LEXINGTON -- During the boys' 100-meter dash, one gunshot quickly followed another to show there was a false start and after some brief discussion, a red flag came up in the lane of University Heights Academy's Isiah Pantiere.
Pantiere was disqualified from the race, but his day was far from over at the 2019 Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 1A State Track & Field Championships.
The Blazer senior went on to win the 400-meter dash and 200-meter dash while also breaking a Class 1A record in the 200.
"In the 100, I might have anticipated it too much," he said. "Too much excitement, too much nerves. I really wanted to see what I'm going to get today. My self-goal was to PR and in all the other events I did. I'm excited.
"I PR'd. That's all I wanted to do today. I could care less what place I got but it got me first, I'm happy as heck right now."
UHA Coach Faye Hendricks knows she's got a talented runner on her hands, but it's the mental aspect that sets Pantiere apart from some of his competitors.
"I think that's a resilience that most of us wish to develop," she said. "He's formally a high school kid that has that ability to bounce back. We know he's going to do great things and hope Louisville's ready for what they're getting."
After the 400, Pantiere said it was all adrenaline when he won the 200 and set the record.
"I'm ready to run again but I have no more events," he said after the race.
The future Louisville Cardinal said it doesn't matter what he did in his short time at UHA, but that he had an impact on younger athletes.
"What it really means to me, with me being a two-time champion, it doesn't set a standard because I never want to put standards on anybody doing track. I always want them to do their best," he said. "But it gives them an example that just because we go from a low program that's not really that big, you can still do big things. With that said, I'm just glad I can show future athletes of UHA 'you can do this. It's possible. Just believe in yourself. Coach is a good coach. Look what he did for me."
The UHA boys' team finished with 22 points, 20 of them coming from the feet of Pantiere.
Distance runner Tomas Duncan grabbed the other two points when he finished seventh in the 1,600-meter run.
Duncan said he wasn't as nervous about the trip to state this season.
"Last year, it was more about the atmosphere, getting used to the atmosphere," he said. "Now that I've gotten older, I know that I can actually compete and actually run with these guys. Now that the freshman year is done and over with, it's actually time to race with them."
Holy Cross' Keeton Thornsberry swept the distance races and capped off a prolific running career.
For Duncan, Thornsberry is an athlete who did everything the right way.
"You can just tell he's confident," he said. "He's confident in what he does. He knows what he's doing and that's just something I look up to. He's very professional. He runs, he doesn't gloat on his wins."
On the girls' side, UHA finished 21st overall with 13 points.
Aisha Pantiere grabbed the first points of the day for the Lady Blazers when she finished seventh in the 100-meter hurdles, but she was also a member of the 4x200-meter relay team that finished fifth.
Aisha was the oldest member of the team that included Lily Hendricks, Meghan Adams and Evelyn Morales.
"As a senior, I'm supposed to be a leader even though I only started a month ago," she said. "They have more faith in me than I do myself. I had to work on myself to push them and gain some confidence."
Aisha signed her letter of intent last week to continue to a volleyball career at Midway University.
She said she felt some pressure going into Thursday and was also nursing a hip injury,
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but there was no way she wasn't competing.
"I was worried about tearing something and I was like 'I still have a volleyball career to worry about,' " she said. "But I was like 'I've just got to give it my all. If something happens then I did it for my team.' "
The Lady Blazers also finished seventh in the 4x400-meter relay to add two points to their score.
UHA senior Muki Kunnmann didn't end her Lady Blazer career the way she wanted, but the distance runner did place sixth in her final high school race.
"Muki is an extremely talented young lady," Hendricks said. "She's brilliant, valedictorian. Going to UNC-Chapel Hill and she's on to greater things, but she's made an imprint on UHA Blazer track and it's just great to watch her medal in the 3,200 today. That was big.
"I know she didn't have the senior season she hoped for, but when you're a girl, it's harder the older you get to do that so for her to medal in the 3,200 every year is ridiculous."
A year ago, University Heights Academy had its first state champion. Now it has three champions in two years and is ready to continue its success next season.
Hendricks said the recent performances have been a huge step for the school's program.
"We have some kids with a great work ethic that come out and work their tail off on a daily basis and they really generally perform well," she said. "We hit some rough spots today. We had some rain, we had our first DQ from a false start. We had our first male participants medal in state too.
"Our future looks pretty bright. We didn't graduate too many and we've got a bunch of hard workers that got a taste of victory and they're ready to come back next year."
The Blazer roster was limited this season with injuries, but with numbers and some good luck, Hendricks said they could make some noise next season and for years to come.
"We're bringing in some great talent that's been injured but we're hoping to bring in quite a few more," she said. "In order for us to compete at region, we're going to have to have at least 15 athletes. We're going to have to get more numbers, which is always hard at UHA because our kids do multiple things already so we'll see what we can come up with. The future's bright."