Dan Wolff can rest easy.
All season long West Holmes senior Jonathan Kandel has been chasing Wolff’s West Holmes 800-meter record of 1:56.38. He continued to carve time off of his efforts all the way to the Div. II state meet in Columbus, where Kandel set sail for one final effort to eclipse Wolff’s time while more importantly earning a spot on the podium as an All-Ohioan to secure his spot on the West Holmes Wall of Fame.
It took every ounce Kandel had to secure a podium spot, where he placed in the eighth and final spot in what ended up being an incredibly fast race.
However, his PR time of 1:56.91 was a half-second off of Wolff’s time, although earning All-Ohio honors was more than enough to placate the senior star runner.
“That was incredible, a dream,” Kandel said. “I knew I was going to have to be faster than I normally would be, so I took off. Coach told me find a group of guys so they could help me, and I found a group I was comfortable with. I knew the one guy I was with runs a 1:55, so I knew it was going to be a bit faster and ran a PR.”
Kandel said it was a bittersweet moment, standing on the podium as an All-Ohioan yet knowing he was done with his high school career. He said he would love to have one more year to get after the 800 record.
He said the hot weather may have made posting an even lower time much more difficult.
“I think I ran a really good race. I couldn’t be happier,” Kandel said, adding with a grin, “I guess I can call Dan and tell him that I didn’t want to take his record away from him.”
Not only did Kandel earn a podium spot in the 800, he also helped the 4-by-400 team soar. The Knights came into that race sitting 16th, so they didn’t have high expectations of claiming a spot in the finals.
However, the effort put forth by Travett Boughman, Kandel, Grady Hay and Brady Taylor was terrific. The group put together their PR for the season, reeling off a brilliant time of 3:26.12, nearly three second lower than their previous best.
“That race was awesome,” Kandel said of the relay. “These guys are special. We were all a little nervous, but then we had that long weather delay, and we got together and did a little team bonding, and that helped calm us down, and we ran a good race.”
The foursome was exhausted but elated following the fantastic effort that left them 11th, up five spots from where they were seeded. The Knights missed qualifying for the finals by just a half-second.
“My only thought was to get as far in front as possible,” said a hobbled Boughman, who was dealing with a sprained ankle. “I gave everything I had. My only goal was to run until I couldn’t run any more. I’ll get the ankle checked out now, and I’m afraid it won’t be pretty, but it was worth it.”
Hay, a first-timer at state, said the experience was well worth the wait.
“That was awesome,” Hay said. “This felt amazing. I have wanted to be here ever since I started running track, and making it here to the state meet is a dream come true.”
For Taylor it helped erase the sour taste of a 400-meter race that saw him warming up to run before a storm pushed the event into more than a three-hour delay.
“I didn’t run well in the 400,” Taylor said following a weather delay of more than three hours. “I wasn’t loose, and my legs felt a little tired. That made me run angry in the 4-by-4. That was probably one of the best legs I’ve ever had.”
“I am so impressed with these guys,” said Taylor, who as a sophomore is the lone Knights runner who won’t graduate. “We took off nearly three seconds, and I couldn’t be happier.”
#OHSAA #D2TrackStateFinal @WholKnights ‘s Jonathan Kandel ran a personal best 1:56.91 in the 800-meter run and his stellar effort landed him on the podium, earning him 8th place and All-Ohio honors. Congrats on a successful career! #WestHolmesKnights pic.twitter.com/pNQGk7S8Mm
— OhioSportsTicket.com (@OhioTicket) June 1, 2019