Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
October 18, 2018
The Kenston boys cross-country team continued its dynasty in league meets by winning its fourth straight Western Reserve Conference crown in another pulverizing performance by the Bombers on Saturday at their home 5-kilometer course in Bainbridge.
Led by Kenston senior MVP Jakob McConnell, the Kenston harriers turned in a one-four-five-six-eight finish from their front five runners to score 24 points, leaving runner-up Riverside, 62 points, third-place Chardon, 93 points, and the rest of the eight-team field in their smoke.
McConnell won the race in 16:07.1, besting Riverside senior runner-up AJ Haffa, 16:17.5, Madison third-place senior Owen Hennessey, 16:50.6, and the rest of the 173-runner field. The Bombers didn’t put a team limit on entries for the varsity race, allowing coaches to better determine their postseason lineups.
McConnell shed 2.4 seconds off his runner-up finish from last season, but this year’s race featured 42-degree, light-rain conditions, whereas 2017’s competition was 60 degrees and sunny. Among Kenston’s three returners in its top seven from last year’s league meet, McConnell was the only harrier to shed time.
Also scoring for the Bombers on Saturday, senior Kyle Silk finished fourth in 17:02.8, junior Casey Pleune took fifth in 17:05.3, junior David Rosinski was sixth in 17:20.3 and junior Jordan Knapp finished eighth in 17:35.4, while sophomore Jack Turk took 10th in 17:40.9 and sophomore Garrett McConnell was 12th in 17:43.4 to round out Kenston’s top seven. Bomber sophomore Tyler McMahan also broke the 18-minute barrier in 17:52.2 to finish 18th.
With the team victory, Kenston has now won seven straight league banners, going back to the Chagrin Valley Conference. And the only reason the Bombers didn’t win the 2011 CVC title was because they rested their varsity runners that season.
In the girls race on Saturday, the Lady Bombers finished runners-up with 56 points and were bested only by Division I state No. 15-ranked Chardon, 24 points, according to Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches pollsters.
Chardon senior Denali Selent won the girls race in 19:30.9, holding off sophomore teammate Andrea Mann, 19:31.9, and Mayfield third-place senior Nicole DiCicco, 19:35.2, in the 119-runner field.
Scoring in Kenston’s top five, senior Kathryn Taylor finished fifth in 19:52.6, sophomore Ellie Pleune took sixth in 19:56.0, freshman Jennifer Kapcio was 10th in 20:46.1, freshman Kathryn Klotz finished 14th in 21:25.4 and sophomore Amelia Witmer-Rich took 21st in 21:54.5, while junior Sarah Bennett was 22nd in 21:58.6 and sophomore Alexa Busby took 24th in 22:16.1 to round out the Lady Bombers’ front seven.
In particular, Pleune shed 29.4 seconds off her time from last season, when she was an individual state qualifier for the Lady Bombers.
Up next, the Kenston cross-country program will compete in the Division I district competition with the boys racing at 12:30 p.m. and the girls at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Cortland.