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A Knights senior found himself atop a podium.
A freshman learned a great deal on his way to higher expectations.
The Knights found themselves falling short of their intended goal.
All of these things factored into the West Holmes Knights appearance at the Div. II State cross country meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio Saturday, Nov. 2, but win, lose or draw, the Knights harriers found their way to State for just the second time in school history, making it a special year.
The senior bound for glory was Sam Boyd, who bobbed and weaved is way from the back of the pack to a 15th place finish, thus securing All-Ohio honors (top 25) and a spot on the podium.
“Sam was amazing today,” said West Holmes coach Kevin Beachy of his senior leader. “He ran a great race, and didn’t press the issue early on. He put himself in a position where he could run his race, and that is exactly what he did.”
Thus, Boyd found himself standing in front of the grandstand crowd, accepting the accolades thrust upon those runners talented enough to finish in the top 16.
Beachy added that his youngest runner also performed quite admirably on a day that has gotten the best of a lot more seasoned runners in the past.
“As a freshman, Vinny (DeFelice) ran really well, and it is great experience for the kids coming back next year.”
The overall team finish of 13th was not what the group had in mind, considering its depth this season of very capable runners.
The Knights’ 236 team points were 11 behind Carroll and 16 off the pace of Lexington, which finished 12th and 11th respectively.
Boyd, who finished 15th in 16:28, became just the second boys All-Ohioan in West Holmes School history.
“It’s amazing to work your way up through that many runners at the State meet,” said assistant coach Mike Molnar. “You can see that at the other meets, but to do that here, against this kind of top runners, is tough to do.”
Boyd said the Knights knew they would have to run a perfect race to earn their way into the top half of the field.
That never materialized, but it didn’t deter from the impressive campaign the knights had again this year, as they became just the second team to qualify for State, following in the tradition of last season’s record-setting season.
“We were hoping to get a top eight this year, but we knew it would be tough,” said Boyd of the Knights 13th place finish.
Following Boyd’s All-Ohio feat was freshman Vinny DeFelice, who finished 42nd, diving under the 17 minute mark in 16:59.
That was a tremendous effort from a young man who didn’t allow the bright lights of the State meet to mesmerize him.
“That was amazing, just to have a chance to run at State is great,” said DeFelice. “This is great to have this experience going into next year, and how to approach the race. I think I got boxed in early, and that hurt a bit, but it came out pretty good. I am satisfied with how I ran.”
The rest of the Knights behind DeFelice were Philip Schaffter (88th/17:32), JR Yoder came in 95th (17:35), Brent Wilson (124th/18:03), Danny Drummond finished 134th (18:33)and Ethan Meyer (19:16) rounded out the team in 147th place.