The Harlan County Lady Bears enter the Class 2A, Region 7 meet set for Friday as one of the favorites to capture the regional title. One of the big reasons for the Lady Bears’ success has been the performance of their 100- and 200-meter relay teams.
The squad, which is comprised of junior Kali Nolan and freshmen Phebe McHargue, K.K. Johnson and Reanna Middleton, has won several meets already this season, including including second place in the 100-meter relay and third in the 200-meter relay at the Area 9 meet, first in both at the Harlan County High School All-Comers meet last week, second in the 100 and first in the 200 at the Coal Miners Memorial Invitational and first in the 100 and second in the 200 at the Leslie County meet. Both teams were third in the Southeastern Kentucky Conference meet.
“This group of girls has been fantastic all season,” said Harlan County coach Ryan Vitatoe. “Kali, Phebe and K.K. have done an incredible job with their work ethic, and Reanna was the missing piece for us coming into the season. She’s stepped into her role and has done a fantastic job for us. I fully expect them to be in the hunt for regional wins in both those events and to advance to the KHSAA state meet at UK.”
McHargue, Johnson and Middleton were part of the school’s regional runner-up team in basketball and had already established a good chemistry.
“The bond between us is unbreakable,” Johnson said. “There’s no better feeling than winning with these girls.”
“I’ve been a part of this program for two years and this year is the first time that I’ve felt like we are finally getting somewhere,” Nolan said. “The girls team has worked very hard and it’s shown. I’m so proud of everyone and their effort this year. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, hopefully it will include a regional trophy.”
If the Lady Bears could win the meet Friday it would be their first regional championship. The HCHS boys won a regional title in 2011.
The Region 7 meet is set for Friday at Coal Miners Memorial Stadium. The top two finishers in each event advance to state competition.
Kaitlynn Creech is a staff writer for Bear Tracks (harlancountyhs.com), the electronic school newspaper at Harlan County High School