Loss fueled Chambers

CHARLESTON – Oak Glen senior Kelsey Chambers used a loss as motivation.

“I saw what it feels like to get second by that close and it’s not a good feeling,” she admitted. “That gave me a lot of motivation to want to win and not feel like that again.”

Chambers had two losses in the past 12 months that had stuck in her craw.

The biggest one, though, was by 11 seconds at the West Virginia State Class AA-A Cross Country Championships.

“I didn’t win states at cross country and that was a really big loss for me,” Chambers said. “I was really upset about it. But, it helped me push through this and made me want to win even more.

“I think that loss pushed me the most.

“I love cross country. It’s my life. So, getting a win under my belt was my motivation before I left (Oak Glen). When I started training for track, that’s honestly what I kept thinking about – how bad that loss was in cross country and I didn’t want to feel that again.”

The second loss was in the 4×800 to Weir at the State Track and Field Championships at the University of Charleston’s Laidley Field a year ago.

“I didn’t like that one much at all, either,” she said.

Everything changed Friday and Saturday back on the Laidley Field track.

Chambers didn’t lose.

“The feeling of winning is so great here. I couldn’t ask for anything better, honestly,” she said.

“I’m really sad that my senior year is over. I’ll be running in college, but it’s still sad that you’re leaving your team. I love running with these girls and I love being on this team. Going out like this is really all that I could ask for.”

Chambers teamed with Christen Mangano, Alex Arnott and Felicity Nolder to win the 4×8 and then she claimed the 3200 crown on Friday.

She backed those up with convincing victories in the 1600 and 800 on Saturday.

Chambers became the first Oak Glen track and field athlete since Jordann Mitchell in 2007 to be a four-time state champion.

In doing so, she became the school’s first track and field athlete to win the high point award. She shared it with Bridgeport junior Kayla Haywood. They scored 32 points.

“I’m just so honored to win the award,” said Chambers. “And, to be the first person in school history to do so – I am blessed.

“I didn’t come in here thinking about winning the high point award. I came in here trying to run my best and win. It doesn’t even seem real because I never have won an open event at states until this year.

“I was able to win this award because of all the work myself and my teammates put in. Hard work does pay off and it did for all of us today.”

Oak Glen’s team took home hardware for the first time in school history with a Class AA runner-up finish to Bridgeport.

“We are so proud of our girls,” said Lady Golden Bears coach Diane Wells, who has been at the school for 15 years, the last 11 as head coach. “We have a great coaching staff and the girls did everything we asked of them this year.

“Our girls performed today. The whole team did well. It wasn’t just Kelsey. It was just a great day for Oak Glen track and field.”

The Golden Bears finished with 53 points, two better than Ritchie County. Bridgeport won the team title going away,

Also scoring points were:

Emmy Delekta, third, discus (107-10).

Rachelle Woofter, fifth, shot put (31-4).

Shuttle team of Tori Feicht, Kim Smith, Marissa Nolder and Megan Nally finished sixth (1:10.51).

4×200 relay team of McKenzie Jones, Feicht, Arnott and Nally finished fourth (1:52.23) from the slow heat.

“Kelsey works really hard, as do all our kids,” said Wells. “Kelsey is a real team player. She does whatever the team needs. She came through at OVACs when the team needed her to run those four events without a lot of time to rest. She came back with four events at regionals in one day and did what she had to do.

“Everyone on the team really stepped up today. This is a really great group of kids to work with. They worked hard all year for us.

“I’ve been very fortunate.”