney.
The standout Irish trackman has a legitimate shot in both the high jump, where he has soared off the charts the past month, as well the decathlon. Heretofore a long shot in the decathlon, he has a legitimate aim in that two-day event DII meet at MTSU May 19-20.
Carney has already qualified for decathlon by winning the Middle Region last week at MBA. He is hoping to become the first Ryan state decathlon champion in almost half a century. Frank Halliburton was the only previous Irish winner with a 7,808 total in 1959.
And with an area best 6-8 leap recently in the high jump, he has his eyes set on that crown, as well. Carney will attempt to qualify for state in his specialty when that event begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. at MBA in the DII individuals. He was fourth in state last year.
“For sure, I’m aiming to win state in the high jump,’’ the 6-3, 195-pound Carney said last week at a meet at MBA. “I think I’m capable of a 6-10 (high jump) if things go right.’’
After a 6-4 jump in the Doug Hall Relays, Carney had his 6-8 leap, a meet record in the Great Eight at Vanderbilt last month. He just missed at 6-10. (The state record of 7-2 is likely out of reach). He also won the City meet at Harpeth Hall.
“My personal best was 6-4, then I cleared 6-6 and 6-8 on my first attempts in the Great Eight. On my attempt at 6-10, I was over, but I clipped the bar with the back of my heel,’’ said Carney, a Kentucky signee. Carney has played basketball and football (safety) until this year, when he concentrated solely on track.
“Kentucky got a steal in Kevin,’’ said fourth-year Ryan coach Doug Jones. “I think he’s just scratching the surface as to his potential.
“Kevin actually had a bad region, even though he won it,’’ Jones said. “He is capable of a much better total, we’re hoping in the 6,100-6,300 area.
Carney’s 5,771 region total is better than any of the other DII participants. However, the X-factor is three-time defending state champ Ben Davies, who has been hampered all spring by a hamstring injury. Davies, of Brentwood Academy, barely qualified for state with a 5,112 tally but his expected improved health makes him a tough customer.
“Ben’s been great for years, and for sure, he will be tough to beat,’’ Carney said. “I had the same thing happen to me last year, when I had to miss state with a pulled hamstring.’’
BOWERS; NO EXPECTATIONS: Of all of the participants in the girls DII Region girls pentathlon, maybe the most unlikeliest to have won the event was Anna Bowers.
With very little advance training, especially in events she had never competed in before, the Ensworth star won the event with a 2,959 total over teammate Genny Mayden, who was runnerup with a 2,651 total.
“I went in with zero expectations,’’ said Bowers, who has qualified for the state penthalon in Murfreesboro, May 19. Asked when she started practicing for events she hadn’t competed in previously, she said, “I worked with my coach Scott Perkinson on technique in some of the events the day before it started.
“The high jump is something I’m pretty good at, but events like the shot put and hurdles are things I’m new at. I didn’t win but one event (the high jump), but I got enough seconds and thirds to help my point total,’’ said Bowers, a Lipscomb basketball signee.
“She went over the first hurdle with her left foot first, then she went over the second hurdle with her right foot first,’’ said her mother, Debbie Bowers. “It was almost funny, but she managed to get through it OK.’’
LIPSCOMB MARATHON: The David Lipscomb softball team had to play three games in one day last Friday, but the Mustangs survived the marathon to win the District 9-AA tourney at Trevecca.
The third game finished up at 12:05 a.m. Saturday morning – but the Mustangs pulled off winning the tripleheader with a 9-7 final win over Ezell-Harding, having to beat the Eagles two straight games.
Lipscomb beat Hume-Fogg 7-3 to eliminate the Knights. They came back with a 6-1 win over Ezell as soph Lydia Biggerstaff belted her 9th homer.
Late into the night, the Mustangs were down 3-0 to Ezell early, then used a three-run homer by Biggerstaff, a school record 10th, and a two-run single by Whitney Wood, capping a seven-run third inning for a 7-3 lead. Courtney Williams homered for E-H.
Pitcher Leigh Ann Henry won both games, including the 9-7 clincher, which finished well past normal bedtimes.
A number of Lipscomb baseball players came over to cheer the girls on after they had won the 9-AA baseball title earlier in the day. Like the girls, they came out of the losers bracket and beat FRA twice at Shelby Park.
BGA CAPTURES REGION: In the DII Region finals, Battle Ground Academy rallied for five runs in the sixth, capped by an opposite field three-run double by senior David Isaacs, who then scored on a sacrifice fly last Friday to post a 9-6 win over BA.
The Wildcats lost to Baylor Saturday 6-3, dropping them to a No. 2 seed for Sectionals Friday. BGA hosts Briarcrest in a best-of-three series.
ELIMINATION MONDAY: It is heartbreak Monday today as all winners in the region baseball and softball semifinal games advance, and all losers are eliminated. Today’s winners play in the region finals Wednesday. Both teams in those games will advance to sectionals Friday.
HARPETH HALL WINS: Host Harpeth Hall won its fourth title in the seven-year history of state lacrosse with a 15-9 win over Hutchison Saturday as Junie Welsh scored six goals for the Bears (14-5).
SOWELL NEW GLENCLIFF COACH: Glencliff High has hired four-year assistant c, who replaces Steven Wright. Sowell, 31, was an assistant for four years under Wright and also a former graduate assistant at Tennessee State.