Joe Smith, Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown girls’ 4×800 relay team wins state title

CHARLESTON — For a good portion of the state Class AAA girls’ 4×800 meter relay, it looked as if University High had it in the bag. The Hawks extended the gap on Morgantown with the race nearing its last leg.

However, the Mohigans were right where they wanted to be.

Morgantown kicked in an extra gear during the final stage, chasing down the Hawks and storming ahead on the last lap. The Mohigans finished with a time of 9:33.71, claiming their second straight crowd at the West Virginia track and field championships.

“I feel ecstatic,” Morgantown distance coach Mike Ryan said. “That was a great race by our girls. All of them ran PRs or were right at their PR. I knew they had it in them. I told them just to go do their thing, and not overthink it.”

The MHS team of Tazanna Epps, Amelia Haddox, Athena Young and Lea Hatcher finished nearly 5 seconds ahead of Cabell Midland (9:38.52), which overtook University (9:41.27) for second-place. Preston finished fourth at 9:44.96.

The come-from-behind kick was nothing unusual for the Mohigans. They captured the OVAC championship in similar fashion earlier this season. It appears Morgantown’s girls would rather engage in a chase.

“It’s a challenge,” Ryan said. You get to look up and see someone in front of you. We’re tough, and we’re going to race. When they see a girl in front of them, they know to go after them.”

Mohigans third in two events

In the shuttle hurdle relay, Morgantown (1:07.50) finished third behind champion Wheeling Park (1:04.50) and Hampshire (1:06.97).

In the 100 meter hurdles, Morgantown’s Angela Ejimofor (15.78) took third behind Woodrow Wilson’s Mikah Alleyne (15.21) and Wheeling Park’s  Aubrey Wiethe (15.42).

Runners-up Cee-Bees break school record

It was a bittersweet day for the Clay-Battelle girls’ shuttle hurdle relay squad.

The Cee-Bees entered with hopes of defending last year’s title but settled for second place.

Clay-Battelle’s relay team broke its previous school record by two seconds, clocking in at a 1:06.

“We crushed our school record, but we got beat by a better team. That’s track. The goal is to get better and we did, and I’m very proud of these girls,” C-B coach Ted Cline said.

While there was a feeling of slight disappointment among the girls in the Clay-Battelle camp after the race, Cline believes that the positives far outweigh the negatives for the squad.

“They should be proud of their times, and they represented their school and community and family with dignity and pride. I can’t ask anything more from them,” he said.