West Holmes head track coach Ty Harris felt his boys would have a chance to win their own Knights Invite on Saturday, April 6 at West Holmes Stadium. He told his athletes that very message.
Then the Knights went out and did it.
With a strong effort across the board that saw them collect a victory despite winning just two events, the Knights made good on what their head coach believed in racking up 99 points, a dozen ahead of Ridgewood’s runner-up effort of 87. Indian Valley (81), Carrollton (77.5) and River View (77) were close behind in the 13-team field.
“We have a core of athletes who came back this year who will make or break our team,” Harris said. “Their commitment level, their work ethic, their training and their leadership will be crucial in leading our younger kids. They are the key component to our success.”
Last season saw the Knights boys team place higher than it had ever placed in school history; the team earned its first-ever spot among the top-10 teams at state in Div. II.
However, replacing star performers Brayden Chaney and Michael Taylor would not be an easy chore. Still, moments after their final race at state, Jonathan Kandel, Brady Taylor and Travett Boughman were already talking about next year, about finding the guys who would get them right back to state again.
“That is this group’s mind-set,” Harris said. “They know what it takes, and they are willing to do whatever is necessary to get right back to state.”
Harris said all season long the Knights have relied on their field events to boost them to an early lead, and they did it again this time out. Ridgewood’s star J.J. Durr won the discus with a throw of 142-06, but the Knights took third and fifth with Lane Graham (135-08) and Jacob Goudy (130-03) garnering big points for the Knights.
Durr doubled up in the shot with a winning heave of 51-06, but right behind him was Graham, who for the first time fired three throws in the 50s, his longest a 50:10.25, several inches ahead of Waynedale’s Tyler Matter (50-05). Sneaking into scoring position was West Holmes freshman Brock Zimmerly, who took eighth with a throw of 42-05.5.
“Lane continues to get better and better, and I hope Brock realizes that that kind of a throw for a freshman is really good,” WHHS throwing coach Eric Goudy said.
“Lane is the kind of kid who is willing to do whatever we ask him to do,” Harris said, referring to the Knights’ top thrower being willing to partake in the 4-by-100 relay.
A stacked field went at it in the pole vault, where state qualifiers littered the runway. The eventual winner was Newcomerstown’s Hunter Garretson, who soared 14-06, which won him a jump-off with last year’s Div. II state runner-up Zack Love. Third went to Garretson’s teammate Dylan Garretson, but again the Knights collected points with Grady Hay taking fifth (12-06) and Emmett Myers earning sixth (12-00).
“That is an unbelievably talented field,” Harris said of the pole vault.
Capping off the West Holmes field day was high jumper Jacob Goudy, who along with Carrollton’s Talen Timberlake cleared 5-10. However, Goudy won on misses to claim the top spot. Freshman Gavin Freeman of West Holmes just missed adding to the Knights’ total by taking ninth in the long jump with an effort of 17-11. Winning the event was Philo’s Carson Stottsberry with a leap of 21-06.5.
In the 4-by-400 relay, West Holmes and Tusky Valley put on a terrific show, running neck and neck before the Trojans’ team of Brandon Steinbaugh, Tyler Stump, Sam Ray and Brock Haas were able to nip the Knights at the wire in 3:36.77 to beat West Holmes’ team of Travett Boughman, Grady Hay, Jonathan Kandel and Brady Taylor, who ran a 3:37.06.
In the 3200 River View swept the top two spots, getting a win from Nathaniel Stamper in 10:30.4 and a runner-up effort from Javin Robinson (1:36.6). West Holmes’ Cade Wagers wrapped up a third-place effort (10:45.71) while his teammate Caiden Carter took sixth (11:23.49).
“All week long we talked about chasing the next one,” Harris said, referring to running down and passing the person in front of them.
West Holmes got its first win of the day in the 200, where Brady Taylor flew to a finish in 23.15. Right on his tail was Boughman, who helped West Holmes take the top two spots with a 23.36 finish as he edged out R.J. Hammond (23.59).
Timberlake won the 800 in 2:10.4, beating Waynedale’s Luke McCreary, who came in at 2:13.11. Indian Valley’s Adam Lenhoff was third (2:14.38) while Loudonville’s Mason Fraley took fourth (2:16.15).
Braves’ junior Zack Love was an easy winner in the 300-meter hurdles, winning in 41.62 in blowout fashion. Runner-up Derek Reber of Waynedale came in at 43.05.
Just as was the case in the 4-by-400, the 400 meters was hotly contested between Tusky Valley and West Holmes, where Haas battled Kandel to the wire. It would be Haas getting the win in 51.90 over Kandel’s 52.22 as those two ran away from the pack. Boughman would add a fourth-place finish for the Knights in 53.97.
