High School track: Northmont senior a quick study on the track

CENTERVILLE – James McKinney heard the chatter for several years encouraging him to run track. As it turns out, it wasn’t just fast talk.

Prior to this spring, the longest distance McKinney wanted to run was the 90 feet between bases playing for Northmont High School.

“Honestly, I always said I’d never run track,” McKinney said. “How can people run for fun? To actually come out there and win and go fast, it’s actually pretty fun. To have my teammates hyping me up after a race, it’s fun running track.”

McKinney won the 100-meter dash at the Greater Western Ohio Conference championships last Wednesday in 10.89 seconds. That’s Brandon Saine territory.

The former Piqua High School standout – who later played for Ohio State University and signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent – holds the GWOC record with 10.8 set in 2006.

McKinney’s personal-best sprint edged Centerville’s Cameron Stevens’ 10.94. Soon after he crossed the line his Thunderbolts’ teammates mobbed him in celebration, lifting McKinney in the air.

“They were excited. I always try not to get too excited,” McKinney said. “I knew I ran a fast time because I looked to my left at the end and I was like, ‘I don’t see nobody.’ Man, that was exciting.

“Yeah, I’ve got everyone telling me I should have ran track. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ … I wish I’d ran it from the get go. At least I’m having fun my senior year.”

McKinney’s goal is to run a low 10.7. He gets that chance next week during the Division I district meet at Troy. The preliminaries are Wednesday with the finals on Friday.

“If I keep doing my workouts I feel like I can get up there,” McKinney said.

* Wayne junior Gianna Cameron won the girls 100 and 200 dashes in GWOC-record times. She won the 100 in 12.15 to break the 12.46 of Springboro’s Kennedy Lewis in 2017. She ran 25.02 in the 200 to break the 25.33 of Wayne’s Brianna Woods in 2013.

Cameron edged senior teammate Jasmine Kennerson in the 100 (12.54) and 200 (25.88).

“(I was hoping for) maybe second?” Cameron said of her expectations for the meet. “Jasmine pushes me a lot. She’s really fast. I definitely surprised myself. I wasn’t expecting this.”

“She’s been a pleasant surprise for us,” Wayne coach Michael Fernandez said. “A hard worker. The best is yet to come. The best thing about is her she’s so coachable. She takes direction well and she’s so talented. I’m excited to see the next few weeks.”

* Oakwood junior Grace Hartman set the D-II state record in the 1,600 run with 4:47.73 at the Southwestern Buckeye League championships. That broke the previous best of 4:49.53 set by Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s Sammy Bockoven in 2014.

Hartman and teammate Bella Butler both topped the SWBL meet record, too. Butler finished second in 5:12.54. The previous record was 5:13.8 set in 2014 by Eaton’s Michelle McKinney.

The Jills’ 3,200 relay of Emma Almoney, Butler, Hartman and Hannah Moulton set an SWBL record in 9:58.61, topping the old mark of 10:07.07 set in 2019.

* Bellbrook senior Takumi Ford set a SWBL record in the 3,200 run in 9:09.41. That topped the previous best of 9:36.16 set by Bellbrook’s Brad Miller in 2014.

* Carroll senior Kevin Agnew was named Greater Catholic League Co-Ed boys track athlete of the year after winning the 1,600 and 3,200 runs and a leg on the winning 3,200 relay. Agnew broke the league record in the 3,200 run with 9:27.36. Alter’s Paul Krebs previously held the record with 9:34.3 in 2005.

Carroll senior Ava Lickliter was named girls track athlete of the year. She won the 400 and was on the winning 1,600 relay and finished second in the 100 and 200. Teammate Meredith Goecke tied the league record in the pole vault with 9-6, matching the mark Carroll’s Breanna Devillier set in 2019.

* Alter senior Matt See was named GCL Co-Ed field athlete of the year winning the shot and finishing second in discus at the league meet.

* Dunbar won the City League title to keep its streak intact. The Wolverines’ boys have won the league championship 26 straight seasons.

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