BUCYRUS – Someday, Ellie Richmond might be wielding a sledgehammer and smashing through walls like Nicole Curtis of HGTV’s Rehab Addict fame.
If Richmond tears through plaster the way she broke through barriers at Wynford High School, you can count on it.
House-flipping — the buying, restoring and reselling of old homes — is something the three-sport star can see herself doing with the interior design degree she plans to pursue at Ohio State.
Richmond was quite adept at redesigning the record book at Wynford. She set schools marks in the 800 meter run (2:19.88), the 1,600 meter run (5:10.96) — her specialty — and the 4 x 400 meter relay (4:09.87), as the anchor runner.
In the case of the two individual races, it meant plowing through a couple of the school’s longest-standing records. Those standards withstood previous threats by other Wynford athletes, but came crumbling down in Richmond’s presence.
In fact, breaking the 1,600 mark meant doing so at the expense of her coach, Julie Crall, who held it for nearly 40 years. But Crall couldn’t be happier that her mark was erased by the News Journal’s 2014-15 Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
“I had three other girls come close and I was hoping Ellie would finally be the one,” Crall said. “She first got it three years ago and now she’s broken it three or four more times. She’s absolutely killed it. When I set it in 1976, it was a 5:32. Now she’s got it down to a 5:10.”
Crall believes Richmond could have broken the school’s 3,200 record as well, but knowing how much her workhorse hated that race she didn’t ask her to run it more than once per season. This year, Crall held that chip until the Northern 10 meet and, if not for a side cramp, Richmond might have achieved yet another milestone.
As it was, she won the race and finished the conference meet as a quadruple champion.
“She was right on track (for the record) on the fifth or sixth lap, and even though she got a side stitch she still came close,” Crall said. “Then she anchored the 4 x 4 and still turned in a 59 (second) split. She might not have liked the 3,200, but the competitive spirit was always there.”
Senior project a hit
That spirit obviously carried over to the classroom where Richmond carried a 3.7 GPA and was ranked 10th in her class. Her senior class project wasn’t what she originally intended but still turned out to be a remarkable success.
“At the beginning of year, I wanted my project to be remodeling a room, but our house wasn’t that old and didn’t really need to be redone, and no one was ready to trust a high school senior to come in and redo a room,” she said. “So I came up with something different.”
Each senior was instructed to do something he or she had never done before that would make an impact, so leaning on her interest in arts and crafts Richmond opted to design her own jewelry. She came up with 80 pieces and sold nearly all of it at an open house.
“It was supposed to be like owning and operating my own business because that’s probably what I want to do, and I was able to get a feel for that type of thing,” Richmond said. “I used old pieces of jewelry, took them apart and put them with other stuff.
“I know it had nothing to do with houses, but it had to do with colors and patterns and putting things together that weren’t together in the first place. I didn’t really make jewelry as much as I recreated it.”
Krista Richmond, a language arts teacher in the Wynford school district, had seen that creative side in her daughter’s paintings and drawings and in the T-shirts she designed for her basketball and track teams.
“Anything she does, even if it’s simple, she makes it more elaborate than it needs to be,” she said. “All three of my kids are artsy that way.”
As for Richmond’s running ability, mom started seeing that practically from the time Ellie left the womb.
“She’s been running since she was born,” Krista Richmond said, laughing. “You couldn’t catch her. Everything she did, she just ran, here and there. I told my husband (Chuck), I’m tired. I can’t keep up with her, so I’m just going to let her run.”
Richmond got her miler mentality from her mom, a former Wynford distance runner, and her flair for standing out from the pack from her aunt Karla, a track and basketball star for the Royals in the early Eighties. Krista and Karla were known back then as the Stucky twins.
“I was in cross country and track, but wasn’t that good,” Krista said. “My sister has records; I just slid by. My sister ran sprints, so Ellie got the distance (mindset) from me, but the athleticism ….
“A lot of it was she just wanted to be good. She wanted to play everything, so we just kind of let her.”
Richmond graduated from Wynford with 12 letters in three sports: cross country, track and basketball. She made it to at least the regional level multiple times in all three sports, earning All-Ohio honorable mention this past winter in basketball and reaching the podium at the state track meet with her sixth-place finish in the 1,600.
Running cross country was a necessary evil to help her conditioning for basketball and track. She ran it mainly because her sister, Kinsey, and brother, Ryan, competed in that sport. One of her earliest recollections is running in elementary schools races at her brother’s cross country invitationals.
Great role models
Along with her parents, Richmond said her aunt Karla has been a big influence in her life.
“She’s in the Wynford Hall of Fame and understands the hard work and dedication needed to be part of that,” Richmond said. “She was pretty much at every sporting event of mine. I could always hear her above almost everybody else.”
Richmond and Crall were kindred spirits.
“I don’t want to sound conceited, but it was my footsteps she was following because it was my record she was breaking,” Crall said. “I had that artistic side also. It’s funny. She is so much like I was in high school.
“I was hoping I’d be the one coaching the person who got my record. It looks good when people walk into the building and see the (posted) times are low.”
Richmond hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trying to walk on to the track team at Ohio State.