Ridgewood’s 4-by-100 team of Isiah Lamneck, Andrew Getchey, Hammond and Blake Craigo won in 44.96, ahead of Indian Valley’s Caden Hostetler, Love, Shane Thornton and Hostetler’s time of 45.52. West Holmes’ team consisting of Cale Ogi, Graham, Freeman and Sawyer Pritt took seventh in 47.91.
In the 1600 Waynedale’s Johnathan Varner (4:49.59) led the entire race only to be overtaken down the stretch by Rittman’s Logan May (4:48.52).
In the 4-by-200 relay, the River View team of Jordan Washington, Devin Barnett, Andrew Martin and D’Angelo Marshall won in 1:33.64, edging out West Holmes’ quartet of Boughman, Kandel, Myers and Taylor (1:34.32).
Washington grabbed a gold for River View in the 100 meters with a blistering 11.34, which got him past Ridgewood’s Craigo (11.45) and Carrollton’s Calob Dalton (11.48).
Love capped off a grand day by winning the 110-meter hurdles in 16.07. Waynedale’s Reber was second in 16.68 with Tusky Valley’s Pruett taking third in 17.05.
The 4-by-800 relay went to Rittman’s Logan May, Seth Cornelius, Josh Gibson and Eli Vale in a time of 8:47.59. The West Holmes foursome of Kandel, Carter, Haeden Wolfe and Wagers placed fifth (9:11.91).
The girls side of the event saw a battle between Carrollton and Tusky Valley from start to finish and came right down to the final event.
Trailing by three points going into the final event, the 4-by-400 relay, the Warriors needed a giant effort and got it with a win. With the Trojans placing third, it allowed Carrollton to claim the title 104-103 over Tusky Valley. Indian Valley took third, and Ridgewood finished fourth, followed by River View, Loudonville, Rittman, Waynedale and Philo. West Holmes placed 10th in the field of 12 teams.
Tusky Valley got things going early by winning the 4-by-800 relay in 10.11.02. Ridgewood then came home one and two in the 100-meter hurdles with Alexis Prater winning in 15.86, edging out teammate Grace Gottwalt (16.06) and Loudonville’s Stephanie Kline (16.67).
River View’s Kelsey Hartsock won the 100 meters in 12.70, edging Prater (12.82), Micah Donley of Carrollton (12.89) and West Holmes’ Kaylin Martin (13.18).
Carrollton won the 4-by-200 relay in 1:51.24 with the West Holmes team of Hannah Rohr, Megan Mellor, Martin and Katie Sprang placing fifth in 1:54.51.
Madi DeBois of Tusky Valley started her fantastic day with a win in the 1600, posting a time of 5:26.6, ahead of teammate Hannah Hostetler’s runner-up time of 5:35.59. Waynedale’s Alyce Yoder (6:01.18) and Kylee Gray (6:01.28) placed sixth and seventh, respectively.
Ridgewood’s team of Gottwalt, Raquel Foster, Abbey Kellish and Prater won the 4-by-100 relay, and Donley claimed the top spot in the 400, where she churned out a 1:00.17 to edge Alicia Lonsinger of River View (1:02.50). Placing third and fourth, respectively, were West Holmes’ Katie Sprang (1:02.82) and Kaylin Martin (1:05.17).
Loudonville’s Kline won the 300-meter hurdles in 49:15, sneaking past runner-up Ashley Kinsey of Tusky Valley (50.15). Debos picked up her second win for the Trojans in the 800 by recording a time of 2:27.68, well ahead of runner-up Cassi Scherer of Waynedale (2:33.97) and third-place finisher Catlyn Kauffman of Loudonville (2:34.57).
In the 200 Donley grabbed Carrollton some big points by winning the race in 26.00, beating Kitanna Rakeshaw of Indian Valley (26.68) and Lonsinger (27.09). Waynedale’s Lindsey Baldridge placed sixth (28.08), and Sprang took seventh (28.14).
Loudonville’s Emma Hinkle won the 3200 in 10:30.4 with River View’s Javin Robinson taking second in 10:36.6. Tusky Valley’s Hannah Wyler (12:48.05) and Waynedale’s Kylee Gray (13:39.81) rounded out the top four.
The long jump went to Ridgewood’s Prater, who flew 16-10, pushing her past runner-up Martin for West Holmes, who went 16-05 as those two athletes were the cream of the crop.
IV’s Kitanna Rakeshaw leaped to victory in the high jump by clearing 5-02 with Cora Forbes of Loudonville earning second at 5-00 and Kiara Rakeshaw of IV grabbing third. Braves’ Ellie McDaniel won the pole vault with a vault of 10-00 with Newcomerstown’s Caitlyn Green taking second at 9-06.
Carrollton’s Alivia Bentley won the shot put with a heave of 45.11.25 with West Holmes’ Amy Hughes earning a seventh-place finish with a throw of 31.05.