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Bomber harriers 14th at big-school big dance

Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
November 9, 2017
Tony Lange

Despite representing the second-smallest school among 20 teams in the field, the Kenston boys cross-country squad finished 14th during the 89th annual Division I boys state championships on Saturday at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

Led by junior Jakob McConnell’s 46th-place finish in 16:20.9, among 183 runners in the field, the Kenston boys scored 286 points, which was 30 points better than their 2016 showing that produced a 13th-place finish as a team.

McConnell’s time was just 0.4 second off his performance from a year ago, but he moved up 27 places. There were no individual course records broken across all three divisions and both genders on Saturday, as the 5-kilometer route ran slow throughout the morning and afternoon due to some rain in the days leading up to the championships.

Also scoring for Kenston, senior Sam Markel finished in 16:44.5, senior Jacob Sandoval clocked a 16:53, senior Will Britton stopped the watch at 16:57.8, and junior Kyle Silk finished in 17:00.2, while senior Will Grendell clocked a 17:22.6 and sophomore Jordan Knapp finished in 17:26.2.

Third runner Sandoval was making his postseason debut, after not running at districts or regionals.

With a three-grade enrollment of 381 male students, for Ohio High School Athletic Association’s division assignments, Kenston was smaller than every school in the field except Defiance, 327 students, which finished 15th in the team standings behind the Bombers.

Nine schools in the field doubled Kenston’s enrollment figure, while Mason, 1,357 male students, Cincinnati St. Xavier, 1,178 students, and St. Ignatius, 1,116 students, tripled it.

Nonetheless, Hudson the fourth-smallest school in the field, with 581 male students, won the state title with 73 points, besting runner-up Hilliard Davidson, 143 points.

Lakota East senior Dustin Horter won the Division I crown in 15:03.4, besting Middletown runner-up junior Conant Smith by 0.4 second.

In the girls Division I race, Kenston freshman Ellie Pleune made her big-dance debut, clocking a 20:13.1 as the first Lady Bomber at a state meet since 2005.

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