A mind-boggling PR set the stage for West Holmes at the OCC conference tournament, where the Knights boys finished the day in fourth place and the Lady Knights ended up sixth. Ashland won the boys’ side of the ledger, racking up 139 points, followed by Lexington at 133, Mt. Vernon with 96, West Holmes with 86, Madison at 79, Mansfield Senior with 60 and Wooster at 59. Lexington inched past Madison for the girls title, outscoring the Ram 170 to 167. Third went to Wooster at 113.5, Ashland was fourth at 102.5, Mt. Vernon took fifth with 51 and West Holmes was sixth with 41.
No one was exactly sure what got into the West Holmes Knights’ shot throwers in the Saturday, May 11 annual Ohio Cardinal Conference meet at Ashland High School, but something about throwing there certainly agreed with Lane Graham and Brock Zimmerly. The freshman Zimmerly easily chucked up a PR, firing off a throw of 45-05 to place fifth in the event while Graham improved his PR by nearly 5 feet in winning the event with a throw of 56-10.5.
Improving a PR at this stage of the season would be akin to carving a full second off of a 100-meter time. It just doesn’t happen, yet there was Graham doing something that seemed almost surreal. Graham wasn’t done winning, doubling down in the discus, where he won with a throw of 151-09, while Jacob Goudy placed fourth with a throw of 140 feet.
In addition freshman Amy Hughes continued to impress in the shot, finishing third with a throw of 31-07. Teammate Madison Stitzlein wasn’t far behind in fifth place with a heave of 29-06.25.
In the pole vault, West Holmes slid in a pair of vaulters right behind two Ashland athletes. Arrow Declan Rohr and Gavin Rohr went 14-00 and 13-06 to go one-two, followed by Knights Emmett Myers and Grady Hay, who soared 12-03 and 11-09 to claim third and fourth, respectively. In the girls vault, Macey Gilstrap cleared 7-03 to claim the eighth and final spot on the podium.
In the long jump Gavin Freeman went 19-06.25 to claim seventh place while teammate Jacob Goudy was 11th at 17-02.5. Goudy added a fifth-place finish in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, while Megan Jones placed sixth in the girls event by clearing 4-08.
On the girls’ side, the long jump was a fevered competition between four jumpers who were all within 4 inches of each other. The event was won by Madison’s Kari Eckenwiler, who went 16-11, while second was claimed by Ashland’s Emma Etzwiller at 16-10.5. A fraction back in third was Lady Knight Kaylin Martin, who flew 16-09.35, while fourth went to Olivia Remy of Madison at 16-07.
Lexington and West Holmes waged a massive battle in the day’s final event, the 4-by-400 relay. The Minutemen eventually carved out the win in 3:28.13 with West Holmes nipping at their heels. The foursome of Travett Boughman, Hay, Jonathan Kandel and Brady Taylor finished in 3:29.3 as those two teams finished well ahead of the field. The Lady Knights team of Martin, Hannah Rohr, Brogan Steimel and Katie Sprang finished sixth in the girls relay in 4:39.61 to earn three points.
In the 3200 Ashland swept the top-two spots while West Holmes’ Cade Wagers placed seventh in 10:36.6. In the 400 meters Brady Taylor tore to a fourth-place finish in 23.06 while Kandel did the same in the 800, where he ran a 2:00.57. Sprang made it three fourth-place finishes when she earned the same in the 800 in a time of 2:20.24, a deceiving finish since Joanna Halfhill of Lexington’s winning time was less than a second in front at 2:19.26, as four runners went toe to toe down to the wire.
Logan Kula just missed scoring for the Knights in the 300 hurdles, where he ran a 48.35, while Lady Knight Maria Geib finished the same for the girls in 56.33.
The WHHS boys 4-by-100 relay team of Cale Ogi, Myers, Freeman and Sawyer Pritt placed sixth in 46.75, but the boys quartet of Boughman, Kandel, Hay and Taylor earned gold in their relay by soaring to a time of 1:31.99, where they turned the table on Lexington, this time beating them by one second.
In the girls 100-meter sprint, Martin challenged Madison’s Taylor Huff but eventually had to settle for second, finishing in 12.97, compared to Huff’s winning time of 12.79. Geib would place eighth in the 100-meter hurdles while Steimel took 10th, and in the 4-by-800 relay, the WHHS foursome of Caden Zeigler, Caden Carter, Ian Jones and Wagers placed sixth in 9:20.75.