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High School Sports

Highland's Kaylie Kenne picks right moment to strike at district meet

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    Highland's Kaylie Kenne cruises to a victory in the Medina District meet.


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    Medina's Juliette Keller holds off Brunswick's Emily Bardwell to finish second in the Medina District meet.


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    Medina's Caleb Cummings, right, Harry Custer, center, and Highland's Vince Manning compete in the Medina District meet.



MEDINA — Good things come to those who wait.

The patience of Highland’s Kaylie Kenne was more than enough for the senior to take over the race and cruise to a convincing win Saturday at the Medina Division I District.

Running a step behind Medina’s Juliette Keller for most of the day — sometimes even closer — Kenne made her move with a little more than a mile to go to headline an all-Medina County finish in the girls race that featured 12 of the top 13 spots going to local runners.

“I was running right behind her, and I started almost hitting her feet,” said Kenne, who took the win 18:14.9. “My plan was after coming down the big hill (on the backside of the course) to go down the hill fast and try to open it up, but right before the track I was actually hitting her. I pushed my pace a little, and I ended up pulling away.

“I tried really hard to make sure that she wasn’t going to pass me again.”

Kenne came out of the woods trailing Keller, who finished second in 18:26, before opening a huge lead in the final 800 meters to help the third-place Hornets advance.

Medina took the championship with 58 points, followed by Wadsworth (71), Highland (86), St. Joseph Academy (92) and Brunswick (92). All locked up spots to the Boardman Regional.

While Kenne made it look easy in the final moments, Keller needed everything to hold off the Blue Devils’ Emily Bardwell. The Medina junior channeled her inner-sprinter to lean over the finish line and outlast Bardwell by less than a tenth of a second.

“I’m happy she was right there next to me because I realized I had a lot more left in me,” Keller said. “I’m happy about my start because I took a risk to get out there, but I didn’t keep it.”

The finish was disappointing for Bardwell, but she knew she left everything out there.

“It was a fast start, and I was hoping to stay in the top two, but it’s OK,” she said. “In the last 300 meters, I was just trying to close the gap as best as I could. I thought I had a chance, and I went for it. I finished with everything I had.”

Bardwell and senior Alyssa Wolf helped solidify Brunswick’s regional berth with a fourth-place 18:52.9, while Wadsworth freshman Clare Nicholas (19:07.9) wasn’t too far behind in fifth.

A huge contingent finished with nine seconds, with Highland’s Elissa Scheel, Medina’s Olivia Roberts, Wadsworth’s Laney Corell, Highland’s Madelynn Madison and Wadsworth Ashley Galek locking up five of the next six spots while running sub-19:50s.

“I was trying to stay with them and I was really tired during the race, but they pushed me by being right there,” Nicholas said. “I was a little nervous, because they went out fast and stayed up there, and I was just hoping I could stay up there with them. I tried to trail them a little and stay as close as I could. I fell off a little, but it was OK.”

Medina’s Caleb Cummings took the same approach as Kenne in the boys D-I race earlier in the day.

Instead of going out too strongly, the senior worked on keeping position and was within reach with less than a mile to go.

Cummings then turned on the jets in the final 400, which was more than enough for second in 16:08.4. St, Ignatius’ Steve Zucca won in 16:04.8.

It was just the fifth race of the season for Cummings, who had been battling a stress fracture in his left leg that he sustained over the summer. The time was his best of the fall by more than 50 seconds.

“Coach (Milt Place) told me that better pacing leads to better racing, so that’s what I tried,” he said. “I went out slower and I caught a lot of guys.

“I was just feeling good. This is my race. I’m finally back.”

The Bees were impressive, as Harry Custer and Graham Hayden also locked up top-10 finishes, Custer placing ninth in 16:38.6, followed by Hayden in 10th (16:39.8). Michael Palocko ran a personal-record 16:48.7 to cross 15th.

That was good enough for Medina to take runner-up behind St. Ignatius.

Highland also qualified, finishing 30 points behind the Bees in third. Senior Vince Manning led the way with a fifth-place 16:26.8, and Avery Finding (7th, 16:36.2) and Max McAdams (11th, 16:43.6) provided help.

While Manning was happy with the team advancing, he knows he has a lot of work to do before attacking the challenging Boardman course.

“The pack moved real quick after the first mile, and I wanted to just stick with it,” he said. “Especially when the Ignatius’ guys took over, they just dropped the pace right then and there. That was a tough move to cover.

“This was definitely a better race (than the Suburban League), but not what I want. The time wasn’t quite there, and I have a lot more work to do.”

Brunswick junior Colton Uber and Wadsworth senior Benji House also earned berths. Uber was right behind Finding in eighth, clocking 16:37.3, while House placed 12th in 16:46.4.

