Shoeless Runner Posts Personal Record at Meet
WHEELING – Silver Knights’ Nathan Barker was missing a shoe Saturday when he crossed the finish line at John Marshall Invitational in Moundsville.
Nothing could stop this sophomore who finished in 28th place with a time of 20:04 minutes – a personal record on the challenging 3.1 mile course at Grand Vue Park.
“When the race started, I got clipped from behind and that loosened my shoe, which came off 1/4 mile into the race,” Barker said. “I realized I was going to have to take shorter strides to avoid as much of the hard (dirt) parts of the course as possible. It was a challenge, but my goal was to stay in sight of everyone on my team and I wasn’t going to stop because of the shoe. My foot hurts now that the race is over, but the pride of me completing my goal makes up for that.”
No one can deny that this feat of speed, strength and stamina is hardcore – another reason why the Silver Knights are growing into a formidable cross country team. TCHS placed fourth at the meet and were beaten only by Parkersburg South, Linsly and Cameron high schools.
“I’m so glad our team pushed so hard and improved so much placing 4th overall as a team. We’re making huge strides towards the next season,” said Josh Frum, a junior, who had a 29th place finish.
Gavin Corley, a junior, led the pack with a 25th place finish and cracked the 20 minute barrier for the first time this season with a time of 19:33 minutes another personal best. Frum, a junior, moved the needle forward again with a great time 20:07 minutes.
“Gavin was the first runner on the season to break the 20 minute mark for us, which is a milestone we all have to work for in these next few meets,” Frum said. “I also have to comment on Barker’s improvement again. He pushed me to get a personal best and even beat me this meet.”
Freshman Creed Ammons was not far behind with a 30th place finish (20:46) while sophomore Trey Keys crossed the finish line in 35th place (20:56).
The Silver Knights’ are not only improving individually, but finishing close to one another a good sign of things to come. While it is nice to have a fast runner, it is better to have five solid athletes who can notch the top spots needed to win a meet.
Not to be outdone, the girls’ race showed two teammates finishing right behind each other within the top 10. Katie Pratt, a sophomore, finished in eighth place and ran her best time (22:47) of the season so far. Jahnvi Duncan, a junior, finished in ninth place with a time of (22:51). Emma Paden, a freshman, crossed the finish line in 25th place (25:16) followed by Taylor Ebert, a sophomore, in 55th place (35:50).
Other area runners of note Paden City’s Arissa Kline (41st/28:08) and Shelby Gatian (50th/32:26); Wildcats’ boys Cade Crislip (64th/23:12) Damien Britton (85th place/26:38) Jacob Amos 99th place/30:35) and Cyrus Stillwagoner (102nd place/32:04).
In middle school cross country action, TCMS won the meet that fielded 95 runners from at least nine teams. Spencer Corley won the race 56 seconds ahead of any other challenger. He was running so fast (10:09) that he could almost touch the all-terrain vehicle leading the athletes around the 3k course. Rounding out the Silver Knights’ top five pacers are James Streets (6th place/11:12); Haygen Baker (8th place/11:27); Haydn Brown (13th place/11:49); and Kibbey Jackson (23rd place/12:21).
TCMS girl’s team placed second in a meet that fielded 84 runners and eight teams.
Girls’ top five racers were Abi Thompson (6th/12:50); Kelsi Vandruff (9th/12:52); Trinity Kanz (13th/13:09); Emily Ebert (17th/13:13); and Abigail Ebert (27th/13:31).
Barker gets the last word because his feat is the stuff legends are made of.
John Marshall is a course that when you first walk the trail, it looks like it won’t be fun, but it’s exactly the opposite when you’re running,” he said. “Overall the meet went extremely well for our team with all five being placed together within ten positions of each other and with all the times improving. From the start of the race our goal as a team is to not loose sight of each other throughout the race regardless of the course and the pain it brings. Creed ,Josh,Trey ,Gavin and myself are striving towards making state as a ‘team.'”
This week, the Silver Knights will be racing at Ritchie County, who by chance will host the LKC Championship Meet. This coming meet on Saturday will be a preliminary trial for the LKC Championship.