“I want to start training for half marathons and keep doing that as I get older,” she said. “I don’t see myself stopping (as a runner) anytime soon.”
Or cutting back on her HGTV watching. Maybe the Rehab Addict could use an apprentice?
If it’s references Nicole Curtis wants, that won’t be a problem.
“She’s so coachable, so likeable,” Crall said of Richmond. “We had a military guy come in and talk about drugs and other things and he asked if we had a captain. The kids all said if they had to pick someone it would be Ellie.
“In track you don’t really need a captain, but she’s always been that leader, that motivator. The boys and girls alike looked up to her.”
HONORABLE MENTION GIRLS
Allie Atkinson, Ontario; Caroline Blunk, St. Peter’s; Bryanna Bohla, Mount Gilead; Mikayla Briggs, Northmor; Jillian Earnest, Lexington; Megan Flaherty, Bucyrus; Maisey Granson, Lucas; Andie Heffelfinger, Loudonville; Jessica Henderson, Plymouth; Carrie Hickey, Mapleton; Addyson Horne, Plymouth; Katelin Kunze, Gilead Christian; Khyla Jones, Cardington; Toni Jones, Highland; Abigail Kaple, Lexington; Alexandra Kuenzli, Ontario; Brooke Miller, Wynford; Desiree Peterson, Madison; Rachel Pfeiffer, Mansfield Christian; Megan Poynter, Hillsdale; Leslie Rogers, Mapleton; Jaclyn Stancato, Crestview; Samantha Thompson, Highland; Carolyn Webster, Fredericktown
HONORABLE MENTION BOYS
Spencer Adams, Northmor; Nick Adams, Lexington; Tyler Beck, Northmor; Tyson Beebe, Plymouth; Carson Ebert, Willard; Kolton Edmondson, Loudonville; Clayton Fisher, Cardington; Derek Goodman, Gilead Christian; Xavier Harris, Mount Gilead; Brock Hays, Hillsdale; Joshua Hassmann, Lexington; Alex Hill, Madison; Nathan Hillborn, Highland; Drew Ickes, Hillsdale; Blake Jones, Mapleton; Rueben Luna, Lucas; Colton Lybarger, Fredericktown; Clay Martin, Colonel Crawford; Mark Musick, Bucyrus; Dylan Mutchler, Bucyrus; Tanner Orr, Shelby; Connor Pollard, Lucas; Tyler Ruhl, Fredericktown; Thomas Schlitt, St. Peter’s; Nathan Sparks, Wynford; Grant Waltlin, Plymouth; Andrew Yarnell, Northmor
PAST SCHOLAR-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
1987: Kelly Inkrott, Malabar; 1988: Kim Tyler, Northmor; 1989: Donna Lash, Ashland; 1990: Chris Olex, St. Peter’s; 1991: Allison Quinn, Mount Gilead; 1992: Molly Senokozlieff, Clear Fork; 1993: Allisson Butler, Northmor; 1994: Allisson Butler, Northmor; 1995: Jaime Chenevey, Hillsdale; 1996: Janae Davis, Crestview; 1997: Shiva Davis, Crestview; 1998: Alyson Workman, Loudonville; 1999: Megan Pease, Madison; 2000: Cassie Palmer, South Central; 2001: Abby Coon, Plymouth; 2002: Stephanie Berkaw, Hillsdale; 2003: Tiffany Gribble, Galion; 2004: Sarah Henize, Bucyrus; 2005: Gretchen Polinski, St. Peter’s; 2006: Whitney Dropsey, Hillsdale; 2007: Lindsey Pifher, Colonel Crawford; 2008: Kate Stimpert, Crestview; 2009: Hannah Fulk, Hillsdale; 2010: Rachel Dannemiller, Shelby; 2011: Kelsey Dropsey, Hillsdale; 2012: Martha Staab, Clear Fork; 2013: Devon Murray, Shelby; 2014: Macey Sheerer, Bucyrus
1987: Matt Long, Galion; 1988: Mike Zara, Crestline; 1989: Derek Heath, Buckeye Central; 1990: Shon McCormick, Shelby; 1991: Tom Ullmer, Crestline; 1992: Obi Moneme, Mansfield Christian; 1993: Sam Lybarger, Shelby; 1994: Jon Stanek, Crestline; 1995: Jeff Miller, Hillsdale; 1996: Dave Anderson, Ashland; 1997: Dan Kalb, Wynford; 1998: Doug Dendinger, South Central; 1999: Israel Martin, Shelby; 2000: Tyler Scott, Loudonville; 2001: Craig Turson, Plymouth; 2002: Craig Turson, Plymouth; 2003: Rory Meister, Madison; 2004: Andrew and Austin Wechter, Shelby; 2005: Trevor Scott, Loudonville; 2006: Josh Calver, Shelby; 2007: James Zeuch, Galion; 2008: Ryan Chenevey, St. Peter’s; 2009: Kyle Bailey, Shelby; 2010: Jordan Lance, Loudonville; 2011: Tyler Lilly, Mansfield Christian; 2012: Dixon Johnson, Shelby; 2013: Austin Cary, Loudonville; 2014: Hutch Blackstone, Mansfield Senior