Prefontaine Wasn’t Wrong
SISTERSVILLE – Cross country running is not an easy sport.
There is no halftime or time outs. Other than shoes, there is no protective gear. Instead, there is an all-out race lasting 20-30 minutes over a punishing 3.1 mile course that may be slick from a rainy day or a path crisscrossed by tricky tree roots.
If this weren’t enough to focus the mind and strengthen the soul, then there are factors arising from muscle aches, stress fractures and plantar fasciiatis, a dull but constant pain in a runner’s heel. Many top long distance runners from Olympian Mary Decker Slaney (stress fractures) to Boston Marathon champion Alberto Salazar (stress induced asthma) have experienced their share of maladies, but have come back strong. Training long and hard over many miles of terrain comes with a cost, but excellence demands dedication, drive.
During a recent match Saturday in Ritchie County Invitational, Silver Knights’ lead runner Jahnvi Duncan experienced a bit of asthma. She’ll be fine and will continue her fast pace through the season. This was not Duncan’s first running-related injury of her career, but she’s staying in the game and that deserves some respect.
“I keep running because I feel if I stop, I’ll be lost and not be who I am today because running is a part of me. It is basically my other half that helps me cope with a lot of things,” said Duncan, a junior.
Powerful, inspiring words from a Silver Knight who has been consistently ranked among the top runners in the state by runwv.com.
As to the Invitational at North Bend Park, 18 teams fielding nearly 300 runners competed at Ritchie County High School, a perennial cross country champion caliber team that is ranked among the best in the state.
Katie Pratt, a sophomore, set the standards for the Silver Knights with a 20th place finish and a time of 22:40 minutes. Freshman Emma Paden posted a 62nd place finish (25:10); Taylor Ebert, sophomore, at 116th place (36:56).
Per the boys’ side of the ledger, the horsemen Creed Ammons, Nate Barker, Gavin Corley, Josh Frum, Trey Keys left it all on the field as they crossed the finish line.
Frum, who cracked 20 minutes for the first time this season, left no doubt as he posted a 67th place finish (19:52). Ammons, a freshman, moved the needle forward too with a 79th place finish (20:15) followed closely by Corley, a junior, at 80th place (20:16). Barker, a sophomore, had both shoes on as he crossed the finish line in 86th place (20:22). Keys showed again the key to success as this sophomore posted a 98th place finish (20:42).
Next meet, the OVAC Championship that takes place on Saturday.
In middle school action, TCMS claimed the fourth place slot at the Invitational. Spencer Corley, the other half of the Corley brothers’ dynamic duo, scored a second place finish in the 3K race (10:22). Haygen Baker posted a 12th place finish (11:42); James Streets at 18th place (11:58); Hadyn Brown at 32nd place (12:20); Kibbey Jackson at 55th place (13:15); Austin Vancamp at 58th place (13:31); Logan Smith at 99th place (15:03); Connor Bailey at 110th (15:49); David Grimes at 130th place (17:56); Garrett Ammons at 135th (21:22); Clinton Conrad at 136th place (22:47).
Per the girls’ side of the ledger, Abi Thompson at 17th place (13:26); Kelsi Vandruff at 19th place (13:31); Trinity Kanz at 21st place (13:35); Emily Ebert at 39th place (14:20); Abigail Ebert at 50th place (14:54); Jordan Ebert at 55th place (15:07); Kashia Brown at 58th place (15:10); Makayla Haught at 76th place (16:12); Sydney Smith at 91st place (17:10); MacKenzie Perine at 98th place (17:44); Emma Grimes at 112th place (21:40).