CENTENARY, Ohio — They say that two out of three isn’t bad.
So given Kaleb Crisenbery’s accomplishments of the past four years, committing to compete in college in two out of three sports is pretty darn good.
That’s because Crisenbery, a senior at Gallia Academy High School, officially announced on Wednesday that he will continue his athletic career at Shawnee State University — where he will run both track and field and cross country for veteran head coach Eric Putnam.
Crisenbery’s signing ceremony took place in the Gallia Academy High School Media Center, as he was flanked by his father and stepmother Bobby and Leann Crisenbery; Gallia Academy boys track and field head coach Paul Close; Gallia Academy cross country coach Todd May; and Gallia Academy Athletic Director Adam Clark.
Crisenbery is a three-sport standout athlete at GAHS — and is already a two-time Division II regional qualifier in both cross country and track and field.
He will have an opportunity at the end of this month to qualify for the coveted state track and field meet — less than three months after placing eighth in the Division II state wrestling tournament for the 145-pound weight class.
Oh, and he happened to qualify for the regional in all four years of wrestling as well.
But, being able to run is what Crisenbery wants — and plans — to do.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity ahead of me. I’ve got big goals, and a lot of good stuff to do,” said Crisenbery.
And, that is on top of the good stuff he has already done.
“Less than two months ago, you, I and Kaleb were all having a conversation in the media room at the state wrestling championship. Now we’re sitting here talking about a collegiate signing in two other sports. The neat thing that Kaleb and I got to do today was fill out his paperwork for the (Gallia Academy High School) athletic key. Once you sit down and really look at what he has done here, it’s remarkable,” said May.
May is also the head wrestling coach at GAHS, but coached Crisenbery in cross country as well.
His personal-record time is 16 minutes and 45 seconds, as he placed 42nd (2015 as a junior) and 40th (2016 as a senior) in the Division II regional meets —separated by a razor-thin five seconds in time (17:41 in 2015 and 17:36 in 2016).
Crisenbery will transition from 5K races in high school to 8K (five miles) races in college, and will continue to run his specialties 800m and 4x800m relay in track.
He also aims to run the 1,500m run — down an even 100 meters from the 1,600m run in high school.
In fact, collegiate races range up to 10,000 meters, but Crisenbery excels in shorter distances and the high jump.
“I’ll have to run more mileage. Right now, I’ve been running short mileage. I’m probably the lowest mileage guy on the entire Shawnee State team,” he said. “I usually run about 30 miles a week, and they are up around 50 or 60 miles. That’s their edge on me, but I’m usually a speed guy. That’s why I’m so good at the 800m. Just been going short distance.”
When asked about running relays for the Bears, Crisenbery said he expects to do so.
“Right now, I’m pretty sure I am the second-fastest 800m runner they have on the team. He’s (fastest) graduating this year as well,” he said.
Following Tuesday’s Coal Grove Invitational, and prior to the Ohio Valley Conference meet on Saturday (May 13), May said Crisenbery has competed in 32 events this year.
And, as May said, he is just warming up prior to the postseason.
“He’s picking and choosing how bad he beats people. He doesn’t worry about time. He’s been playing with people, so we don’t know yet just how fast he can go,” said the coach, with a laugh. “But it’s nice to know you have a kid on your team that can possibly go to state. I think that’s what we have in Kaleb this year.”
Crisenbery has qualified for the track and field regional as a sophomore and junior, and indeed intends to reach the state meet as a senior.
He said he chose Shawnee State — located in Portsmouth — over some higher-level programs, allowing him “to be close to home and to see friends and family on the weekends”.
He also said he likes what Putnam can do for his career.
“I’ve gotten a lot of letters from schools wanting me to come for a visit. Many Division II or III schools. But I really like Shawnee and have gotten to know Coach (Eric) Putnam really well. And he seems like he can get me to the best I can be,” said Crisenbery.
Crisenbery plans to major in Electromechanical Engineering, earning an Associate’s Degree before moving into Computer Assisted Drafting after two years.
Indeed, as he said, he has “big goals and a lot of good stuff to do.”
Perhaps, even one day, have his shot in the 800m run at the United States Olympic Trials.
“He doesn’t like the term ‘captain’, but they (GAHS boys track and field teammates) do what he says. I mean he set the lineup for the meet last night (Tuesday at Coal Grove Invitational). But he likes to win and he keeps on getting healthier,” said May. “It’s been everything we knew it could be, hoped it could be, and it’s been even better.”
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106