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UHS girls, MHS boys claim cross-country state titles

Created on:   Sat, Oct 28, 2017   11:24 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Oct 28, 2017   11:24 PM

The Dominion Post

ONA — Two state championships returned to Morgantown on Oct. 28.

The University High girls and Morgantown High boys successfully defended their Class AAA cross-country championships, at Cabell Midland High School.

Morgantown finished second as a team on the girls’ side, while University and Preston High finished fifth and seventh, respectively, on the boys’ side.

“The success we have is based on the effort these young boys and girls put in, the support we have from the school and the support we have from the parents,” Morgantown head coach Mike Ryan said.

“They are a phenomenal group of young men and women, and it’s been a joy to work with them.”

Ryan said things went “a little bit better” than even he expected.

UHS coach Ed Frohnapfel said he hoped for the results his team earned but wasn’t sure heading into the meet.

“I was sweating bullets since the regional meet last week,” he said. “We’ve had some sicknesses and injuries, and the wheels could have fell off the wagon real quick, but they didn’t.”

Frohnapfel said that he was thrilled with his team’s performance overall.

The story going into the day was perhaps UHS senior TaShala Turner, who had her sights aimed on a top finish last season but dropped out mid-race. She returned to Ona with redemption on her mind and earned a runner-up finish. She finished in 17:54, 20 seconds behind winner Victoria Starcher, of Ripley.

“I’m just really proud of my team and proud of myself,” Turner said. “You never really want second place, but I’m just proud of myself after last year.”

Turner said Starcher was a “tough runner,” and she gave it her all battling her on the course.

Zoe Shetty (6th), Peyton Kukura (8th), Caroline Kirby (10th) and Emma Williams (16th) rounded out the University top five.

Morgantown’s Samantha Hatcher took fourth, at 18:29, for the team’s top finish. Joining her were Athena Young (11th), Myah McAlister (13th), Avigail Radabaugh (14th) and Amelia Haddox (15th) to round out the top five for the Mohigans.

University senior Philip White couldn’t repeat his state title individually but finished with a 15:54 to grab the runner-up spot. Joining him were Michael Gharib (14th), Alex Dean (34th), Jordan Thomas (47th) and Nicholas Summerlin (52nd) to round out the Hawks’ top five.

Three top-10 finishers paced MHS, with Andrew Christy crossing the line seventh, in 16:22, followed by Gideon Temple (9th) and Andrew Jones (10th). Kevin Donnelly (11th) and Mikael Virji (12th) rounded out the Mohigans’ top five.

Preston made its return to the championship as a team for the first time since 2013. Ward Ries earned fifth place, with a 16:15, followed by Cole Friend in eighth. Evan Thomas (41st), Trey Smith-Tatham (56th) and Daniel Barker (59th) completed the Knights’ top five.

“It’s been my goal since the beginning of the year to finish top five,” Ries said. “To achieve this goal feels monumental. It’s a huge step in my running career, and I hope it carries on to college.”