Trigg County’s JaQuellus Martin is the 2021 Kentucky New Era boys track and field Athlete of the Year.

JaQuellus Martin was ready and prepared to win a state track championship in 2020.

“I felt like I would’ve won my junior year, to be honest,” he said. “Coming into that year, I was already running during the summer and getting ready. Even during football season I was running and making sure I was getting ready for track season.”

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that opportunity got taken away from him.

Some people would’ve phoned it in after losing their season, taking a break from the grind and enjoy some time away from athletics.

While Martin did take a small break, he knew he had to get to work.

“I think it kind of made me lose a little bit,” Martin said. “There was a period where I didn’t work out and had to get back into a groove. I feel like if I would’ve had that year, it would have enhanced this year way more. I’m grateful and thankful that I got the ability to finish my senior year.”

Going into his senior season, his goal was very clear.

“I just wanted to be a state champion,” Martin said. “It was all up to me to be a dog and to go get it.”

Martin got up and got to work and after waiting about two years to run in the state meet in Lexington again, he made the most of his chance.

Martin closed his high school career with a state championship in the 200-meter dash and his ability to continue to push and achieve his goal is why he has been named the 2021 Planter’s Bank Kentucky New Era boys’ track and field Athlete of the Year.

Martin was sad to see his junior year on the track get taken from him, but instead of sulking, he used that to push him even harder.

“I had a lot of motivation from my mom, my aunt, all my coaches — everybody wanted me to go get it this year,” he said. “We all felt like if I had my junior year I would’ve won. But I had a lot of motivation behind me and in me.”

The Wildcat channeled that motivation and went to work.

Martin took the top seed in the 200-meter to the Class 2A state track and field meet and did what he had done all year in the event.

The senior sprinted past the finish line, edging his competition and grabbing a state title as well.

“There were a lot of feelings,” Martin said. “I lot of excitement fand I was overwhelmed a little. I just felt blessed. I was grateful to God that he let me get that.”

Martin does leave the track on top as a state champion, as he has now shifted his focus to football at Murray State.

While he doesn’t plan on running track in college, he is very hopeful he can use that state championship speed to his advantage and become a piece in Dean Hood’s system during his freshman year this fall.

“I’m taking advantage of it (on the football field),” he said. “I hope it helps the football team. … I’m hoping I become an asset that they want and need.”


2021 boys’ track and field All-KNE Team

JaQuellus Matrin — Trigg County

Chase Atkins — Hopkinsville

Connor Dill — UHA

Jeremiah Holley — Fort Campbell

Tomas Duncan — UHA

Kemaure Mumford — Hopkinsville

Sam Cotthoff — UHA

Zahnte Brown — Hopkinsville

JT Adams — Christian County

Xazvion West — Todd County Central

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