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Older brother Cobey pushed Kyler Kromer to state

Mark Hazelwood • Oct 31, 2019 at 4:02 PM

NORWALK — It’s brotherly love all of the time between Kyler and Cobey Kromer.

But there is also one thing both Kyler, a sophomore, and Cobey, a senior make clear.

"A lot of competitiveness, a lot of going back and forth and wanting to be better than the other in school, sports, just anything,” said Kyler, who will run in the Division I state championship meet at 3 p.m. Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.

“But at the end of the day, we're close … nothing carries over.”

Kyler reached the state championship race by placing third overall last week at the Div. I regional at Hedges-Boyer Park in Tiffin. But in what proved to be his final race, Cobey placed 19th, needing to finish among the top eight to reach state.

But that won’t keep older brother from pushing younger brother this week.

"It's brotherly love all the time,” said Cobey. “And then there is competition in everything. Basically when I wake up, we're in the same room and competing ... continuously.

“I’ve told him to be in the top 25 and All-Ohio,” he added. “You don't really know until race day, but I'm going to be the one who pushes him all week."

 

Starting young

Growing up on a farm, the two oldest sons of John and Cindy Kromer have bailed plenty of straw among other duties.

Originally soccer players, John once marveled at the speed of Kyler and Cobey in the open fields on their property. When the time came to start distance running, the two didn’t disappoint.

But the reason Kyler decided to start running after Norwalk Middle School coach Phil Oglesby reached out? A chance to chase down his brother.

“In eighth grade when I started running I became good at it, but I was also at a lot of Cobey's meets when he was in Middle School — and it inspired me to try and beat him in a sense,” Kyler said.

“But I was also a little nervous, because he was fast and I had to be as good as him,” he added. “I felt that pressure, and when I went out I just kept running, and here we are.”

Here is one of the best regional finishes ever by a runner in Norwalk boys program history. His time of 16:07.1 was not one he initially saw when the season started in August.

"I thought my first race was a little shaky,” Kyler said. “But throughout the season things just progressed and I was getting the times I wanted. I was seeing what the projected times were in the tournament at district and regional, and going into the regional, I felt like I had a little bit of a cushion around me where I could make it.”

It poured rain during the entire race, but Kyler’s time never suffered.

“When the race got underway I felt good,” he said. “Coming up the last hill on the last 800, I was in sixth and had enough left in me to pass a few guys get into third.”

Cobey wasn’t surprised.

“Kyler’s got the dedication — and the talent that he has to go with it,” he said.

 

Bittersweet

The obvious hope was for both siblings to advance to state. Throughout the season, Kyler and Cobey were 1-2 for the Truckers at most of the meets.

But whether it was injuries, combined with Norwalk’s move from Div. II to Div. I, the times were not quite there for Cobey.

He had a knee procedure done, and part of his Anterior Cruciate Ligament was clipped.

“When I was running with that knee injury, it was really hard to just keep going, knowing that sometimes I just couldn't go as fast as I wanted,” Cobey said.

But all that being said, Cobey’s disappointment is quickly cast aside for not only his brother, but how his senior season went. The Truckers won the SBC Lake Division championship for a second straight season, and placed fourth at both the district and regional as a team despite competing with much bigger schools from the Toledo area.

“This year was really fun, because I was practically almost back to 100 percent,” Cobey said. “Our team placed pretty well (at regionals), compared to last week when we barely made it in.

“I didn't PR, but I was pretty close to it,” he added. “I was supposed to get 18th and got 19th, so I figured I ran my best day. But seeing how each day kept getting better and better — and running with my brother was the best part. We always challenge each other.”

Kyler talked about making it to state without his brother.

"I feel sad for him, it would have been a lot better — and felt more normal — if it was me and him running together at state,” he said. “It would have been a better experience, but he'll make it through and hopefully he'll try and run in college.”

And while youngest brother, Casey, is off to a similar start winning events in the sixth grade, he will never get to run a high school meet with Kyler.

That included the two finishing 1-2 at the host Norwalk Invitational on Sept. 21.

“That was a great moment at our home meet, and just to see us throughout the season go 1-2 on our team,” Kyler said. "It's great because I always have someone to run with me, and we do run a lot together.

“It's just a close bond, we always push each other anytime on race day or even just in practices,” he added. “It’s just tit for tat, him and I running together. We love it.”

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