Throughout her tenure at Mount Gilead High School, Kelsey Kennon looked at track and field as an important part of her life, making the cancellation of her senior season in that sport a bitter pill to swallow.
Fortunately for Kennon, she’ll have a few more years to compete in that sport, as she signed a letter of intent to throw for the University of Findlay.
“It’s so exciting,” she said. “I was so happy to be able to continue track and field because it’s my whole life. I honestly don’t know what’d I’d be doing if it wasn’t for track.”
Kennon set four records for Mount Gilead — all in throwing events. For the outdoor track and field season, she has the record of 127’4” in the discus and the shot put record of 37’4”. Competing in the prior indoor track season, she set the shot put record of 40’3” and also had a record distance of 40’6” in the weight throw, which is a 20-pound weight on a chain that’s comparable to the hammer throw, but with a shorter chain.
She also won a state champion in the indoor shot put, placing her in position for a great season before the COVID pandemic shut down Ohio’s spring sports season.
“I was really heartbroken,” she said. “I wanted that last chance to break my records and set the bar super-high and I was really bummed that I couldn’t.”
However, she’ll have the opportunity to resume her throwing career at Findlay. While it took her some time to make her decision, she was pleased with that choice.
“It was really hard, but once I stepped on campus, I had that ‘wow!’ moment,” she said. “It felt like home and the throwing coach is awesome. I went up there in middle school, so I’d had some communication with him.”
Kennon, who is planning to major in education in order to be an intervention specialist, also considered Mount Vernon Nazarene, Mount Union and Baldwin-Wallace. Despite not having the use of school facilities over the past few months, she noted that she wasn’t having any trouble practicing for college athletics.
“Not at all,” she said. “I’m used to practicing and conditioning by myself because I put in extra work all the time. There’s never off-time for me. I went to the Morrow County Fairgrounds and threw there because I didn’t have access to the school’s track.”
And now she’s excited about her future with Findlay.
“I’m so excited to train as a collegiate athlete,” she said. “The weight room at Findlay is awesome. I’m excited to build my friendships there.”
She’s also expecting to have to raise her game as far as training and preparation goes.
“I think training will be a lot more difficult,” she said. “Competition-wise, I believe I’ll have a lot of competition in college and I’ll have a lot more people to go against. I’ll have to fight a little more.”
Thinking back on her time at Mount Gilead, Kennon has a number of good memories, with her favorite involving one of those records she set.
“My most fond memory is when I broke the 30-year-old discus record at a home meet,” she said. “I was waiting all season to break it and when I did, it was awesome.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS