10/15 WRC Champions!
Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
November 3, 2016
The Kenston harriers not only added a brilliant chapter to their program storybook, but they straight up rewrote the meaning of cross-country being a team sport during the Division I regional championship on Saturday at Boardman High School.
Twenty-five teams were competing for eight spots to make it to states, and 17 of those contenders in the field had their No. 1 runners crossing the finish line without a single Bomber turning in his chip.
Better yet, nine teams in the race had their first two guys crossing the finish line while all seven Kenston boys were still running their races. The opportunity to advance to the big dance as a top-32 individual had come and gone.
The last time Kenston qualified for states as a team was under former head coach Frank Gibas in 1992.
“I think one of the best things that happened to us last week is coach Gibas came out and talked to our team,” current head coach Chris Ickes said. “He has all the old records memorized and was just telling this team how good they were. And he said, ‘From a time standpoint, you’re the best team that’s ever come through Kenston.’
He told us we were ready, and his message was honest, heartfelt and very inspirational.”
While all those teams in the field had their one runners and two runners crossing the finish line ahead of the Kenston boys, once junior Sam Markel turned in a 17:04.72, the rest of the Bombers starting flying in like seven silver bullets.
Sophomore Jakob McConnell zoomed in at 17:09.10; senior Evan Sanders piloted a 17:19.36; junior Jacob Sandoval landed at 17:35.96; sophomore Kyle Silk stopped the clock at 17:46.05; junior Will Britton cleared the strip at 17:49.22; and junior Will Grendell emptied the barrel at 17:57.16.
They were by far and without a doubt the tightest pack in the field.
“I think it was the first time any of us felt truly ready to run that course,” Markel said. “In the past, we’ve been let down a few times and not run as well as we should have. But I think we all just wanted it so bad this year. No matter the pain during the race, it was just, tough it out for the end goal – states.”
With a 41.33-second gap between their top five runners, and a 52.44-second gap between their top seven, the Bombers finished sixth in the team standings with 245 points – bested only by teams ranked in the top seven of state – to punch their first Division I state berth in program history.
Thirteen previous team trips to the big dance all came in lower divisions for Kenston.
“I’ve never really had a great race at Boardman until now,” Markel said. “At around the second mile I was real tired. But pretty much in my mind I just wanted to pass one more person. And throughout the whole year, coach has just repeatedly been asking us why we want to be in Columbus. And he asked us that right before the gun went off. And that’s all I was thinking.”
Of the 20 Division I schools that will be represented in the boys state meet at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the National Trail Raceway, Kenston is the third smallest in enrollment figures.
“What makes this so special for us is that in our sport you can qualify as an individual,” Ickes said. “But, for us, it has never been about the individual. It’s always been about the program. It’s always been about the team. And there’s no better way for me as a coach to have it fulfilled than going as a team with zero individual qualifiers. Everybody had to do their part, run for each other and be selfless.”
Visit The Chagrin Valley Times to view their photo.
The Boys Cross Country team traveled down to Boardman, Ohio on October 29th to compete in the 2016 Regional Cross Country Meet. The Bombers placed 6th out of 25 teams scoring 245 points. Because of their performance at the Regional Meet, the Bombers will be traveling to Hebron, Ohio on November 5th to race in… Continue Reading
On October 22, 2016 the Bombers ended up being runner-ups out of 14 teams at the Division One District meet in Trumbull County. “The course was muddy but that did not stop us because we have been practicing in this weather for a long time,” said Sam Markel. Kenston’s first place runner, Evan Sanders ran (16:51) and… Continue Reading
Published in The Chagrin Valley Times October 20, 2016 Tony Lange If conference cross-country championships are good indicators of what’s to come, then the Kenston boys had better be packing some parachutes for the postseason finish lines in order to put the brakes on all their speed. During the Western Reserve Conference meet, the Bomber… Continue Reading
Published in The News-Herald October 16, 2016 Nate Barnes A successful cross country season is usually measured by running well at the state meet, maybe a solid finish at the regional level but not quite enough to move on to the year’s final meet. The way the season is viewed, one may not even consider… Continue Reading
September 17, 2016 the Bombers traveled to Boardman Ohio to compete in the Spartan Invitational. This invitational was one of the largest in Ohio with 46 teams participating. Out of the 46, the Bombers placed ninth overall. Jacob Sandoval said, “The course was very crowded which made for a hard time passing other runners and… Continue Reading
On Saturday, September 12, Kenston raced at Tiffin, a Division I meet. The race hosted 36 teams. In the varsity race Kenston placed 9th. “Good but we’ve raced better as a team,” said Chris Ickes. The times from the varsity were Jakob McConnel (16:23.7), Sam Markel (16:35.7), Evan Sanders (16:45.7), Will Britton (17:20.4), Chris Smith… Continue Reading
Published in The News-Herald September 9, 2016 School and course records were shattered Sept. 3 at Kenston. Leah Roter ran the best time of anyone in the state. Two boys runners finished in the 15:10s. A number of Northeast Ohio’s top teams attended the Frank Gibas Invitational, which Kenston coach Chris Ickes thought had a… Continue Reading
The Kenston Boys’ Varsity Cross Country team finished within the top of all the competitors, coming in 2nd overall, as a team. Kenston’s runners came out fast, and finished in a strong fashion. Sophomore Jakob McConnell placed fourth, being Kenston’s top finisher. Behind McConnell’s efforts came junior Sam Markel (10th overall), senior Evan Sanders (18th… Continue Reading
Published in The Chagrin Valley Times September 8, 2016 Tony Lange The volunteers over in Bainbridge and Auburn townships must have shoveled something special into the dirt during the final community day for phase two of the Kenston Trails project last month. Opening a new loop for the fourth annual Frank Gibas Cross Country Invitational… Continue Reading