Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Starnes' contributions cannot be overstated

Angela Starnes was inducted last weekend
into the KHSAA Hall of Fame.
Angela Starnes was inducted into the Dawahares/Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, largely because of her record-setting high school track career at Todd County Central. However, her contributions as a Crittenden County teacher, coach and athletic director cannot be overstated.

For nearly three decades, Starnes has been been a pillar of consistent, strong inspiration for students and student-athletes in Marion. Yet, the impetus of these laurels bestowed last weekend in Lexington were derived from a stellar athletic career of her own.

What many people in Crittenden County have never realized is that Mrs. Coach Starnes – as she affectionately known around Crittenden County Elementary School where she teaches physical education like it’s molecular science – has a storied past.

Starnes – who’s maiden name is Payne – remains in the state records books even today. She won seven state titles as a track athlete at Todd Central during the last 1970s and early 1980s. Her 12.20-second 100-meter Class A state championship in 1980 has never been broken.

As a sophomore in 1978, Starnes won the 440-yard dash and anchored the 4×100 relay team to a first-place finish. She followed that up as a junior in 1979 by winning the first of two consecutive state titles in the 400-meter dash and added another victory in the 4×100 relay. The 1980 state meet saw Starnes win the 200-meter dash in 25.90, repeat as 400-meter champion with a time of 58.30 and set the state record in the 100-meter dash while Todd Central repeated as 1A state runner-ups.

Starnes learned her love for running at an early age and she’s still enjoying it today, competing in 5Ks regularly and marathons from time to time. Starnes credits her mother for finding that talent.

“She put me in everything from tap, piano and flute,” said Starnes with a chuckle. “I blew that flute for months and nothing ever came out. Thank goodness we had just rented it.”

When she found track, Starnes said realized she was good.

“My mom drove me across the county every day to practice. She found my gift and for that I am grateful. Running was a blessing to me and it is to this day.”

Starnes earned a track scholarship to Murray State where she met her future husband, Al Starnes, who has had quite a remarkable career himself as a football coach. Together they have touched the lives of hundreds of students at Crittenden County and beyond.

Mrs. Coach Starnes has coached track and field at Crittenden County for the last 27 years and became the school’s first female athletic director 15 years ago.

Her track and field program has garnered remarkable respect for a small school. She has twice revived cross country as a sport at CCHS and her harriers qualified for the state meet last fall. Her track and field squads have finished runnerup in the First Region twice – in 1997 and 2014. Under her tenure, the school has become a contender in Class A track and field year after ... (for the rest of this article see the April 19, 2018 printed edition of The Crittenden Press or subscribe to the online version and get the article for under $3 http://crittendenpress.blogspot.com/p/subscribe-full-version.html).