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2019 Chester track season ends with annual banquet and awards night

  • Head Track Coach Ben Hunter was master of ceremonies at the Boys Track and Field Awards Night. 

    Head Track Coach Ben Hunter was master of ceremonies at the Boys Track and Field Awards Night. 
    Jim Beers photo

  • Head Coach Ben Hunter with the Big Three award winners, from left. Tyler Holm, Keith Kiner III and Aiden Jany.

    Head Coach Ben Hunter with the Big Three award winners, from left. Tyler Holm, Keith Kiner III and Aiden Jany.
    Jim Beers photo

  • Members of the track team who won All-Conference honors, from left, Jacob O'Riley, Caleb Parker, Trent Bierman, Jacob Cowell, Gage Garniss, Aiden Jany Keith Kiner III.

    Members of the track team who won All-Conference honors, from left, Jacob O'Riley, Caleb Parker, Trent Bierman, Jacob Cowell, Gage Garniss, Aiden Jany Keith Kiner III.
    Jim Beers photo

  • Sophomore letter winners with Coach Ben Hunter. from left, they are Caleb Parker, Matt Korando, Gage Garniss, Justin Clendenin, Tyler Holm and Jordan Hughes. Not pictured, Nate Fricke and Noah Colonel.

    Sophomore letter winners with Coach Ben Hunter. from left, they are Caleb Parker, Matt Korando, Gage Garniss, Justin Clendenin, Tyler Holm and Jordan Hughes. Not pictured, Nate Fricke and Noah Colonel.
    Jim Beers photo

 
BY JIM BEERS
Contributing Writer
updated: 6/12/2019 9:23 AM

Chester High School Boys Track and Field athletes were honored May 22 at the 2019 Track and Field Banquet and Awards Night, held in the CHS Cafeteria.

Before announcing the awards, Head Track and Field Coach Ben Hunter savored the track season just past.

"I thought that we had a team that would compete for a Black Diamond Conference Championship and I was right," he said. "Unfortunately we fell short to a very good Vienna squad by only 16 points to finish 2nd.

"The Yellow Jackets had many stellar performances that day with several personal records. I was very proud of all of our boys and their efforts."

Going into the sectional meet, Hunter said he focused on individual performances, more so than trying to out-point the competition as a team. Even so, the Jackets came in second to perennial powerhouse Nashville, losing to them by only 16 points.

"I wanted to get as many guys to the state meet as possible," Hunter said, explaining his strategy. "If that meant resting them in some events I was OK with that."

Hunter's assistant coaches are Adam Guebert, Steve Spears, Jim West and Jenny Cartwright.

Five freshmen were recognized -- Freddie Alvarez, Avery Carpenter, Jacob Cowell, Aiden Jany and Connor Wolff. Each athlete earned a letter. Hunter called the freshmen group "small, but very talented."

"They helped us out a lot this year," he added. "They came a long way throughout the season and I look forward to watching them in the years to come."

Eight sophomores were recognized: Justin Clendenin, Gage Garniss, Tyler Holm, Jordan Hughes, Matt Korando, Caleb Parker, Nate Fricke and Noah Colonel. Garniss, Clendenin, Holm, Korando and Parker earned sophomore patches and pins. Fricke earned his initial letter and a sophomore patch. Colonel, the team manager, earned a pin and a sophomore patch.

Hunter said the sophomores got valuable experience this season and will continue next year to challenge for team titles.

"The next couple of years we will see a strong program because we have a lot of talent and good numbers returning," he said.

The 2019 Yellow Jackets had just two juniors on the team, and both Trent Bierman and Chris Schwier earned pins for their letters. They competed in the distance events.

"These two men will play key roles next year for the Yellow Jackets," Hunter advised. "They will be important not only as competitors, but also as leaders of the team."

Finally, Coach Hunter recognized the three seniors on the 2019 squad, Keith Kiner III, Jacob O'Riley and Colin Wingerter, who each earned pins for their letters. For Wingerter and Kiner it was their first years out for track and field.

I want to thank Colin and Keith for coming out this year," Hunter said. "I really enjoyed coaching them."

"I also want to thank Jacob O'Riley for his years of service. His freshman track class was the first team that I coached here at CHS and Jacob is the only one left. I want to thank you, Jacob for your four years of commitment to the program."

Awards

The Yellow Jackets had seven athletes earn All-Conference honors this season. To qualify, athletes had to finish either first or second in events at the 2019 Black Diamond Conference Meet.

Trent Bierman was All-Conference in the 3,200-meter run. Jacob Cowell took second in the pole vault. Gage Garniss placed in three events at the BDC meet, the 4 X 100-meter relay, the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles. Freshman Aiden Jany qualified in four events including the 4 X 100 relay; the 100-meter dash; the 200-meter dash; and the 400 dash.

Keith Kiner III was All-Conference in the triple jump. Caleb Parker was All-Conference in the 4X 100 relay and Jacob O'Riley earned All-Conference honors in the 4 X 100-meter relay.

The Yellow Jackets also had four athletes in seven events advance to the 2019 IHSA State Track and Field Meet in Charleston.

Justin Clendenin finished second in pole vault (8-0) to advance to state. Keith Kiner III won the triple jump (41-11) to advance to state. Gage Garniss qualified in both the 110-meter hurdles (2nd, 16.06) and the 300-meter hurdles (2nd, 43.16), while Aiden Jany advanced in three events by winning the 100-meter dash (11.62), winning the 400-meter dash (51.7) and placing 2nd in the 200-meter dash (23.3).

Other CHS athletes to compete well at Sectionals included Keith Kiner III who placed 3rd in long jump and 5th in high jump; Matt Korando who finished 3rd in high jump; Trent Bierman who finished 4th in the 3,200-meter run; Jordan Hughes, who finished 6th in the 800-meter run; and Jacob O'Riley, Caleb Hughes, Justin Clendenin and Gage Garniss who finished 6th in the 4 X 200-meter relay.

To close out the 2019 Chester High School Boys Track and Field Awards Coach Hunter presented the three major awards for the team.

• Most Valuable Field Event Athlete went to senior Keith Kiner III.

• Most Valuable Track Event Athlete went to freshman Aiden Jany.

• Most Improved Track and Field Athlete was sophomore Tyler Holm.