Kouns to throw for Rio


Burg senior to throw shot, disc, hammer

By Paul Boggs - [email protected]



Wheelersburg’s Karley Kouns captured the Southern Ohio Conference girls shot put championship as a junior, after placing third in the event as a freshman.

Wheelersburg’s Karley Kouns captured the Southern Ohio Conference girls shot put championship as a junior, after placing third in the event as a freshman.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg High School senior Karley Kouns, seated center, announces her intention to compete in track and field for the University of Rio Grande. Seated with Kouns are mother Keri Kouns (left) and father Aaron Kouns (right). Standing are, from left, brother Jackson Kouns, University of Rio Grande track and field assistant coach Glen Queen, Wheelersburg High School girls track and field head coach Ryan Willis, University of Rio Grande track and field assistant coach Jordan Cunningham and brother Luke Kouns.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

WHEELERSBURG — Wheelersburg’s Karley Kouns — when it comes to a disc and/or shot put —can throw far.

But, in making her college choice to continue her academic and track and field career, she is staying close by.

And, in applying the wise words of one Tracy Byrd, she’s from the country —and likes it that way.

That’s because Kouns, in a recent ceremony at Wheelersburg High School, officially announced her intention to compete for the University of Rio Grande —as Kouns will throw the shot, the disc, the hammer and the indoor weighted throw for veteran RedStorm head coach Bob Willey.

Kouns was flanked at her signing by her parents, Aaron and Keri Kouns; her brothers Jackson and Luke Kouns; Wheelersburg High School girls track and field head coach Ryan Willis; and several Lady Pirates teammates, other family members and friends.

Kouns becomes the latest Lady Pirate to either run or throw for the Rio women’s team —joining Justus Steward most notably, as Steward was a senior last season and who threw with Kouns all throughout junior high and two years of high school.

Also representing Wheelersburg for the Rio Grande women are sprinter and jumper, and a Kouns family friend, Lauren Jolly —along with distance runner Alyssa Dingus, who graduated with Kouns’ brother in 2020.

Kouns said she took official visits to Muskingum University near Zanesville and the University of Dayton, but preferred the rural lifestyle which Rio Grande resides in and offers —and what the 18-year-old is accustomed to.

Plus, it helped that Steward, Jolly and Dingus are already RedStorm members.

“I chose Rio because it is very ‘homey’, and I like how ‘country’ it is. I’ve grown up on a farm, so that is what is home to me. Their atmosphere is excellent and I knew several people already on the team,” she said.

The six-foot tall Kouns will continue to throw the shot put and discus at Rio Grande, and plans to add the hammer throw offered at the collegiate level —along with the weighted throw during the college indoor season.

Kouns has swam during Wheelersburg’s winter seasons, as only this past campaign —she said —has been the first for the program offered to go to indoor meets, which are sponsored by the Ohio Track and Cross Country Coaches Association, including its state meet in Geneva.

Kouns was excited about making the commitment to Rio Grande, as she is looking to finally continue her career injury-free —following years of injuries and surgeries and other personal obstacles.

Her mother, in fact, has successfully battled breast cancer —and there was no track and field season during her sophomore spring, canceled because of the coronavirus threat.

“I’ve really had a rough go of things. I had a knee injury and surgery and I was back in time for my freshman year, but I wasn’t in the best shape to actually perform to the best of my ability. Then sophomore year, I ended up fracturing my hip, so I had another surgery,” said Kouns. “Then I was really trying to perform my best for my mom this past year. I know she really enjoys watching me throw at track meets. I wanted to do my best for her.”

Finally, in her senior season, so far so good.

“This year is the first where I’ve haven’t had any injuries or anything, and I feel like I am in the best shape. I’ve been doing CrossFit for the past year-and-a-half and that’s really helped me,” she said. “I’ve gained my strength and lost some weight, so I feel like I am faster and stronger now.”

And, she was already throwing well enough to win —as, after placing third in the Southern Ohio Conference girls shot put championship as a freshman, she captured that title at Northwest last season.

She threw 36-feet, five-and-a-half inches in winning the SOC —as her shot put personal record is 37 feet.

She was also the Division II Southeast District girls shot put runner-up, and thus qualified for the Region 7 meet in two events.

That’s because Wheelersburg went 1-2 in the discus — with then-senior Steward firing a championship throw of 114-feet and 11 inches, while Kouns was the runner-up by only three feet and one inch less (111-10).

Her personal-best in the discus is 117 feet, but said she believes she can hit her goal of 135 —in addition to her personal goal of 40 feet for the shot.

“I know that sounds way off from what I’ve been getting, but if I can keep it (disc) inbounds, that would help greatly. I like to throw the disc too early and it goes out of bounds. It’s been very frustrating for that, but I believe I can keep it inbounds and get that number,” said Kouns. “I made it to the regional last year, but this year am really hoping to make it to the state and place (top eight in each event at state meet are all-Ohio) in both.”

Speaking of numbers, the Wheelersburg High School girls records are 139 feet for disc and 43 feet for shot, which Kouns claims are not completely unattainable —as May marks meets for the SOC, followed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II district, regional and state tournaments.

Kouns added that having height helps her throwing —at least for disc.

“The height helps my wingspan for disc. For shot put, most of the time, people are shorter but stronger, so they can muscle it out there. Considering my size, I still do a pretty good job in shot, but I am better built for discus. That’s why I am excited for throwing the hammer at Rio, because I have such a long wingspan,” she explained. “That should help me in the future.”

That future, of course, which Kouns said hopefully includes injury-free years, longer throws, shorter drives for her family to watch her compete —and a taste of “country” called the University of Rio Grande.

She is undecided upon a major.

“This lessens the stress, so I can start planning for the future,” said Kouns. “I am ready for the next step. I’ve enjoyed high school throwing, but it’s almost over and I’m okay with that.”

Wheelersburg’s Karley Kouns captured the Southern Ohio Conference girls shot put championship as a junior, after placing third in the event as a freshman.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Karley-Kouns-shot-put-.jpgWheelersburg’s Karley Kouns captured the Southern Ohio Conference girls shot put championship as a junior, after placing third in the event as a freshman. Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg High School senior Karley Kouns, seated center, announces her intention to compete in track and field for the University of Rio Grande. Seated with Kouns are mother Keri Kouns (left) and father Aaron Kouns (right). Standing are, from left, brother Jackson Kouns, University of Rio Grande track and field assistant coach Glen Queen, Wheelersburg High School girls track and field head coach Ryan Willis, University of Rio Grande track and field assistant coach Jordan Cunningham and brother Luke Kouns.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Karley-Kouns-signing-.jpgWheelersburg High School senior Karley Kouns, seated center, announces her intention to compete in track and field for the University of Rio Grande. Seated with Kouns are mother Keri Kouns (left) and father Aaron Kouns (right). Standing are, from left, brother Jackson Kouns, University of Rio Grande track and field assistant coach Glen Queen, Wheelersburg High School girls track and field head coach Ryan Willis, University of Rio Grande track and field assistant coach Jordan Cunningham and brother Luke Kouns. Paul Boggs | Daily Times
Burg senior to throw shot, disc, hammer

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved