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Willard's Holida cousins ending careers at state

By JOSH MORGRET • May 31, 2019 at 9:00 AM

WILLARD — Josh Holida has always been motivated.

A senior, Holida was the kid that was passed over when he was younger.

Now he, along with cousin and classmate, Joey Holida, are both headed to the Division II state track and field championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Saturday.

Josh will compete in the discus competition, while Joey will take his talents to the high jump. Both events begin at 9:30 a.m.

"I was always the kid who was looked over when I was young — the kid who would be picked last for a pickup game because I was not athletic enough," Josh said. "Now I can show that with hard work and determination you can do anything you want. And I see myself as a role model for the younger kids who think they are just another kid going through a sport in high school. I want them to see what I did and have them be the best they can be."

Joey, on the other hand, reached the indoor state track championships while also playing on the basketball team that won its first district title in 13 years. He finished as state runners-up at the February event in Geneva.

"The moment I knew I had a shot at heading to the state track meet in Columbus was when I was still in basketball but also in indoor track," Joey said. "I jumped 6-foot-4-inches to make it to indoor state. At that point, I realized that if I keep my mark at 6-4 and maybe even at 6-6 or 6-8, I would be competing where I am at today."

Josh was first at the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay championships. His throw of 157-feet-10 would have been good enough to also win in the Lake and River divisions.

"I always knew I could be a state qualifier," Josh said. "I have been averaging over 155 feet for all my throws this year and that was a big part of that state mentality."

Josh was then fourth at district with a throw of 158-4 before taking fifth at regionals at Lexington at 153-8.

"There is not really much change that goes into training for the district and regional meet," Josh said. "However, I come in with a different mindset — a mindset that reminds me that you are here for a reason. And that reason is to represent your high school at the state meet in Columbus."

Joey finished tied for second at the SBC meet with a jump of 6-4.

"The ups on my season was the great support from all members of my team and coaches especially my high jumping coach," Joey said. "The downs to the season was SBC when I ended up jumping 6-4. At that point it just made me want to get better and not let that happen to me in the future — especially for district and regionals."

Joey then finished second at district at 6-6 and fourth at regional at 6-2.

"I did not make too many changes because it is hard trying to correct or even try to make changes this far into the season," Joey said. "I just know I need to keep doing what I have been doing and big things will come out of that."

Josh is seeded 15th out of 18 throwers in the discus.

"My goals for this weekend would be a top-three finish in the state," Josh said. "That would wrap up my high school career very well."

Joey enters the high jump with the last seed.

"My goals for this weekend is to get sleep and stay excited, but most importantly is that I have confidence in my self," Joey said. "I believe if I hit my marks that I've been hitting this season, I could be the next state champion in the high jump for Willard. That is my dream and I’m wanting it to come true next weekend."

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