MINERAL WELLS - Senior Maggie Drazba of St. Marys set a new course record on a muddy Saturday at the 12th annual Chik-fil-A cross country invitational and three Mid-Ohio Valley teams claimed titles.
Ripley's boys bested Parkersburg 61-73 to claim the Class AAA crown while the Big Red girls topped the field with just 45 points, which was 10 less than runner-up Winfield. Belpre's boys finished first in the Class AA/A division and the Scott girls ran away with the small school crown.
Drazba's time of 18 minutes and one second broke the previous record held by Berkeley Springs' Rachel Buser back in 2004 by 18 seconds. The only other area victor came in the Class AA/A boys race where Ritchie County's Johnny Hogue clocked in at 16:20 to beat defending champion Will Shaffer of Scott by six seconds.
Members of the Parkersburg High School cross country team are, front from left, Hannah Bailey, Allie Kramer, Caitlyn Ohrn, Sarah Snider, Swathi Mukkamala and Jennifer Parsons. Middle row, MaryCatherine Bolton, Havenn Burton, Alena Klimas, Jordan Waters, Rachel Morris, Kayla Harmon, Chelsea Harper and Madison Asbury. Last row, JD White, Lakyn Mayo, Brooke McVaney, Kaylee Williams, Nicole Dent, Kaileen Terrell, and Katie Collins. (Photo Provided)
"They were awful," Parkersburg's Nick Musgrave said of the conditions at the Wood County 4-H Camp on Butcher Bend Road. "Since we were like one of the last races it was half water and half mud.
"There wasn't a single dry spot. We all had to put in our half-inch spikes instead of our three-eighths just to stay vertical."
Preston's Kaitlyn Workman finished in 19:20 to claim the AAA girls title and she was followed by Licking Valley's Mackenzie Butler (19:44) and Parkersburg's Kaylee Williams (19:55).
Williams and fellow Big Reds Rachel Morris (6th, 20:46), Nicole Dent (7th, 20:46), Jordan Waters (15th, 21:57) and Alena Klimas (16th, 22:09) had a strong enough pack to beat the Generals, who were led by a four-five finish from Brittney McMillion (20:00) and Rachael Englund (20:18).
"I thought the girls ran really, really well," said PHS head coach Larry Games, who watched three other Big Red girls place in the top 25 - Mary Catherine Bolton (17th, 22:14), Kayla Harmon (22nd, 22:28) and Chelsea Harper (24th, 22:36). "The girls had a great team race."
The Ripley boys also had a great team race as Caleb Casto's effort of 17 minutes and 13 seconds was good enough for third place behind winner Matthew Brafford of George Washington (16:03) and runner-up Brody Born of Preston (16:53). Vikings Chad Longanacre (6th, 17:26), Jake Casto (14th, 17:57), Ryan Gregory (17th, 18:06) and Levi Phillips (21st, 18:09) rounded out the scoring for the Jackson County squad.
"We always come here. We've never won this before," said Ripley assistant coach Jimmy Groves, whose squad was fighting some illness. "We're doing pretty good and the boys are running pretty strong. They looked pretty good and we're progressing."
Parkersburg's boys were led by Musgrave, who finished fourth and was five seconds behind Casto as the red and white couldn't pull off a three-peat team crown.
"I thought the guys did not have a great team race. We had several individuals that ran really well, but not a great team race," Games added.
The PHS boys didn't have another top 10 placer, but John Bolton (18:00) and Nic Cheuvront (18:04) finished in 15th and 16th, respectively, while Logan Wooten (18th, 18:07) and Sean Snider (20th, 18:09) comprised the Big Reds' top five. Andrew Lyons was 23rd with a time of 18:29 for the red and white.
"Overall, I'm pleased," Games said of the soggy day. "It's still very early and we still have a chance to get in a little better shape and get our packs a little closer together."
Belpre's top finisher was Cray Sistrunk (10th, 17:52) and the Golden Eagles had three other finishers crack the top 25 en route to helping the Ohio program defeat runner-up Ritchie County, 108-138. Kyle Windland (19th, 18:20), Kennley Wolfe (20th, 18:24) and Matt Davis (22nd, 18:33) followed Sistrunk for the Golden Eagles.
No other Rebel managed a top 25 finish aside from Daniel Cooper, whose clocking of 17 minutes and 53 seconds was good enough for 11th place.
Jordan Whitehair of St. Marys had to settle for sixth place after turning in a 17:26 and that ended up being four seconds faster than Wirt County's Glenn McMillan. Doddridge County's Matt Zorn was ninth (17:48) while other top 25 area placers featured Caldwell's Tanner Harding (12th, 18:04), Williamstown's Blake Williams (17th, 18:17), Doddridge County's Keith Britton (18th, 18:18), Ravenswood's Luke Sadecky (21st, 18:33) and Harding's teammate Mattie Zwick, whose 18:38 was good for 24th place.
The Scott girls were led to victory by Brittany Green, who claimed fifth by finishing one tick below 21 minutes. The Skyhawks had 61 points to finish ahead of Williamstown, which edged St. Marys, 105-114.
Caldwell's Jenna Furr posted a 20:08 to take runner-up honors in the Class AA/A division behind the speedy Drazba. The Redskins also had good showings from Katie Saling (6th, 21:11) and Hanna Muellner (18th, 22:17).
The top finisher for the Yellowjackets was Cami Mossor, whose finish of 21 minutes and 26 seconds placed her seventh. Williamstown's Shealee Mossor and Andrea Chidester both had a time of 21:59 to take 12th and 13th, respectively.
Ravenswood's Hailey Miller (4th, 20:49) had the other best overall local finish and teammate Taylor Treadway wasn't far behind as her 21:42 was good for 10th.
Others cracking the top 25 from the Mid-Ohio Valley included St. Marys' Olivia Taylor (16th, 22:17), Ritchie County's Amanda Davis (17th, 22:17), Ravenswood's Hannah Murray (20th, 22:23), Tyler Consolidated's Amber Watson (21st, 22:30), Belpre's Ashley Carter (22nd, 22:31) and Braxton County's Kirsten Gateless (23rd, 22:38).