Coshocton County well represented at state track meet

| June 4, 2018

COSHOCTON COUNTY – Coshocton County was well represented at the state track and field meet at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Coshocton High School’s Kennedy Haley wrapped up her high school career by competing in the high jump.

“It (going to state) has been a goal of mine since I was a sophomore,” she said. “I’d watch the older girls at districts and regionals high jump well and knew I always wanted to do this. It feels awesome that I got there.”

Haley competed in track for four years and did the high jump for three of those.

“I was good at it so I stuck with it,” she said. “I’m tall too so I had a vertical advantage and it’s just fun.”

Haley is very appreciative of her coaches for being patient with her and helping her over the years and her mom for being there for advice.

“My advice to the younger kids would be to always stay confident and to never underestimate yourself,” she said. “I never thought I’d get to state, but I got there my senior year.”

Ridgewood High School was represented at state by Alexis Prater, Grace Gottwalt, Abbey Kellish and Raquel Foster.

Prater, who just finished her junior year, went to state for two events her sophomore year and was happy to back. She competed for the Generals in the 100 meter hurdles, 100 meter dash, 4×100 relay and long jump.

“I was really excited to be there for those four and to have friends with me this year,” Prater said. “We are all really good friends and it’s nice to get to go to state together. I want to thank my parents too (Jason and Maria Prater) because they did a lot to help get me here.”

In addition to Prater, the 4×100 relay team included Kellish, Foster and Gottwalt, who also competed in the 100 meter hurdles.

“It was fun to run and to have the whole experience going together and walking around the track,” said Gottwalt, who was a sophomore.

Foster, who was a junior, said it felt good to make it to state because in the beginning they didn’t see themselves going this far.

“Our work paid off and that’s a good feeling,” she said.

Kellish, who also was a junior, agreed with Foster.

“I don’t think anyone saw us going this far so it’s nice to prove everyone wrong,” Kellish said.

Gottwalt added that they thanked their coaches, parents, the school and administrators for their support.

On the boys’ side, Ridgewood was represented by freshman JJ Durr who competed in the discus.

“It (going to state) was a really good experience,” he said. “It was fun just to be there and participate.”

Durr add that lots of reps in the ring and training in the weight room along with technical and mental work with his coaches helped get him to state.

“Next year I’m hoping to take a top four podium finish,” he said. “There were a lot of older kids above me so I’m expecting a high finish if not winning it.”

River View High School had the most local athletes at the state meet with six competing in running events and three relay teams participating.

Kelsey Hartsock was the lone freshman in the group of Black Bears.

“It was pretty amazing to get to go,” she said.

Hartsock went to state in the 100 meter dash and also was on the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams.

“This was my first year doing track and I loved it,” she said. “I plan to do it again.”

Senior Cassidi Bookless wrapped up her high school career with her third appearance in the state meet. She went as a sophomore and a junior and this year competed in the 400 meter and was on the 4×100 meter relay team.

“Having gone before kind of took the nerves away because I knew what it was like to run with the stadium full,” she said.

The 4×100 relay team also included junior Alicia Lonsinger and Skyler Stewart. In addition to Hartsock, the 4×200 team consisted of Lonsinger, senior Jesse Vandenbark and Stewart.

“I’ve been an alternate before so making it this year was awesome,” Vandenbark said.

Lonsinger added that she believes being close as a team helped them this year. They also kept persevering.

“We didn’t stop,” Stewart said. “We knew what we were capable of and we kept trying to get better.”

River View’s boys were represented by senior Grant Gunn in the 100 meter dash, senior Austin Hill in the 1600 meter, senior Sawyer Neal in the 3200 meter and the 4×200 meter relay team of junior Jordan Washington, senior Grant Gunn, senior Nick Gunn, sophomore Andrew Martin and sophomore D’Angelo Marshall who was the alternate.

The state track meet wrapped up a great senior season for Hill. He runs for the Black Bears, but attends the Coshocton Christian School, where he played on their state final four basketball team. He also went to state with River View’s cross country team and its indoor track team.

“It’s really cool to have been able to do that,” Hill said. “I ran as a sophomore, but wasn’t thrilled with it so I didn’t come back as a junior. I decided to do it again this year as my last organized high school sport and am really glad I did.”

Both are very appreciative of their coaches, but Neal also wanted to thank Steven Scheetz and Chris St. Clair.

“They were seniors when I was a freshman and were big inspirations,” Neal said.

Martin believes that a strong sense of team helped them get so many athletes to state.

“You could hear us all yelling for each other,” he said.

Washington’s advice to his younger teammates with dreams of making it to state is to always strive for greatness.

“We can do this again,” Martin said. “We just have to keep pushing hard.”


Division II

Boys 100m Dash         Grant Gunn (River View)        16th place

Boys 800m Relay        Gunn, Gunn, Washington, Marshall (River View)      14th place

Boys 1600m Run         Austin Hill (River View)           12th place

Boys 3200m Run         Sawyer Neal (River View)       16th place

Girls 100m Dash         Kelsey Hartsock (River View)  18th place

Girls 800m Relay        Hartsock, Stewart, Vandenbark, Lonsinger (River View)17th place

Girls 400m Relay        Bookless, Hartsock, Stewart, Lonsinger (River View) 17th place

Girls 400m Dash         Cassidi Bookless (River View) 14th place

Girls 200m Dash         Alicia Lonsinger (River View) 16th place

Division III

Girls 100m Hurdles     Alexis Prater (Ridgewood)      4th place

Grace Gottwalt (Ridgewood)  8th place

Girls 100m Dash         Alexis Prater (Ridgewood)      10th place

Girls 400m Relay        Gottwalt, Foster, Kellish, Prater (Ridgewood) 3rd place

Girls Long Jump          Alexis Prater   2nd place

Boys Discus Throw      J.J. Durr (Ridgewood) 9th place

Category: High School, Sports

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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