Contact Dan Brown at



Team standings (top 5 advance to Boardman Regional): 1. St. Ignatius 47, 2. Medina 66, 3. Highland 96, 4. Wooster 108, 5. Brecksville 119, 6. Copley 144, 7. Wadsworth 165, 8. Brunswick 173, 9. North Royalton 261, 10. Normandy 298, 11. Valley Forge 336, 12. Rhodes 342, 13. Parma 398.

Individual qualifiers: 1. Steve Zucca (St. I) 16:04.8, 2. Caleb Cummings (M) 16:08.3, 3. Nick Saul (St. I) 16:19.2, 4. Matt Blouch (St. I) 16:21.6, 5. Vince Manning (H) 16:26.8, 6. Jack Bartchet (Bre) 16:33.3, 7. Avery Finding (H) 16:35.2, 8. Colton Uber (Bru) 16:37.3, 9. Harry Custer (M) 16:38.6, 10. Graham Hayden (M) 16:39.8, 11. Max McAdams (H) 16:43.6, 12. Benji House (Wad) 16:46.4, 13. Breyden Hann (Woo) 16:48, 14. Lane Wilson (Woo) 16:48.4, 15. Michael Palocko (M) 16:48.7, 16. Adam Jones (Bre) 16:53.4.

Medina (66): 2. Cummings 16:08.3, 9. Custer 16:38.6, 10. Hayden 16:39.8, 15. Palocko 16:48.7, 30. Kevin Horrigan 17:16.1, 31. Cameron Schontzler 17:17.8, 41. Charlie Heidenger 17:41.1.

Highland (96): 5. Manning 16:26.8, 7. Finding 16:36.2, 11. McAdams 16:43.6, 36. William Van Fossen 17:27.4, 37. Joseph Swell 17:28.1, 44. Dylan Liggett 17:49.9, 60. John Naizer 18:31.1.

Wadsworth (165): 12. House 16:46.4, 25. Sam Drown 17:08.1, 35. Henning Elsass 17:26.5, 46. Ryan Sieber 17:53.9, 47. Brody Parrish 17:58.4, 54. Jonah Murphy 18:13.9, 55. Matt Flaker 18:17.5.

Brunswick (173): 8. Uber 16:37.3, 20. Colin Murral 17:04.1, 38. Evan Jarold 17:29, 49. Carter Aalmady 18:00.5, 58. Ben Farnsworth 18:24.3, 63. Brandon Kraft 18:34.5, 66. Adam Hyde 18:52.2.


Team standings (top 5 advance to Boardman Regional): 1. Medina 58, 2. Wadsworth 71, 3. Highland 86, 4. St. Joseph Academy 92, 5. Brunswick 92, 6. North Royalton 126, 7. Brecksville 200, 8. Magnificat 202, 9. Copley 220, 10. Wooster 282, 11. Parma 377, 12. Valley Forge 383, 13. Normandy 393.

Individual qualifiers: 1. Kaylie Kenne (H) 18:14.9, 2. Juliette Keller (M) 18:26, 3. Emily Bardwell (Bru) 18:26, 4. Alyssa Wolf (Bru) 18:52.9, 5. Clare Nicholas (Wad) 19:07.9, 6. Annie Allen (SJA) 19:11.2, 7. Elissa Scheel (H) 19:38, 8. Olivia Roberts (M) 19:40.3, 9. Laney Corell (Wad) 19:42, 10. Madelynn Madison (H) 19:46.8, 11. Ashley Galek (W) 19:47, 12. Nichole Gatten (Bru) 19:50.2, 13. Maddie Miller (M) 19:52.1, 14. Lauren Devney (NR) 19:53., 15. Amanda Keim (SJA) 19:53.2, 16. Anna Mehendale (Bre) 19:53.9, 17. Angela Dobson (M) 19:56.7, 18. Savannah Kole (M) 19:57.8, 19. Alex Doehrmann (NR) 19:59.3, 20. Jessica Campbell (M) 20:06.5.

Medina (58): 2. Keller 18:26, 8. Roberts 19:40.3, 13. Miller 19:52.1, 17. Dobson 19:56.7, 18. Kole 19:57.8, 20. Campbell 20:06.5, 39. Ava Tenaglia 21:07.7.

Wadsworth (71): 5. Nicholas 19:07.9, 9. Corell 19:42, 11. Galek 19:47, 22. Sami Beddow 20:16.7, 24. Rachel Murphy 20:25, 46. Emma Codding 21:18.3, 49. Michaela Davis 21:23.3.

Highland (86): 1. Kenne 18:14.9, 7. Scheel 19:38, 10. Madison 19:46.8, 26. Melissa Bearer 20:34.9, 42. Amanda Orban 21:13.6, 48. Elizabeth Oberhaus 21:22.5, 50. Emma Cox 21:33.

Brunswick (92): 3. Bardwell 18:26, 4. Wolf 18:52.9, 12. Gatten 19:50.2, 30. Abby Bardwell 20:41.3, 43. Devin Cannon 21:14.8, 45. Kaylee Latarewicz 21:18, 55. Mariah Skocic 21:47.9.

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