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Willard's Holida capped big weekend with silver medal at indoor state

Mark Hazelwood • Mar 4, 2019 at 7:57 PM

GENEVA — Few had a better weekend than Joey Holida.

On Friday, the Willard senior climbed a ladder for a second time in two weeks and cut down a piece of the net, along with his teammates and coaches on the Crimson Flashes boys basketball team.

Willard cut down the net on Feb. 22 as SBC Bay Division champions, and added a Division III sectional championship on Friday at Hopewell-Loudon.

Holida then headed east to Geneva on Saturday, where he competed in the OATCCC indoor state track and field championships, held at SPIRE Institute.

Holida was one of three competitors to clear 6-feet-4 in the Div. II-III high jump, and finished second based on the number of faults to earn state runners-up honors.

“I really enjoyed the whole experience,” Holida said. “I came in thinking it was going to be good competition. I was hearing from my coaches this would be a lot more like outdoor districts and regionals, and possibly state.

“I never had that many people at same height with me,” he added. “So from that perspective alone, it was good to see what type of kids I was competing against.”

Holida said there were some comparisons to it being a standard track meet in May.

“Just the competition and being in that environment, and having that many people there made it unique,” he said. “I actually got butterflies at first, but then I got back in the groove and got things going … but that environment felt like outdoor.”

Holida is hoping the 6-4 height is an early sign of what to expect when the track and field regular season begins for the Crimson Flashes in three-plus weeks.

“I’m hoping to get 6-4 again and hit it consecutively, not just randomly,” he said. “I want to be consistent at that height, then I’m Hoping to break it and get to 6-6.

“If I would have gotten to that (on Saturday), I would have been first place,” he added. “But I’ll need to chase that down in the weight room, along with just getting more time in going from sport to sport.”

Last spring, Holida won the high jump at the Blue Devil Relays in Carey, the Lakota Invitational, Buckeye Central, Huron Invitational, Bellevue Invitational, the Perkins Relays — and again at the SBC championships.

He previously cleared 6-4 at the Huron Invite, then again at the SBCs. He also went 6-4 on Feb. 10 at the high school indoor meet held at Tiffin University.

But Holida — who believes eventually 6-8 is a height he can chase — admittedly stumbled last May at the Div. II district meet at Oak Harbor, and that alone has been fueling his desire to do more.

“I’m just getting a lot of momentum here in my body,” he said. “It was a good football season, now basketball — and next is track. I’m ready to bring all this over to track, and hopefully take it up a level at districts and regionals, and ultimately place at state.”

With all that being said, Holida is in no hurry to fully dedicate to track and field. The Willard boys basketball team is 21-3 overall, and riding a 15-game winning streak into Wednesday’s Division III district semifinal vs. Carey (15-8). The Flashes beat the Devils way back on Dec. 6 (66-62) in the third game of the season.

If they do it again on Wednesday, they will play for a district championship for the first time in 13 seasons (2005-06) — also the last time the Flashes won a league title prior to two weeks ago.

Holida was also a member of the Willard football team that went 5-5 in the fall, which equaled the win total from previous three years put together.

“It’s been a great senior year so far,” Holida said. “We’re always hearing about the past when Willard was the top dog in basketball for years and years. There was a bit of a drought for a while, and knowing my senior year, with great teammates and great coaches that we have right now — we really have made this year special.

“To have everyone looking at us like it’s been around town and the area in general this last month, it blows my mind to see where we came from as freshman to now,” he added.

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