West Holmes faced a daunting challenge on Friday, April 26 at the Don Adams Classic at John Glenn High School, going up against a loaded field.
In a 16-team field stacked with talent, the West Holmes Knights boys duked it out all day long with Warren and Parkersburg before settling for a runner-up spot to Warren.
“We really had a strong day with the boys,” West Holmes head coach Ty Harris said. “Against that kind of competition, for us to perform that well was really encouraging.”
Warren racked up 106 points to win the meet with the Knights right behind with 89. Parkersburg was third with 74.5 while Heath fell in line next with 72 and St. Clairsville placed fifth with 72.5.
The field event crew continued to give West Holmes solid points. In the discus Jacob Goudy was fourth, and Lane Graham placed eighth. Graham took home silver in the discus with Brock Zimmerly placing 13th. In the triple jump Goudy claimed a surprising third place despite it being a new event for him.
Gavin Freeman and Goudy went seventh and eighth in the long jump, and the pole vault proved to be quite lucrative for the Knights in terms of points, where Grady Hay and Emmett Myers took second and third, respectively. Finally Goudy grabbed third place in the high jump to cap off a great field day for the Knights.
The Knights’ running squad also did their part to elevate West Holmes to second.
It got a great effort in the 400 meters, where Brady Taylor raced to second and Travett Boughman slid in at seventh. In the 800 meters Jonathan Kandel kept up his stupendous season by soaring to third in a field that saw the two runners in front of him both set meet records. Cade Wagers just missed scoring in the 3200, placing ninth.
Where the Knights really made some hay was in the rare 2000-meter steeplechase, a distance event that includes hurdles and water. Wagers stayed focused and took second while Caiden Carter came home in fourth place.
West Holmes saved its best for the two relays it has dominated this season. In the 4-by-400 the Knights team of Boughman, Hay, Kandel and Taylor took third in a very tightly contested race. In the 4-by-200 the same quartet darted to the front and stayed there, winning with relative ease.
While the Lady Knights struggled as a team with their limited numbers, there were some bright spots.
Kaylin Martin took fourth in the 100 meters while she continued her onslaught in the long jump, winning the event with a leap of 16-00.75.
Katie Sprang was finally unleashed in the 800 meters, an event in which she earned All-Ohio honors last season.
“We’ve been taking our time and being patient in getting Katie ready for the 800,” Harris said. “We want her to be 100 percent healthy at the end of the year, and she has been running some sprints up until now.”
Sprang didn’t disappoint, running a 2:24.45 to take second place.
Amy Hughes added an eighth-place finish in the shot while Madison Stitzlein took 14th.
Maybe the most important finish in the day for the Lady Knights, the quartet of Martin, Hannah Rohr, Brogan Steimel and Sprang finished fourth in the 4-by-400 relay, not far off the winning pace.
“It feels like we have finally found the missing pieces for that team, and they ran really well,” Harris said.
Martin, Rohr, Megan Mellor and Sprang finished just outside the points in ninth in the 4-by-200 relay.
Three days later the Knights hosted a tough Shelby team in a dual meet, and the boys came away with a rare 68-68 tie. The girls fell but again had a couple of really strong efforts.
Harris said his team continues to gear up for what they hope will be another terrific tournament run, but task number one right now is remaining healthy.
“We are making the progressions we hoped we would when the season started,” Harris said. “We have a vision of what we can do and what we can become, and we are getting there.”
Harris said a healthy Sprang was high on the agenda of hopes while freshman thrower Amy Hughes continues to get better and better.
Coming off a major football injury, getting star runner Brady Taylor back to full strength was another big goal.
“Brady is back, and he has gotten a lot better with his technique,” Harris said of the All-Ohioan. “Getting him healthy was a really big deal for us. We are in good shape right now, and most importantly it feels like we are just about as healthy as we have been all season long, so I like where we are at this point in the season.”