Tyler Consolidated Cross Country Team Dominates Tough Course
SAINT MARYS – Tyler Consolidated High School’s cross country team showed it can prevail against against a challenging country course on Saturday at the 29th annual Autumn Classic at Saint Marys High School.
These athletes tested their speed, endurance, grit and determination as they made their way around the 3.1 mile course that had one big pop-up hill, several roller-coaster type hills and grassy flats that tested runners’ stamina. The final 300 meters of the race was around the high school’s track. Though there was some cloud cover, temperatures topped the 80-degree mark and there was high humidity.
“The course was very intimidating,” said Gavin Corley, a sophomore, who cracked the 5-minute mile barrier last track season.
Corley posted a 20:32 minute effort to lead the Silver Knights with a 61st place finish when he tested his long distance track skills for the first time in this new arena, a different sport.
“The course wasn’t what I expected. I definitely wasn’t run my best a first race,” he said. “I will do better next time.”
The Silver Knights’ next race will be Saturday at the Elizabeth Broughton Memorial Invitational in Marietta.
Corley’s mile training around the track kicked in during that last sprint to finish strong.
“I think I did pretty good and probably passed at seven runners,” he said. “Making the transition from track to cross country it’s different.”
Jahnvi Duncan returned for her junior year to stride for the Silver Knights to open the season with a top 20 finish. Duncan led the girls’ team with a 23:11 time 15th place overall.
“I feel that I’ve trained hard for this moment and I’m satisfied about the race, but I still have much to do to accomplish this season,” she said.
Many runners paced a fast first mile, but saved enough juice for a hilly second mile that was punctuated with a steep hill and a few short rises. For those who survived, the last mile offered a chance to make up lost ground especially with that last sprint around the track. Saint Marys’ course is a cakewalk compared to Tyler Consolidated’s hillside beatdown.
“I thought that the course was easy, but that was from the preparation from my coaches,” Duncan said.
Wheeling Park girls’ cross country team finished first and its boys’ team finished second at the event that hosted 23 high school teams, 17 middle school teams and nearly 600 runners.
The Silver Knights posted solid results from Josh Frum at 70th place/20:59 minutes; Creed Ammons at 75th place/21:28 minutes; and Trey Keys at 133rd place/24:11. Though an experienced distance runner while at Tyler Middle School, the season opener was Ammons first high school race. He noted the transition between middle school’s 1.5 mile and high school’s 3.1 mile distance.
“I felt pretty good,” Ammons said. “It was a first time race deal. Today was all about figuring out that pace.”
TCHS Coach Brenna Haggerty said of Frum, :Josh is definitely most improved over the past year. He came out with a very strong performance in his first race of the season. Josh has been practicing really hard and worked over the summer. His hard work is paying off!”
The girls’ team had Katie Pratt at 39th place/25:21 minutes; Emma Paden at 57th place/26:54 minutes; and Taylor Ebert at 110 place/39:28 minutes. Pratt, a sophomore, has a pre-season power ranking of 37th place among the state’s top runners within the A-AA rankings a figure boosted no doubt by her 33rd place/21:27 minute performance at the state cross country meet last season, according to runwv.com
Though this pre-season power ranking will most certainly change, Duncan posts a 61st place power ranking, according to runwv.com
“My goal for the season is to be the best I can be,” she said.
Haggerty added, “Jahnvi had a great day on Saturday! I was very proud of her. She has had several set backs over the past year. She works hard in practice every day and it is starting to transfer over to her meets now. She will only get better as the season progresses.”
Paden City and Magnolia high schools made their mark at the Autumn Classic.
Paden City’s Jacob Amos led the Wildcats by posting a 144th place finish/25:22 minutes followed Paxton Pierce at 180th place/34:53 minutes and Damien Britton at 182nd place/36:05 minutes.
Wildcats’ Arissa Kline led the girls’ team with a 77th place finish/29:12 minutes, followed by Shelby Gatain at 91st place/32:11 and Paige Leonard at 104 place/36:14.
A Blue Eagles trio of boys posted a solid finish led by Trenton Robinson at 84th place/21:53 minutes followed by Ethan Coulter at 116th place/23:07 and Austin Pyles at 157th place/26:58.
The Blue Eagles were led by Jordan Delaney with a seventh place finish/22:07 minutes and Bre Barbera at 21st place/23:33. Delaney, a senior, boasts a pre-season power ranking of 51st place among the state’s top runners within the A-AA rankings. For most of the race, Delaney kept within striking distance of top finishers a solid effort for a season opener.
Bridgeport took home the boys’ trophy with 56 points, followed by Wheeling Park at 64, Doddridge (123) , St. Marys (129) and Elkins (132).
The top five girls’ teams were Wheeling Park with 63 points, Doddridge County (79) Bridgeport (81), Charleston Catholic (91) and Elkins with (105).
Wheeling Park’s Beighley Ayers won the Autumn Classic with a time of 20:12 – more than 49 seconds ahead of Olivia Underwood from Elkins who captured second place with a time of 21:01.
In the boys race, Bridgeport’s Jimmy Lacaria captured first place with a time of 17:07.
Last minute notes a thumbs up to St. Marys who offered an open race to everyone who wanted to compete. St Marys’ Coach and Autumn Classic Director Steven Nutter said not only is this race is a good way to get the community more involved in the sport, but it allows meet officials, coaches and teams a little more time to transition between the high school and middle school races. Maybe offering such competitive races on 3.1 mile courses at large high school meets on a limited basis would be a good fundraiser for cross country teams.
Samantha Layton, 9, who recently won the Road Runners of America’s national championship for her age group, clocked in with a 26 minute debut and a fourth place overall finish for women for the open race at the Autumn Classic.
As to the music at the Autumn Classic, Blue Traveler’s songs among other fast moving hits were upbeat and acceptable to anyone finishing the race around the track. The Eagles’ “Hotel California” maybe not some much.