Local athletes run on Mason-Dixon Games’ wooden surface

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By Jason Stamm

LOUISVILLE — Inside Broadbent Arena, it sounds like a stampede.

But there’s no cattle or horses.

It’s the sound of runners at full speed on an elevated wooden track with banked corners and older than the Nixon administration.

A number of Oldham middle school and high school runners conquered the track March 2 and 3 at the Mason-Dixon Games at Broadbent Arena in Louisville. Albeit with a few repairs, the track is the same used in the first running of the games in 1960.

Though many U.S. Olympic runners, such as Tyson Gay, had raced on the track, North Oldham High School junior Brianne Brown had a few worries before she ran.

“I was scared to get splinters,” she said. “Then, I didn’t want my knees getting scratched up from doing starts.”

Brown conquered her fears and her opponents by winning the Class AA girls’ 55-meter hurdles in 9.01 seconds and the 55-meter dash in 7.47 seconds.

She also finished third in the long jump in 16-10.00.

“We’ve been working on starts with her because she’s strong, but she’s gotta get quicker,” NOHS girls’ Coach Alan Yanke said. “She’s worked hard in the hurdles this winter and her form has gotten so much tighter. She’s more in a nice, straight line.”

After pulling away from the field, South Oldham senior Kami Orrender ran straight to the Class AA girls’ 1500-meter title in 5:17.28.

She ran in last place in the 12-runner final heat, before charging to first with two laps remaining.

“I was gonna let them go because I know that eventually they get into pace,” Orrender said. “I’m more about consistency than leading the race at the beginning.”

Like Orrender, Lady Dragons’ junior Grace Whitworth fell behind the other 11 runners in the 3,000-meter run. But Whitworth took over the lead with two laps left and held on for the win in 11:13.53.

“I run from behind and I get faster as I go along,” she said. “I let her do a little bit of the work at the beginning and then when I needed to the most is when I picked it up.”

North Oldham’s boys’ team finished third with 41.5 points, while the girls’ team finished fifth with 39 points.

South Oldham boys’ and girls’ finished sixth behind a number of event winners.

In the Class AAA meet, the Oldham County High School girls’ team took fourth place while the boys’ team finished fifth.

It’s unclear how long the 52-year old meet will continue, but some, like photographer Dave Hardin, are optimistic.
Hardin has photographed the meet for the past 10 years.

“I don’t know how this track holds up,” he said. “But somehow, it does year after year.”

Email us about this story at: sports@oldhamera.com.