MINERALS WELLS - Parkersburg's Kaylee Williams and Marietta's Mitchell Grose became double winners of the annual Wood/Washington Challenge, capturing the individual high school cross-country titles in the girls and boys divisions, respectively, Tuesday evening at the 4-H Campground.
In addition, it is believed Williams became the first runner to win both the Wood/Washington Challenge as well as the News and Sentinel Half Marathon women's 2-mile run back-to-back in successive years.
Meanwhile, Grose led at the mile mark of the 5K high school course and although dogged by his persistent pursuer, PHS' Nick Musgrave for most of the race, crossed the finish line still ahead of everyone in a time of 17.12.5. Fort Frye's Jordan Anderson was runner-up in 17:16.7, beating Musgrave to the wire right at the end as the Big Red runner was third in 17:17.2.
Marietta's Mitchell Grose leads Parkersburg's Nick Musgrave up the hill during the men's race of the Wood/Washington Challenge Tuesday. Grose was the individual winner of the race with a time of 17:12.5 while Parkersburg was crowned as the team champion, defeating Ripley by a 44-61 score. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
PHS also won the overall team championship as both its girls, with 28 points, and boys, with 44, came out on top in the team competition. In the girls team standings, Williamstown was second with 85 points, followed by Ravenswood with 94, and Marietta and Fort Frye each with 103 out of eight teams. After PHS for the boys came Ripley with 61, Belpre with 92, Fort Frye with 121, Marietta with 127 and Williamstown with 134 out of nine teams.
Williams found the going ''really tough'' Tuesday as the course was sloppy, wet and muddy from practically a day of rain. She found herself trailing Parkersburg South's April Kirk after the first mile.
''My time was a lot slower because the mud was awful, but I just tried to keep up with everyone,'' said Williams, who thought she took the lead somewhere between 1 1/2 to 2 miles. ''I heard people behind me, but the last 400 (yards), I think I didn't hear anybody.''
Runner-up to Williams - clocked at 20:19.4 - was Ripley's Ali Cunningham at 20:30.5 and coming in third was PHS' Nicole Dent at 20:45.7.
Big Red head coach Larry Games was ''very pleased with how we ran this evening, but we're still not running as well as we probably could be. But what we're looking for at this time of the year is improvement, and it was an improvement over last week.''
In the middle school 3K portion of Tuesday's meet, Hamilton won the boys competition with 46 points with Marietta second with 53 and Ripley third with 65 out of nine teams, while for the girls, Marietta took team honors with 69 points, followed by second-place Williamstown with 89 and Jackson third with 106.
Next Tuesday at the 4-H Campground course, the Wood County middle school championship meet will take place starting at 5 p.m.