The 29th annual Autumn Classic cross country meet was held in Belmont on Aug. 23 with more than 15 high school boys and girls teams and at least 10 middle school boys and girls teams participating. The meet, traditionally the first meet for local teams, was well attended and ran smoothly from beginning to end with local athletes making more of an impact than expected.
The meet began with the high school girls' competition with 118 participants in the race. Tyler Consolidated freshman Amanda Reynolds easily glided to an overall first place finish with a time of 21:45. Junior Amber Watson finished the race in seventh place in 23:45; and freshman Megan Sole completed the course in 31:45 in 95th place overall.
"Eclipsing her starting time from last year by almost 30 seconds is great for Amber," said head coach of the Knight cross country teams Luke Reynolds. "She had an awesome season with a trip to the state meet, so I have no reason to think that she is not on track to improve on those results."
With several members of the team unable to participate in this first meet, the Lady Knights did not earn team points on the day.
Running with a complete team, however, the Paden City Lady Wildcat's made good use of their time, setting several personal bests and placing 11th overall in the team standings on the day. Three seniors, one junior, and one sophomore make up the team with all of them completing the course in under 37 minutes.
Senior Kayla Hizer was the first Paden City finisher in the race, placing ninth overall in 24:01. Tori Hizer finished in 48th place with a time of 26:52; Mallory Estel placed 68th overall in 29:03; Shelby Gatian finished in 98th place in 31:53; and Chelsea Dennis finished 112th in 36:17.
Bridgeport High School was the overall winner in the team competition with 79 points, followed by Shadyside with 87; Oak Glen, 91; Doddridge, 131; Elkins, 155; St. Marys, 188; Liberty, 191; Ripley, 202; Wirt County, 257; St. Albans, 261; Paden City, 264; John Marshall, 287; Weir, 288; Wheeling Central, 294 and Riverside, 300.
In the high school boys division at the meet, 17 complete teams participated along with several individual athletes from schools unable to fill a complete roster.
The Indians of Bridgeport High School took the overall team win with 61 points, followed by Elkins with 82 points; Ripley, 97; Fairmont Senior, 170; St. Albans, 175; Doddridge, 191; Riverside, 226; Brooke, 253; Liberty, 263; John Marshall, 287; Robert C. Byrd, 288; Wheeling Central, 302; Cameron, 307; Paden City, 308; Calhoun, 322; Oak Glen, 330; and Notre Dame, 330.
Paden City's team, led by senior Dean Frye, performed well even though this was the first official meet for a couple of them. Frye finished first for the Wildcats and 35th overall in the competition with a time of 20:38. Cade Crislip returns to the team for his sophomore season with an overall time of 21:55 in 70th place. Junior Tyler Kiger also returns to the team from last year, turning in a time of 22:12 for the race in 76th position overall. Sophomore Hayden Hizer finished his first cross country meet in 70th place with a time of 23:28; Junior Travis Leonard finished the race in 126th place of 152 entrants with a time of 25:46. Sophomore Wesley Smith placed 129th in 25:58; and freshman Marcus Allen completed the course in 28:59 in 147th place.
Unable to earn team points without a complete roster, Tyler Consolidated had three individuals competing at the meet. Freshman Luke Daugherty finished with a time of 21:04 on the day in 47th overall position. Sophomore Kamron Milhoan placed 97th overall in 25:35; and freshman Josh Frum finished his first high school competition in 25:35 in 125th place overall.
"Luke finished his race moving up through the crowd, which shows his strength," coach Reynolds said. "We will work a little on getting a faster start, then we'll see better results from this young athlete."
The middle school part of the meet took place following the high school competitions, with 94 young ladies competing in the girls' division and 81 in the boys division.
Ripley Middle School placed first overall as a team in the girls' competition with 43 points. Linsly placed second with 58 points, followed by Doddridge with 80 points; Ohio County, 106; Shadyside, 141, Tyler, 161; Pleasants, 177; Washington Irving, 205; and Taylor County, 209.
Eighth grader Katie Pratt led the way for the young Lady Knights, placing first for the team and 10th overall in the 3K event with a time of 15:23. Seventh graders Hannah Jackson finished 25th in 16:43; Abigail Thompson, 37th, 17:30; Abigail Ebert, 50th, 18:31; Emma Paden, 62nd, 19:27; and Jordyn Henthorn, 91st in 25:01.
Paige Leonard, eighth grade, was the only entrant for Paden City Junior High. Leonard finished the event in 24:48 in 90th position.
In the middle school boys division, Tyler Consolidated's team did very well, placing third overall. Ripley Middle School took the first place team award with 21 points, followed by Doddridge, with 56; Tyler Consolidated, 108; Washington Irving, 117; Clay-Battelle, 128; Warwood, 145; Taylor County, 147; and Triadelphia, 176.
Seventh grader Creed Ammons was the first finisher for the Knights with a time of 14:27 in 10th position overall. Sixth grader Spencer Corley placed 12th at the meet in 14:31; Destry Nelson, 15th, 14:38; Jackson Kibbey, 47th, 17:08; Hadyn Brown, 60th, 17:52; and Logan Jackson, 79th, in 25:47.
Nathan Barker, eighth grader, led Paden City's two-man team on the day at the meet. Barker placed 20th overall in 15:05; and seventh grader Jacob Amos placed 46th in 17:02.
The Silver Knights will host their own meet, "Stormin' the Castle" at the high school on Sept. 2 with the Paden City teams in attendance. On Sept. 6 both teams will take part in the Chick-Fil-A Invitationa at Mineral Wells.