By Josh Brown
and Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — As excited as Brady McBride is for his final high school race, there are quite a few things he’ll miss.
“It’s definitely bittersweet to me,” the Newton senior said. “I’ve loved running for Newton. The town has been incredibly supportive. And my mom (Tiffany McBride) is my coach right now, so it’ll be my last time running for her. Yeah, it’s bittersweet.”
McBride will compete in the 3,200 at this weekend’s Division III state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus — the cross country specialist’s first time to state in track after finishing second in last week’s regional race.
“It’s definitely a special week,” McBride said. “It’s my first time ever going to state track, and it’s my last week running in high school, which makes it more special.”
And while McBride’s regional time of 9:45.24 is the eighth-best in the field going in, he knows not to pay too close attention to things like that.
“I’ve looked, but I don’t want to study them too much,” he said. “The race always plays out differently than it does on paper. Looking at it, I could finish anywhere from third to 12th, depending on the day. It’s wide open.”
And while this may be his first time at state track, it’s certainly not his first state experience.
“My goal is to get top eight, get all-state and get on the podium,” McBride said. “In cross country, I got eighth. To get all-state for a second time this year would be unbelievable.”
And make the end of his career a little more sweet than bitter.
* Viking Trio
Ready to Perform
CASSTOWN — All Megan Kinnison, Daniel Everett and Marie Ewing needed was one more chance this season.
Now that they’ve got them, anything can happen. All three will compete this weekend at the Division III state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus: Kinnison and Everett in the shot put and Ewing in the 800.
Kinnison — who qualified for the state meet in the discus last year as a junior and narrowly missed a shot at the finals, finishing 10th with a throw of 115-2 — was one of the favorites going into the regional competition last week, coming in as one of only a few girls with a throw of over 120-0 in the district level. But her first two throws were fouls, and things looked grim.
She was able to land her third throw in-bounds, though, just getting into the finals. There, she improved to 111-9 and finished fourth to get one last chance at state.
“She had a lot going on that evening,” Miami East girls coach Preston Elifritz said. “Graduation was hanging heavy on her, but she knew she was talented enough to qualify. She wasn’t really loose and relaxed, and her first two throws were a reflection of how tense she was.
“This will be her second time there, and she was 10th last year. She’s looking to have a little fun with it. She has a personal best of 131-4, and she feels like she’s more than capable of getting onto the podium. There’s a lot of good competition, but if she throws a PR, that will put her on the podium for sure.”
Everett, another senior, will be making his first state appearance after finishing third in the discus at the regional meet. He held the fourth and final qualifying spot going into the finals, but he let loose a new personal-best 145-8 to move up to third place.
His goal is to get into the 150s, with the Miami East school record sitting at 152-3. His regional throw is the 15th-best in the field going into the competition.
Ewing, meanwhile, is only a junior and is making her second appearance at state. As a freshman, she finished 14th in the 800 in 2:25.65, but an injury kept her away last season. At this year’s regional, she missed the school record in the event by 0.01 seconds, running a personal-best 2:16.12 to qualify in fourth place.
That time sits in eighth in the competition heading in.
“She was definitely upset (about missing the school record),” Elifritz said. “But God’s just given her so much talent. Knowing she has another year left still, we just told her to put everything out there. Our region is a super-hot one with the times. No. 1, she wants the school record. And if she attains that, it will put her in a good spot to get on the podium.
“Megan’s going out with a bang in her last hurrah. Marie will have another chance and is leaving it all out there.”
* Buccs Send 7
To State Meet
COVINGTON — The Covington boys will be well represented at the Division III state track and field meet when it gets underway Friday morning at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, with two individuals and a relay team.
Sophomore pole vaulter Jett Murphy has rebounded from a knee injury that cost him his entire freshman season and fulfilled the potential he showed in junior high.
Murphy, who will vault at 4 p.m. Friday, goes in with the fourth-best qualifying height of 14-0.
“It was tough at first (coming back from the injury),” Murphy said. “Just because my form was so rough. It has gotten better as the season has gone on.”
Murphy took nothing for granted, despite his success in junior high.
“I don’t think that (success in junior high) means the same thing is going to happen (in high school),” Murphy said. “At the start of the year I wanted to get 14 (feet, the school record). Now, I have tied it, I want to go a little higher. Getting on the podium is definitely a goal.”
Covington boys coach Kyle Moore agrees.
“Jett (Murphy) has done a great job coming back from the injury,” Moore said. “Coach Rhoades and coach Tobias have helped him a lot. I think he can do really well at state. I think top three would be a good goal for him.”
Sophomore Cade Harshbarger has the 15th-fastest time in the 110 hurdles at 15.45 seconds and 16th-fastest time in the 300 hurdles at 40.79 seconds.
“To be honest, I never thought about state at the beginning of the year,” Harshbarger said. “I haven’t looked at the times, but I probably will. I didn’t like the 300s at the beginning of the year, but now I kind of like them. I think it helps having a race in before I run them. I think it will be pretty exhilarating running at Jesse Owens Stadium.”
Moore said Harshbarger has been rewarded for hard work.
“Coach Rench has had a hurdler at state every year,” Moore said. “Cade (Harshbarger) has shown tremendous improvement from a year ago. Obviously, he has put the time in during the off-season. He is capable of making the finals if he runs well.”
The 4x400relay team of Zane Barnes, Brandon Magee, Jayce Pond, Nathan Lyle has the 12th-fastest time of 3:28.73.
Magee is a senior, running at state for the third straight year. Barnes and Pond are juniors and Lyle is a sophomore. They are running at state for the first time.
“I think it (his experience) is going to help me a lot,” Magee said. “And I think I can help the other guys with dealing with it (the atmosphere of a state meet). I have been through it and know what to expect.”
The last two years, Magee has run at state on the 4×100 relay team.
“To be honest, I didn’t see us going to state in this relay at the beginning of the year,” Magee said. “You just don’t want to do anything unusual. Just go out and run your race. The goal is to be running on Saturday (in the finals).
Moore knows they are capable of that.
“Both Cade (Harshbarger) and the relay team have a good chance to make finals,” Moore said. “Brandon (Magee) has been on a relay team at state all four years and ran his sophomore and junior years. He knows the drill. I think that is going help a lot and he will be able to keep the other guys calmed down and prepare them. Right now, it is about getting to the finals on Saturday.”
And on the girls side, Covington sophomore Breanna Kimmel is back at the state meet.
After advancing on a relay team as a freshman, Kimmel will run in the 100-meter dash Friday morning.
“I never even thought about making it (to state in the 100) at the beginning of the year,” Kimmel said. “I didn’t expect that. Last year (the experience) is going to help me a lot. I have been through it.”
The way Kimmel sees it, the hardest part is over.
“Just getting to state was the goal,” she said. “Now, my goal is to run at state all four years.”
Kimmel goes in with the 15th fastest time of 12.76.
“I won’t even look at the times — if I did, I would just run slower,” Kimmel said. “I made it to state and now my goal is to make the finals.”
Covington coach Dave Tobias doesn’t concern himself with the numbers.
“You can worry about that at the state meet,” he said. “You just have to get a good start out of the blocks and run your race. The 100 wasn’t the event I expected Breanna to go in. But, she has worked hard at getting out of the blocks. She has great top end speed, so she can catch runners at the end. But, so can some of the other girls. The goal is to be running on Saturday (in the finals).”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.