It’s been a while since the West Holmes Knights have competed for a title at their own invitational.
That all changed when bot the boys and girls put forth a huge effort at the 2017 Knights Invite track and field meet Saturday, April 8.
The West Holmes girls ended up taking home the runner-up trophy by placing second to powerful Carrollton, nipping a very good Indian Valley team by 1.5 points. However, the boys became the big talk when they nearly jettisoned to the front of the pack out of nowhere. The Knights ended up finishing third with 98 points, but they were a mere three points away from victory, as both Carrollton and Indian Valley tallied 101 points.
“When we told the kids toward the end of the meet that we had a chance to get a trophy (for first or second place), they were so jacked up they were chasing each other around,” said West Holmes head coach Ty Harris. ‘They were really pumped up about putting us in position to accomplish that and that all comes from extra effort.”
The boys actually put themselves in position to win the whole enchilada, but they would have to defeat Indian Valley in the 4×400 to do so. Indian Valley boasts an extremely strong 4×400 team in Brandon Leggett, Garett Mozena, Hunter Probert and Trevor Ault.
But Knights Jonathan Kandel, Grady Hay, Matt Chanay and Brayden Chaney weren’t backing down.
The Braves inched away, building a fairly significant lead as the final leg began. But Chaney, a sprinter and a real wildcard who had never competed in any kind of 400 before, took the baton and closed hard. By the end of the race, the Knights completed the race in a time of 3:37.02, while the Braves earned the win and the title with a time of 3:35.83.
“That 4×400 race was really a lot of fun,” Harris said of the Knights’ effort to grab second-place. “We had a couple of kids running who didn’t know they could even run the 400. But we really gave a heck of an effort and got close to catching Indian Valley.”
However, the good results were not limited to just that race for West Holmes. Josh Goudy won the discus and took second in the shot, while Michael Taylor and Ethan Kinsey went three and four in the long jump. Grady Hay and Chanay placed seventh and eighth in an ultra-talented pole vault group, while Kinsey continued to blossom in the high jump, placing fourth with a leap of 5-08. Kinsey also did well in the 300 hurdles, where he placed sixth in a race he is still figuring out.
“Ethan is getting better and better, and he is only touching the tip of the iceberg,” Harris said of the first-year jumper. “I think he is going to really surprise some people by the end of the year.”
The 4×800 team of Travett Boughman, Ethan Raber, Jackson Iamarino and Kandel took third, while the 4×200 team of Brandon Zemrock, Boughman, Hay and Terrell Yoder placed fourth and Taylor, Zemrock, Boughman and Chaney led the 4×100 team to third.
Chanay placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles, while Kandel shined bright in the 800, where he placed second behind Carrollton standout Cole Lovett.
But it was Chaney who would shine the brightest, taking home the gold in the 200 in 23.15. Taylor would also grab sixth in the 100, making it a hugely successful day for the senior who racked up a nice number of points for his team.
On the girls side, Madison Kandel took second in both the shot and discus, while Kacie Leppla placed fourth in the shot and seventh in the discus. Teammates Taylor Yerian and Kaylin Martin ended up sixth and seventh in the long jump, with Makayla Roush taking fourth in the pole vault.
In the relays, the team of Katy Vaccariello, Brooklyn Adkins, Rebecca Kashuba and Daybria Yerian placed eighth,
In the 4×200 the lady Knights team of Cassidy Rusnak, Kashuba, Hailey Summers and Martin earned fifth and the 4×100 team of Vaccariello, Summers, Kashuba and Daybria Yerian earned seventh, with all of those points earned being crucial to the cause.
Taylor Yerian was dominant in the 300-meter hurdles, where shoe won in a time of 47.55, while she also took fourth in a new event for her, the 100meter hurdles. Teammate Maiah Geib earned seventh in the 100-hurdles.
Michelle Hostettler cruised to victory in the 1600 then took a more relaxed approach in sailing to second behind Carrollton’s Maddie Dunlap in the 3200. Hostettler’s time of 5:07.74 continued to carve time off of her own school record.
Martin dashed to third-place in the 200 in 29.01, while she secured seventh in the 100.
Every single effort led to something important for the Knights and Lady Knights.
“It’s been unusual because it has been a little while since we have been in position to be this successful for the guys,” Harris said. ‘”And now we are of the mind-set ‘how can we earn another point for the team. Where is the next opportunity to get a single pint and what can I do to get better to get that point. Hopefully that continues to develop and improve.”
Harris said that while his kids are performing great, they are still continuing to try to mesh things together to fit their personnel.
“We’re still trying to put people in the place that will allow them to become successful, and it’s still early,” Harris said. “We are still looking for get to the next level, but it’s starting to come together, and to have this kind of success here is really big psychologically for our confidence.”