For the majority of the athletes competing on cross country teams in the state, the season came to an end last week at the Regional competitions. Of the two local high school teams, only one individual qualified high enough to go on to the state competition.
Tyler Consolidated sophomore Amber Watson placed fourth at the Region I Regional meet on Oct. 24 at Mineral Wells, solidifying her spot at states. Watson finished the 5K course with a time of 20:48.
"Regionals went very well for us, considering we had whittled our team down to five girls and two boys," said Luke Reynolds, Consolidated head CC coach. "Amber ran her best race of the year on Thursday. Finishing fourth in our region is no small feat and put her disappointment of being 27 seconds away from qualifying last year to rest."
Paden City High School did what few other small schools were able to do at the Cross Country Regional on Oct. 24 -- they were able to enter complete girls and boys teams into competition.
"I really think that Amber will do well at the state meet. She has really put the work in this year and it has definitely paid off. She runs well in cooler temps, and the course will not be any problem, so with the performance she had on Thursday, I'm very confident that she will place well on Saturday."
Also competing for Tyler Consolidated at the Regional were McKenzie Bradfield who crossed the finish line second for the Lady Knights and in 27th position overall in 22:54; Aleah Black who placed 36th in 23:29; Kelly Rice, 54th, 24:25; and Hannah Phillips who finished with a time of 26:28 in 78th place.
"The rest of the girls had great results also," Reynolds said. "Our team finished in eighth, just one point from seventh.
Paden City High School also entered a complete team in the girls division with junior Kayla Hizer placing first for the team and 32nd overall in 23:11. Teammate Mallory Estel finished the race in 26:12 in 76th position followed by: Shelby Gatain, 80th, 26:34; Chelsea Dennis, 87th, 29:15; Morgan Goddard, 89th, 30:41; and Miranda Reynolds, 90th in 31:50.
The top four teams placing at the Regional will represent Region I at state. Williamstown placed first overall with 54 points, followed by: Oak Glen with 80; East Fairmont, 115; Braxton, 127; Doddridge, 132; Ritchie County, 132; St Marys, 181; Tyler Consolidated, 182; North Marion, 186; Fairmont Senior, 227; Magnolia, 254; Weir, 315; and Paden City scoring 329.
In the boys division, Paden City entered a complete team with Dean Frye finishing first for the 'Cats in 19:18 in 44th place overall. Cade Crislip placed 49th with a time of 19:43; Jacob Pierce, 59th, 20:29; Travis Leonard, 63rd, 20:37; Tyler Kiger, 66th, 20:43; and Aaron Heasley completed the 5K in 25:33 in 84th place.
Tyler Consolidated did not have enough athletes to earn team points but two individuals competed with senior Ryan Dalrymple just missing qualifying for state by finishing 14th overall in 18:01. Freshman Kamron Milhoan finished in 23:25 to place 82nd overall.
"Ryan Dalrymple started out pretty good and just kept getting better, working his way up to a 14th place finish," the coach said. "While Kamron Milhoan didn't have his best time of the year, he ran well and capped off a very good season."
Fairmont Senior took the top team spot in the boys division with 61 points followed by: Ritchie, 69; Webster, 90; Williamstown, 104; Oak Glen, 113; East Fairmont, 175; St. Marys, 196; North Marion, 198; Wheeling Central, 200; Doddridge, 204; Paden City, 245; and Weir with 314.
"I am very pleased to have had over 20 members on this year's cross country teams compared to the eight we had last year," said Paden City Cross Country Head Coach Kim Huffman. "I hope that this sport continues to grow each year."
"Our season was a successful one; not in the fact that we medaled each time, but the fact that at each meet the majority of athletes gained new personal records as the season progressed. Those who might have been discouraged in the beginning gained personal satisfaction as times grew better each week."
"I am pleased with all the accomplishments of my team and enjoyed coaching this great group of kids."
The West Virginia State Cross Country meet will be held on Nov. 2 at Cabel Midland High School in Ona, W.Va.