Ethan Kinsey barreled toward the finish line in the 300-meter hurdles of the Div. II district meet at West Holmes High School on Saturday, May 20.
As he and Carrollton’s Bryce Carte neared the finish line, both runners hurled themselves the final feet in an attempt to capture the fourth and final spot of the regional meet. While it would be Carte who would move on by six-hundredths of a second as the two athletes went head-over-heels and then got up and embraced one another after the melee had subsided, it wasn’t so much the finish or the placement, but rather the effort Kinsey gave. That kind of effort exemplified what was a sensational day for the Knights, who finished runner-up, much to the surprise of just about everyone at the meet.
“I go back to the training we started way back in January and February as being the key to this success,” West Holmes coach Ty Harris said. “It has just progressed from there as their confidence continued to grow, and they believe more and more that they can compete. Some of these kids are just hungry to compete.”
The 4×200 team truly set the stage for what was going to be a banner day when the team of Travett Boughman, Kinsey, Cale Ogi and Terrell Yoder pulled out all of the stops and moved up several spots to place fourth and qualify for regionals. It didn’t look good when Kinsey took the first hand-off and almost had to come to a complete standstill before taking off. He reeled off a great leg, and the Knights ran great as a team to make it to the next level.
“Coming off that hand-off, it looked a little iffy,” Kinsey said. “But when something like that happens, you just have to kick it in gear. We did, and we pulled through as a team.”
As the lone senior, Yoder said the thrill of making it out of districts makes all of the hard work worth the effort.
“I think we were all shocked,” Yoder said of the fourth-place finish. “I thought we were in trouble because I kind of choked a little bit, but the guys really stepped up and delivered. This really feels good because we ran our best of the year, and the fact that nobody really gave us much of a chance makes it 10 times better.”
Not to be outdone, the 4×100 team of Brandon Zemrock, Ogi, Boughman and Grady Hay duplicated that effort to move on, and the day’s final event, the 4×400, turned into yet one more thrill ride for the Knights’ team of Jonathan Kandel, Brayden Chaney, Michael Taylor and Grady Hay, who pushed past Carrollton to snag the fourth and final qualifying spot for regionals.
For Kandel it marked the second event he will run at regionals. He took a fourth in the 800 as he competed well in a tough field of runners and ran a 2:00.37.
Chaney was a one-man wrecking crew as he absolutely dominated the field on both the 200 and 400. The speed-burner junior tore up the field in both events. Chaney won the 200 by an astounding two seconds, peeling off a 49.59, defeating runner-up Trevor Ault’s runner-up time of 51.44. Chaney’s 22.57 in the 200 was just as impressive and just as dominant. Minerva’s Jason Williams was second at 23.08.
“I came in today just looking to run my race and not worry about who else was running,” Chaney said. He had the top time in both events, so he was expected to win, albeit maybe not in such convincing fashion. He said in the 400 he wanted to save up plenty of energy for the homestretch, which he did.
He said being the time to beat is nice coming into districts, but he added that he isn’t about to take anything for granted.
“At times like this, times spike and PRs happen, so there is plenty of pressure,” Chaney said.
Chaney has only run a couple of 400s this season, having come in as a 200 guy, but it hasn’t taken him long to prove his ability in the 400. His times are low enough that he is thinking beyond regionals.
“I don’t know what my ceiling is right now because I still believe I can get better,” Chaney said.
Taylor Yerian had a grand day, winning the 300-meter hurdles in 46.32 while she placed third in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.43. She also was fourth in the long jump at 15-08.25 while teammate Kaylin Martin soared to second with a leap of 16-00.25.
Senior Michelle Hostettler churned her way to second place in the 3200 in a time of 11:22, behind only the sizzling time of winner Maddie Dunlap of Carrollton’s 10:54 effort.
Matt Chanay was third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.26 and also moved on to regionals in the 300-meter hurdles, where he placed third in 42.34. Kaylin Martin placed fifth in the 100.
In the field the Knights performed extremely well. Josh Goudy unleashed a mammoth throw of 165-04 to blow the competition away in winning the title. Teammate Eric Barbey’s throw of 135-06 left him in sixth place, just outside the qualifying spots. In the shot Goudy threw a 49-00.25 to move on with a third-place finish, but teammate Mark Lowe went 3 feet beyond his previous best in capturing fourth and moving on with his throw of 45-10.25.
Madison Kandel also qualified for regionals in two events. The junior placed third in the discus with a throw of 124-10, then came in at fourth in the shot with a heave of 36-09.75. Just missing in both events was senior Kacie Leppla, who placed fifth in the shot with a throw of 33-04.25 and eighth in the discus with a toss of 96-01.
“I felt bad for Kacie because she got so close and has really worked hard, but overall it was a really good day for us,” throwing coach Pete Norman said.
In the pole vault Chanay went into a jump-off for first-place, eventually settling for second after clearing 13-05. Teammate Grady Hay was sixth, clearing 12-06. For the girls, Lady Knights senior MaKayla Roush cleared 9-06 and qualified for regionals with a third-place leap. In the high jump, freshman Jacob Goudy narrowly missed a regional berth, placing sixth by clearing 5-06. In the long jump Michael Taylor ended up in the worst possible spot, fifth, with a jump of 20-04.75. He missed out on regionals by barely over an inch.
The West Holmes boys ended up in second place, accumulating 100.5 points, not far off of the winning score of 113 posted by Indian Valley. The girls ended up in fourth place with 73 points, trailing champion Carrollton (127), Indian Valley (109) and Minerva (95).
“We are running well, but we can get better,” Harris said of his team. “The guys in particular really stepped up, and they have taken to the idea that we need to press for the next point. It has helped create a great atmosphere and has generated a lot of excitement. These kids simply haven’t quit working hard.”