Silver Knights’ Cross Country Runners Compete at Regionals
FLEMINGTON – Another season of high school cross country has ended for the Silver Knights, but not before another steller performance by both the boys and girls.
With nearly 18 Class A-AA teams competing and 118 runners, the Silver Knights boys’ team finished with a respectable team time of 1:39:22.00 to grab the 12th place spot. That’s an average finish of 19:52 minutes per runner for the five-man team.
Silver Knights’ runners laced up their shoes so as to be ready to face some of the best cross country athletes anywhere, anytime from across the state. Temperatures topped 80 degrees on Thursday, though there was a light breeze and cloud cover moving in from a storm that played havoc in places like New Martinville and Paden City. The 5K grass path course had one big but gradual rise, however, the downhill was brutal on the quad muscles.
“Coming up the hill was just a test on who wanted it more,” said Jahnvi Duncan, who led the girls’ team.
Most of the course was a series of circles and loops around a large field. Coach Brenna Haggerty said the Silver Knights trained on the course a few days before the big meet.
All season long, the Knights have given their best effort in some of the toughest meets and during some of the hottest days of the year. Thursday was no exception as Gavin Corley led the charge for the Knights as he rounded the turn to the finish line in a dead heat battle against runners from Fairmont Senior, North Marion, Frankfort and St. Marys. This talented junior – his first season running cross country – held his own with a time of 19:27 to finish first among his teammates and 49th overall.
Just a few seconds away, Josh Frum poured on the steam with a strong kick to pass runners from North Marion and Keyser – never looking back as he crossed the finish line. A junior, Frum has been steadily improving all season, so he was able to notch a 54th place finish (19:40). After a long grueling race, many runners have to dig deep to find the strength of will to pour out everything they have to sprint to the finish.
“Physically, the kick uses a different muscle set than the rest of the race,” Frum said. “But that internal desire to be the best and do anything you can to win is part of any athletes’ mindset. You have to push at the end, that willpower and the competition is why you race in the first place.”
Sophomore Nathan Barker was the next finisher for the Knights as he virtually tied a Fairmont Senior runner for a 62nd place finish (19:54). Barker raced to the finish line in a dead heat with 10 runners who were separated by a mere three seconds. Just one second separated fellow teammate freshman Creed Ammons, who picked up the 63rd spot (19:55). Sophomore Trey Keys also gave a good effort to finish 73rd (20:26).
Although the Knights didn’t earn a spot to the state meet, they showed the future is bright for the Tyler Consolidated cross country team. With two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman all back next season, look for some big things out from this dedicated team. This is a hard working group that is determined to improve and get the Knights’ respectability among the state’s runners.
“We have a lot of young guys on the team, with Nathan and I being the only ones on the team with regional’s experience in cross country, but everybody on the team had an excellent run and there’s good hope for the future of our team,” Frum said. “We had a very hard time in the stacked Region 1, but did our best.”
The girls’ team did not dissapoint.
Duncan, a junior, had a top 20 finish against 86 of the most talented field in years but was narrowly edged out of qualifying for the state meet.
“Jahnvi raced really well – couldn’t ask for more than that,” Haggerty said.
Duncan finished in 19th place (21:52). Applying basic math and adding a slight 30 second handicap due to the hill that affected everyone’s times, Duncan was probably running a pace of about 6:40ish per mile.
“When I look at my season, I’m very happy with the result because I look at my freshman year and sophomore year of running and realize that I’ve come so far and it was the help of my coaches and family to help me realize that, yes, I’m disappointed of not going to the state meet but the worse thing wouldn’t be able to go the worse thing is not being able to run at all,” she said.
Sophomore Katie Pratt crossed the finish line at 40th place position (23:21) in the race between 17 different Class A-AA teams. Freshman Emma Paden captured 60th place (25:20) while sophomore Taylor Ebert crossed the tape with a time of about 40 minutes.
The Silver Knights girls look to have what it takes to be among the leaders and with hard off season work the sky is the limit. Congratulations to the Silver Knights Cross Country team on a great season.
Paden City’s Cade Crislip, a senior, was the first Wildcat to cross the finish line with a respectable time of 22:34 to grab the 92nd spot. Wildcats’ freshman Damien Britton finished with a 24:55 and claimed the 106 position. Rounding out the position’s for Coach Kim Huffman’s team was Jacob Amos with a 29:21, freshman Paxton Pierce at 30:50 and Wildcat junior Cyrus Stillwagner with a 30:51.
Wildcat Girls Shelby Gatian a junior finished the challenging course with a 35:46 time and freshman Paige Leonard came in at 39:30.
Coach Haggerty, an ex-Silver Knight track and cross country star, has the team going in the right direction. Paden City Coach Kim Huffman continues to see improvement in her squad and is hoping to see more participation in the sport in the future.
If you’ve never done it before, give it a try sometime. You’ll soon find out it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough job running in all kinds of weather, hot and cold annd rain or sunshine.
Through the creeks and mudholes and up and down the hills. It takes a special kind of athlete to do this day in and day out.