Coming into the Dover Tornado Relays Saturday, April 15, West Holmes track and field coach Ty Harris was concerned that his teams would struggle with the Div. I competition that littered the field.
Leaving the Dover Tornadoes Relay, Harris felt a completely different feeling.
The Lady Knights placed third at the event, the Knights ended up fifth but were extremely competitive and Lady Knights senior Michelle Hostettler earned herself the Female Athlete Runner honor for the invitational.
It was not a bad day at the office for a team that seems to be gaining confidence daily right now.
“The competition was just brutal for us,” Harris said of the meet. “It was all Division I except for St. Clairsville and they are a fabulous team. To see us perform the way we did and to watch our kids get out there and battle all day long was exciting to watch. We always talk about going for the next point and they went for the next point all day long.”
Hostettler outlasted the competition the 3200, her time of 12:32, 13 seconds in front of runner-up Natalie Caswell of Dover. Hostettler teammate Erin Norman took fourth in a time of 13:14. Hostettler also dominated the 800 where she ran a time of 2:23.62, where she just managed to get past Wadsworth’s Sami Schaffer in a photo finish.
“Michelle was just strong all day,” Harris said. “People kind of expect that from her in the 3200, but I think there were some surprised people that she won the 800.”
Madison Kandel pulled off a nice double-victory in the shot and discus. Her shot effort of 37-02.5 was a half-foot better than the field, while teammate Kacie Leppla placed fifth with a throw of 32-11.5. In the discus, Kandel uncorked a throw of 118-06, winning by six feet.
Makayla Roush set a personal best by clearing 10-feet in winning the pole vault, slipping past Dover’s Tyra Woods who placed second at 9-06.
Taylor Yerian earned a fifth in the long jump with an effort of 15-06.75, but she flew to the top of the chart in the 300-meterhurdles, where her time of 46.73 just got her in front of Cambridge’s JayLynn McClarren. Yerian also continued her quick ascent up the charts in the 100-meter hurdles, where the relative newcomer to the event zipped to second place in 17.05, placing right behind Dover’s Jada Weston who won in a blistering time of 16.42. Lady Knight Maya Geib took sixth in the event in 18.03.
In the 400, Lady Knights Katy Vaccariello and Daybria Yerian placed fifth and sixth, respectively, while Kaylin Martin placed fifth in the 100 and sixth in the 200 in times of 13.63 and 28.55.
For the Knights, Josh Goudy continued to string together some impressive throws in both the shot and discus. Goudy won the discus with a toss of 149-05, while teammate Eric Barbey placed sixth at 123-03. Goudy was narrowly defeated in the shot, where his throw of 46-07 was nipped by Kyle Dickey’s throw of 47-00.75. West Holmes’ Mark Lower grabbed fifth with a throw of 41-07.5.
However, the success in the field events for the boys was far from limited to the throwers. In the long jump Michael Taylor and Brayden Chaney took fourth and fifth, both clearing the 20-foot mark. Matt Chanay and Grady Hay leaped to 12-06 in the pole vault and placed second and third, respectively, while Ethan Kinsey and Jacob Goudy took fifth and sixth in the high jump with leaps of 5-10.
“Our two high jumpers are pushing six-feet and they are still both really learning the event,” Harris said of Kinsey and Goudy.
On the track, Jonathan Kandel roared to victory in the 800 as he continues to put up some stunning numbers. He won in a time of 2:03.0, edging out Dover’s Vincent Giumenti who ran a 2:04.0. In a fantastic finish in the 200, Cambridge burner Alex Leeper edged out Chaney in the 200, Chaney’s time of 22.89 just three-hundredths of a second behind Leeper.
The 4×400 relay team of Kandel, Travett Boughman, Chanay and Chaney placed fourth in a solid 3:38.0, while Chanay raced to fifth in the 110-meter hurdles in 16.52.
What Harris has grown to appreciate from his team is that they aren’t satisfied with anything, always wanting to get better. He noted that Kinsey ran his personal best in the 300-hurdles, an event that he just recently began running, but he was angry because he felt he could have done even better.
He said that in the 200 finals, Chaney was neck-and-neck with two other competitors, and when he placed second with a sizzling time, he too was upset.
“These guys are showing their competitive nature, which is great,” Harris said. “Our 4×400 team continued to look great despite making a couple of running mistakes. Jon Kandel PR’d in the 800 and won it. These guys are just really excited to see some great results, but at the same time they are not satisfied.”
Harris said that these results from Dover only solidify the fact that both of these Knights teams are capable of producing, and although they have flown under the radar to a certain extent, he believes those days are probably over one people get a chance to check out their effort against some great Div. I competition.
“We’re getting to the point where we need to solidify some events for kids, but it has been really fun watching them grow and compete,” Harris said. “I don’t think we can keep some of these guys a secret a whole lot longer.”