Athletes Compete in Cross Country Championship
A senior won the boys’ race and a freshman captured the top spot in the girls’ race when 17 schools competed Oct. 22 in the West Virginia Class A-AA Region One Cross Country Championship.
A total of 101 boys and 92 girls raced in the meet played host to by Cameron High School. The top four boys and girls teams along with several individual runners qualified for the state championship Oct. 31 at Cabell Midland High School.
Two girls from Magnolia High School freshman Bre Barbera and senior Arial Hostuttler qualified for the state meet as did Katie Pratt, a freshman from Tyler Consolidated High School.
“We’re pumped about going to the state championship,” said Mike Harwick, Magnolia cross country coach. “This is a way to generate interest in cross country and we hope to have a good time at the meet.”
Coach Brenna Hagerty from Tyler Consolidated added, “I am very excited to get to see Katie race this weekend. It is impressive to make it to the state cross country meet as a freshman, especially with such a tough region. She is a competitor and I think she will run a very good race this weekend.”
There were 36 boys and 37 girls qualified for the state championship.
“We had two good races with many kids who qualified for state,” said Cameron coach Dave Evans, who was the race director. “Region One is one of the toughest regions in the state to compete. The kids and teams in this region would qualify in some other regions in the state without any problem.”
Hunter Deem, a Ritchie County senior, clinched the boys’ event with a time 17:23 seconds in the 3.1-mile race. This will be the third time Deem has qualified to compete at the state championship.
“It was a hard race – lots of hills and mud,” Deem said. “I’m very happy about qualifying for the state championship. This was a good time for this course.”
Runners had to cross a shallow stream four times, climb steep hills and contend with slippery mud as they barreled down trails that were straight one moment and curved the next. Temperatures were in the 60s and there was a wind blowing from the west.
“It was a hard course, but I liked the hills and the mud was fun,” said Jahnvi Duncan, a sophomore from Tyler Consolidated, who finished in 26th place with a time of 24:29.
Despite the course’s formidable obstacles, Deem was able to open up an 8-second lead on Hunter Riffle who finished second with a time of 17:31. Riffle said that as a member of the school’s football team, he doesn’t put in the miles that cross country demands, but his drive to win is what pushes him through the race.
“I want to win,” said Riffle, a junior at Doddridge County. “That’s how I do it. I’m determined to win.”
Desirae Schoonover, a Doddridge County freshman, captured the top spot in the girls’ race with a time of 21:25. Olga Hawranick, a sophomore form East Fairmont, was second with a time of 22:03.
“I’m pretty pumped to win as a freshman,” said Schoonover, who runs between 30-40 miles per week. “Olga pushed me hard the whole race. I’m so proud of the team. I don’t think I would have made it this far without the support of my team and family.”
Wheeling Central Catholic finished fourth on the girls side to qualify for the state meet.
“I was very impressed with their races. They’ve worked hard all season and I couldn’t be happier with the results,” Wheeling Central coach Kelley Mortakis said, moments after she learned the meet’s results.
Conner Calmbacher, who finished in 20th place, was the first Maroon Knight across the finish line at 19:06.
“It was a hard race – a very competitive region but I felt prepared to race and lead our team,” said Calmbacher, a junior and the only member of the Central boys’ team to qualify for the state championship.
Finishing in sixth place, Kenadee Wayt was the top female finisher for the Maroon Knights with a time of 22:48.
“I wish I could have placed higher, but I did the best I could,” said Wayt, a freshman.
Boys from the area who qualified for the state meet are Cole Clutter, a senior from Cameron, 10th place (18:48); Tanner Gorby, a senior from Oak Glen, 18th place (18:56); and Calmbacher.
Wheeling Central girls who qualified for state are Ireland Wayt, freshman, who finished in 18th place (23:58); Billie Nicole, freshman, 20th place (24:01); Caroline Lestitian, sophomore, 31st place (24:44); Sami LaBelle, senior, 45th place (26:42); Julie Schuetz, sophomore, 80th place (32:56); Madison Taylor, senior, 83rd place (34:59); and KenadeeWayt.
Qualifiers from other areas schools include Abby Cowher, a junior from Weir, 11th place (23:16); Bre Barbera, a freshman from Magnolia, 12th place (23:18); Katie Pratt, a freshman from Tyler Consolidated, 14th place (23:21); and Ariel Hostuttler, a senior form Magnolia, 17th place (23:54).