Athletes step up at Regional meet
It was a competitive day, yet a sad one for cross country teams in West Virginia on Oct. 23 as teams all over the state participated in the last “real” meet before the state championships that will take place on Nov. 1. Regional meets were held with teams and individuals competing for the chance to qualify for the state meet.
At Doddridge County, the Region I class A-AA meet was held with local athletes from Tyler Consolidated and Paden City High School cross country teams turning in good efforts on the day, but only three with times low enough to take on one more race this season.
Tyler Consolidated freshman Amanda Reynolds; Paden City senior Kayla Hizer; and Lady Knight Amber Watson each placed in the top 20 individuals in the girls’ division and all three qualified to compete for a shot at the state title.
At the Regional meet, four girls teams and 19 individuals advanced to state competition at Cabell Midland High School on Nov. 1. Teams representing Region I will be Williamstown, East Fairmont, Doddridge, and Oak Glen. The Tyler Consolidated ladies placed in eighth place overall.
The overall winner in the girls’ division was Williamstown freshman, Kasey McNamara finishing the 5K in 21:16.54. Reynolds was the first local finisher to complete the race, placing sixth overall with a time of 22:11.94. Hizer was the first finisher for the Lady Wildcats, and second locally, finishing 14th overall in 22:58.69; and Watson qualified for the state meet finishing third locally and 19th overall with a time of 23:25.40. Watson also qualified for the state meet last year as a sophomore.
“Amber and Amanda are two very talented runners amongst the group of girls that will be down in Ona this Saturday,” said Tyler Consolidated head coach, Luke Reynolds. “Amber has had a pretty busy schedule this year, but has still been able to finish well and qualify for states. This shows her versatility and natural ability. We come out of pretty much the most competitive region in the state, so I can anticipate her doing well, just like last year.
“Amanda has had a very good season for a freshman. Not only is she running fast, but she is enjoying herself in the process. There are only a few girls that will be there that she hasn’t beaten in one race or another, so if she shows up healthy and rested I believe she can place very well.”
“Kayla wanted state from the beginning,” said Paden City head cross country coach, Kim Huffman. “Her senior year is looking quite promising for athletics. She knew from day one when the season began this summer she wanted to go to state in cross country. She worked hard, not only in practice, but in her free time also, and all her hard worked paid off in the end.”
Also competing at the Regional meet, but not qualifying for state were Lady Knights: freshman Jahnvi Duncan, 38th, 24:38.05; senior Marisa Gogan, 65th, 26.45.34; freshman Kaylee Hulin, 77th, 28:33.41; freshman Megan Sole, 80th, 29:02.06; junior Damara Winfrey, 89th, 33:49.29; and Lady Wildcats: senior Tori Anderson, 69th, 27:30.77; sophomore Shelby Gatian, 85th, 30:41.55; sophomore Chelsea Dennis, 88th, 33:11.29.
“Our girls team did very well, considering the sicknesses and injuries that we were running through on Thursday,” coach Reynolds said. “Everything would have had to fall together for us to compete for a team spot, and it just didn’t go as hoped. But, we were able to qualify two girls individually, so we are now focused on getting those two ready for the state meet.”
Though no local boys were able to qualify for the state meet, both Paden City and Tyler Consolidated athletes turned in good performances on the day as well as throughout the season.
Locally, the first athlete to cross the finish line at the meet was Paden City senior, Dean Frye, placing 51st overall in 20:30.94. Also completing the course for the Wildcats were: sophomore Cade Crislip, 70th, 21:37.75; junior Tyler Kiger, 72nd, 21:47.03; junior Krisopher Byers, 81st, 23:00.33; junior Travis Leonard, 93rd, 24:36.56; and sophomore Wesley Smith, 94th, 24:42.75.
Tyler Consolidated finishers were: freshman Luke Daugherty, 66th, 21:21.32. Also competing for the Silver Knights at the meet were: sophomore Kamron Milhoan, 75th, 22:06.89; freshman Eli Henthorn, 77th, 22:18.35; and freshman Josh Frum, 86th, in 23:46.94.
“We had a great season!” said Huffman of the Wildcat cross country athletes. “This year’s seniors were the first to graduate since we started cross country three years ago. I am so proud of my team and especially my seniors this year. They have transformed into great leaders and their dedication this year has only helped them to achieve great results as the season progressed.”
“It has been a pleasure working with this years cross country athletes, and the seniors will be truly missed by the whole team.”
“Our teams have really pulled through this year,” said Reynolds of the Silver Knight athletes. “This has been the first year that I have been able to field a boys team, although we weren’t able to all be at the regional race. They are very young, with only one sophomore and the rest freshman, so I can expect to see much improvement in the years to come.”
So, the season is over, yet it is not completely over until the state meet is ran. The state meet will be held on the course at Cabell Midland High School in Ona, WV.
Hizer makes history with top 20 finish for Paden City cross country
Qualifying in the top 20 of the athletes competing at Saturday’s Region I cross country Regional earned Paden City senior Kayla Hizer not only a trip to the state cross country meet, but the distinction of being the first cross country athlete wearing a Paden City uniform to ever do so.
Records show that though Paden City did have a short lived cross country team in years past, no athletes from the city has competed in a state cross country meet . . . until now.
Hizer finished the 5K cross country course at Doddridge on Saturday with a time of 22:58.69 in 14th position. In the girls competition, the top four teams and top 19 individuals earned the right to compete at the state meet.
The West Virginia State High School Cross Country meet will be held at Cabell Midland High School in Ona, W.Va., on Nov. 1.
“Kayla wanted state from the beginning,” said head coach of the Paden City cross country team, Kim Huffman.
She said the busy Wildcat senior has worked very hard not only in practice with the rest of the team, but on her own to better her personal best as well.
Now that Hizer has her name in the history books, perhaps she will continue to add to her legacy with a top 20 or 10 finish at state.