The West Holmes boys and girls track teams competed in the Dover Tornado Invite on Friday, April 13, and while Dover ran away with the crown, West Holmes had plenty to celebrate.
Dover dominated the overall score for the title, but West Holmes put forth a strong effort, the boys churning out enough points to take fourth while the Knights placed sixth in the combined boys and girls overall score.
“I knew this group of seniors was going to be strong when they came in as freshmen,” West Holmes head coach Ty Harris said. “Now we are starting to see some of the things they are capable of doing, and it is exciting.”
For the Knights, Brady Taylor took third in the 200 meters with a time of 23.73 while Brayden Chaney darted to first in the 400 meters with a time of 49.58 seconds, handily defeating runner-up Ty Hunt of Lake and third-place finisher Trent Nixon of Dover.
“As a freshman Brady Taylor is already doing some pretty impressive things,” Harris said of his freshman runner.
Jonathon Kandel was sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:06.11 while Ethan Kinsey shocked the field, placing third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.13, a full five seconds under his seeding time. Dover’s Ben Hopper just nipped Kinsey by .08 seconds for second place.
Michael Taylor earned a sixth-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 20-05, and Eric Barbey was fifth in the discus with a distance of 127-07. Dover’s Kyler Dickey won the event with a heave of 148-01.
Jacob Goudy was fourth in the high jump, clearing 5-08, with East Canton’s Josh Conrad clearing 6-06 but getting edged out for first place in the tie-breaker by Justin Heatherington of St. Clairsville.
Knight Grady Hay finished fourth in the pole vault at 12-00, and teammate Emmett Myers finished sixth in the pole vault at 10-00.
The best for the Knights came in the 4-by-200 relay, where the team of Kandel, Chaney, Michael Taylor and Travett Boughman roared to victory in a time of 1:32.47 seconds. The 4-by-400 team of Kandel, Chaney, M. Taylor and Boughman came across the finish line in first place with a time of 3:28.86 seconds. The Knights narrowly nipped the talented East Canton quartet of Wyatt Duetschman, Cody Vacco, Mitch Mitchell and Nathanael Suntheimer, West Holmes winning by a scant .15 seconds.
“We’ve finally put together a 4-by-400 team that is near the top in the state in our division,” Harris said.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Knights galloped to a fifth-place finish and were led by Madison Kandel, who won the shot easily with a toss of 39-05 and placed second in the discus with a throw of 121-04, losing out to only Dover’s Grace Wallace, who fired off a throw of 124-03.
Joining Kandel in the winner’s circle for West Holmes was Katie Sprang, who galloped to victory in the 800 meters in a time of 2:25.86, topping Dover’s Emerson Rainsburg and Ella Neading, who went two and three, respectively.
Lady Knight Kaylin Martin also had a nice day for the Lady Knights, burning her way to a third-place finish in the 100 meters in 13.19 and then earning a fifth in the 200 meters in 27.92. She also took home a third-place bronze in the long jump by soaring 16-05.50, missing second place by half an inch.
Dover’s Willow Cox tore to victory in the 400, posting a winning time of 1:02.60, easily winning the race, while teammate Raya Harrison captured the 1600 meters in 5:39.33. Her teammate Erin Smith placed fourth.
In the 300-meter hurdles, Dover’s Jordyn Kiser was nipped at the wire by Cambridge’s JayLynn McClarren, whose time of 48.07 was just over one second ahead of Kiser’s 49.44.
Dover also saw two athletes place second and third in the 3200 meters. Natalie Causwell’s 13:04.06 and Maddie Cercone’s 13:10.53 followed only Lake’s Alexandria Bauer’s winning time of 12:59.91.
Dover’s team of Rainsburg, Smith, Neading and Harrison raced to victory in the 4-by-800 in 10:11.02 while the Crimson Tornadoes’ quartet of Whitney Ward, Kiser, Katie Edie and Meredith Lehman took second in the 4-by-200 relay in 1:51.52, less than one second off the winning pace of Cambridge.
Dover continued its dominance in the relay races, winning the 4-by-400 in 4:18.69, making Harrison, Kiser, Lehman and Ward easy winners. West Holmes’ team of Martin, Daybria Yerian, Hannah Rohr and Sprang placed sixth in 4:28.84.
Dover’s Brooke DiDonato placed third in the high jump, clearing 5-00, while Kiser grabbed fifth in the long jump with an effort of 15-10.75. Her teammate Grace Wallace took third in the shot, going 34-08.
In the combined overall team scores, it was Dover claiming the title in their own invite, piling up 212 points with the boys and girls combined score. Lake was second with 156.08, St. Clairsville was third at 136.33, Cambridge placed fourth with 133, Tri-Valley was fifth at 114.75 and the Knights finished sixth in the 10 competing teams with 102.
The Knights will travel to Triway on Saturday, April 21 for the Triway Invitational.
Unfortunately, thanks to this bitter and wet spring season, West Holmes was forced to cancel its own invitational earlier this season. Harris said that was disappointing because he felt his team would have really had a shot at doing something major in the invite.
“I hated canceling that Knights Invite,” Harris said. “This boys team would have done really, really well, and it is fun to perform at home. With the weather being so cold and rainy, we are a little hesitant to really have the kids go all-out, but running our best times at this point in the season isn’t what we want anyway. We just want to make sure we stay healthy for when our times really matter the most.”