Wheeling Central Lacrosse Standout Caleb Karnell Tabbed All-American

WHEELING — A season to remember.

It was certainly that for Caleb Karnell.

Karnell is a lacrosse player at Wheeling Central — and a very gifted one. He just completed his sophomore campaign, one in which he helped carry the Maroon Knights to the West Virginia Lacrosse Association state championship. Central defeated Spring Mills, 12-7, in the state title tilt, capping a 12-7 season. Karnell was named the game’s MVP.

That MVP award was just the tip of the iceberg for the Maroon Knights midfielder as he was subsequently tabbed first team all-state. The most prestigious accolade arrived last month when Karnell was named an All-American by US Lacrosse.

In 19 games, Karnell had 85 shots on goal, 22 goals, 39 assists and 132 ground balls. In the playoffs, he won 36 of 66 face-offs (55%).

“It was awesome winning the state championship,” Karnell said. “We didn’t start out too well but we started putting things together in the middle of the year.”

“It was fun to see everyone’s success and how the team finished. Being state champs is a great feeling.”

The soft-spoken standout credited his teammates and coaches for his individual awards.

“It gets back to Coach (Kevin) Maloney believing in me and putting in the right position. I would not have received these honors without the help of my teammates and coaches,” Karnell said. “All my coaches pushed me to make me better, and we had great team chemistry. It’s been an amazing year.”

With two more years left and a resume already well stocked with success, Karnell looks forward to his remaining Maroon Knight lacrosse days with some definite goals in mind.

“I hope our team can repeat as state champions. We definitely got a good team coming back. We should be one of the top teams in the state again,” Karnell said. “Hopefully, I can improve my game and have better years the next two seasons. I do want to play in college, but don’t know where yet.”

Karnell is handling a heavy load of lacrosse this summer.

This past week, he took part in the Nike Xcelerate Camp at Washington & Jefferson College. That was followed by the Niagara Lacrosse Showcase 2019 at Old Fort Niagara in New York.

Today, Karnell is playing in the Niagara Lacrosse Invitational. He is on Natural Lax, a team based out of Bethany College. The event attracts teams from Canada, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland.

Karnell has also been invited to the Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH) Lacrosse Prospect Day on July 27.

“Caleb possesses great character and holds himself to a high standard,” Maloney said. “He is a perfectionist who brings top-notch enthusiasm with him everyday.

“Caleb puts in the work and leads by example. Caleb is the first sophomore in West Virginia history to earn All-American honors.

Maloney has been the Maroon Knights’ head coach since the program’s inception 12 years ago. His teams have claimed three state championships.

“It is a great feeling considering the dynamics of the sport in West Virginia as there is no class breakdown,” Maloney said. “We also did it with only two returning starters. It was an over-the-moon feeling.”

LOIS STOBBS MEMORIAL

The Lois Stobbs Memorial Veterans Day 10K Run & Walk has blossomed into a stellar event, promoting a worthwhile cause. The race gets an added boost this year as Hugh Stobbs has agreed to return as the race director. He is the race founder who opted to step away a few years ago.

Lance Tarr, Wayne Barte and Steve Habursky, who filled the void in Hugh’s absence, will stay on as assistant race directors along with the rest of the race committee.

This year’s veterans race will be staged on Saturday, Nov. 2 with an 8:30 a.m. start.

Hugh has chosen the “Paws for Purple Hearts” organization for the race proceeds contribution recipient. This organization trains canines as helping companions for wounded veterans who are in need of bonding and assistance.

BUBBA’S BITS

∫ Our prayers go out to longtime football coach Jake Olsavsky on the death of his wife, Jada, this past Tuesday. Jake was one of the classiest men ever to roam a football sideline. Jada was his most devoted and passionate fan, be it at Brilliant, Bellaire or Union Local. Jake won big at all three schools and Jada was a huge part of that success.

∫ Skyvue High legend Mitch Hannahs has done a remarkable job as Indiana State’s head baseball coach. So much so, he just received a contract extension through the 2022 season. Hannahs, who starred as a player with the Sycamores, guided Indiana State into the NCAA Tournament this spring, besting Ohio State before being ousted by eventual national champion Vanderbilt. He is second in career wins at ISU with 201. Hannahs is an OVAC and Indiana State Hall of Famer.

∫After bombing out on my Wimbledon women’s pick, I nailed it with the men’s champion in Novak Djokivic. In men’s tennis it’s not hard, you just have three choices in every major: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Djokivic.

∫ The OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Classic kicks off the Ohio Valley prep football season this Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium. Indian Creek’s Andrew Connor is guiding the Ohio all-stars. I am a big Connor fan. He is a winner whose players enjoying playing for him. My pick, Ohio 20, W.Va. 14.

∫ Many fans gave the Cleveland Indians up for dead this season when the Tribe trailed Minnesota by double-digit games. The Indians are methodically closing the gap on the Twinkies. I believe the Tribe will win the AL Central by a comfortable margin.

∫ Former Union Local basketball star Trenton Tipton has earned a prestigious collegiate honor. The College of Wooster hoopster was named to the prestigious National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court for the 2018-19 season. Tipton played a major role in the Fighting Scots’ 24-6 record this past year. Wooster won its NCAC-leading 18th championship. The NABC Honors Court recognizes student-athletes with at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA, are at least a junior in academic standing, have matriculated at least one year at their current institution, and whose coach is a member of the NABC.

∫ The Ohio Valley Baseball League best-of-5 championship series commences today, pitting Barton vs. Wheeling. I like the Braves in four games.

∫ Events this past week have me quite disturbed with the state of American Legion baseball in the Ohio Valley. On both Friday and Saturday, two different local posts canceled games as they cited a lack of players. Wheeling Post 1 was left holding the bag on both occasions with no team to play. Meanwhile, another local Legion squad is competing in this weekend’s Ohio District Tournament with just nine players. It is sad to see Legion baseball, once a popular summertime activity, crumbling.

Bubba Kapral can be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com

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