The boys’ track and field team brought home the victor’s trophy from the Gene Edmonds Relay Invitational on Friday, April 26, 2019 for the first time in more than five years. KV beat runner-up and host Rensselaer Central, 100 to 92, in the eight team field. Twin Lakes finished in third with 74.5 points.
“Frankly, I was tired of KV coming in second place at this Invite,” said Coach Adams. “I knew where our strengths lie. I told the boys, ‘This is winnable this year…if you compete like you mean it.’
“‘During the trophy presentation, you’re going to be on the track and you’re either going to receive the trophy and run a victory lap…or shake the hands of the first place team.’ We ran the lap.”
In discus Garrett Brewster’s career-best hurl of 135’ 08” and Lance Solomey’s solid launch combined for a second place finish behind the Bombers. By the end of long jump (Cole Capps and Alex Gonkiewicz) and third place shot put (Brewster and Garrett Zimmerman), the Bombers held a five point margin over the Kougars.
Adding in pole vault (Bryce Brodner and Drew Kirincic) and a victory in high jump (Eli Gott and Colton Wright), KV left the field event portion of the night only three points behind the hosts.
KV sprinters scrapped to keep close throughout the varsity sprint medley (Capps, Gronkiewicz, Brendon McKinstry, and Isaiah Clair) and frosh-soph sprint medley (Brodner, Jack Lamka, Johnny Voris, and Zach Taylor) to set the stage for the Kougar distance squads to take over the lead.
A 7-second victory by the varsity distance medley started with Cameron Sheehy grabbing the lead in the opening 800m leg to have it extended by Alex Gronkiewicz (200m), Ryder Smith (400m) and Micah Adams (1600m).
Kougar frosh-soph teammates countered with their own gold medal (and a whopping 23-second margin) in their distance medley: Adam Collard, Voris, Brandon Ruvalcaba, and Justin Hoffman. The score now favored KV by 5.
Koug sprinters set their season-best mark in the varsity 400m relay, with second-place 47.07, credited to Capps, Gronkiewicz, Brendon McKinstry, and Colton Wright. Score: KV 60, RC 53.
“While distance grabbed three of our five golds,” pointed out Adams, “this was clearly a depth-of-team accomplishment. Field events held solid. Sprinters were competitive and executed. No dropped batons. No DQs. Solid.”
The Kougar bid for gold in distance looked bleak, however, in the opening leg of the 3200m, setting up the most dramatic finish of the evening. A rival team opened up a 100m lead in the opening leg.
“Ty (Niewoehner) did an excellent job of running his race and not panicking versus an elite runner,” explained Adams. “He smartly ran away from those trailing and delivered just a second off his PR. Sheehy ate into the opponent’s lead with a PR 2:13, and Adams measured out his efforts to erase the 90m lead with his own PR-tying 2:14, giving KV a slight margin.
“Then, Ethan Tillema got the baton…and begrudged his guy the lead, countering every effort, battling him stubbornly enroute to a 2:12.7 PR, team season-best time, and the gold.”
A pair of extremely close and competive thirds in shuttle hurdles (Smith, Clair, Gott, Wright) and frosh-soph 400m relay (Tyler Palmquist, Brodner, Lamka, and Vince McDonald) kept RC from eating into the Kougar lead.
To cap off the medal count for KV, the 1600m relay team gave a decisive three-second margin over the field, credit to Smith, Collard, Clair, and Wright.
Track and field competes next at home on Tuesday, versus Lowell and Hobart, and then again on Thursday at the KV Invite.