MARIETTA - Locked in an all-out war with the competition, the Marietta Tigers knew every point mattered on the track Tuesday night.
Playing host to the annual Marietta Night Relays, the Tigers needed every point they could muster and when the opportunity presented itself, Marietta's athletes came through.
Marietta staged a strong finish in the final event on the track, the 4x400 relay, to claim victory in the girls team standings over second place Williamstown while the Tiger boys were able to use the 4x400 finish to keep them ahead of second place Parkersburg South, even though the pole vault was still running.
"It's a team effort. There's no way around it. You cannot win a relay meet if you don't run as a team," said Marietta girls track coach Mollie Schramm.
Marietta's girls scored points in every single event while the Tiger boys scored in every event with the exception of the discus. The Tiger boys also scored a pair of school records in the long jump relay and distance medley.
"It's a real balanced effort with our distance kids leading the way," said Marietta boys track coach B.J. Mayer.
While the Tigers may have been prowling out in front, that's not to say they didn't have opponents nipping at their heels.
Heading into the girls' 4x400 the Tigers had just a six point lead over second place Williamstown, 87-81. A first place finish by Marietta secured the victory as the Yellowjackets didn't place in the event.
Still, it was a strong showing for the smallest school present in the eight-team field, which included not only Marietta and Williamstown but also Warren, Morgan, Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Athens and Meadowbrook.
"We like to run against people to get a challenge. It brings out the best in your people," said Williamstown boys track coach Doak Markley.
Williamstown got the ball rolling by claiming first place in three of the five field events while Marietta claimed the other two. The 'Jackets won the high jump, long jump and shot put while Marietta claimed the pole vault and discus.
All told, the Tigers won six events while the Yellowjackets won five events.
"I'm willing to say 70 percent of the kids we have have PRed tonight," Markley said. "I think as a team, we're getting better."
The strong push by Williamstown toward the front of the pack caught Marietta a little off guard, but the Tigers were able to hold off the run and keep ahead of the pack.
"My normal is watch PHS. I came up later in the meet and said, girls, we've got to watch Williamstown," Schramm said, adding she believes the Yellowjackets can win state in their division.
After the Tigers and 'Jackets at the top of the field, there was a bit of a logjam in the middle of the pack as third through fifth place was separated by less than a point and third through seventh place was decided by only 30 points.
Parkersburg and Parkersburg South finished dead even with 53 points while Warren had 52 and Morgan posted 23 while Meadowbrook had 38.