Local Sports, Sports, University

Drew Zundell, University boys win OVAC 5A Championship

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio – It was an all-Monongalia County Day Saturday as the OVAC Cal Pokas Boys Cross Country Championships were held at the chill-filled 3.1-mile course at Cambridge (Oh.) High School.

University High, with four runners leading the pack, amassed a minuscule 20 points to 70 for runner-up Morgantown atop the Class 5A field. The Hawks and Mohigans each had seven runners earn all-OVAC status by finishing in the top 30.

Senior Drew Zundell, the 2022 overall runner-up, moved up to the top spot by running a 15-minute, 49.49-second race. He was followed by teammates Tyler Umbright (15:51.20), Jacob West (15:56.62) and Ethan Conroy (16:00.87) before Wheeling Park’s Seth Franke clocked in at 16:03.97 for a fifth-place finish. St. Clairsville’s Ben Shields was right behind in 16:08.91.

“It feels pretty good to be an OVAC champion, but I’m more happy for my team than I am for myself,” he downplayed his victory. “My teammate Tyler (Umbright) had a really good run. He was right behind me the whole time and we worked together for the first mile or so.”

After placing second last year to a graduated teammate, Zundell used the runner-up spot as motivation, along with being definitive.

“Last week I was fourth on my team (in a race) which is uncharacteristic. People talk about defining moments in sports like a big win, but defining moments can also be your biggest loss. A defining moment is how you respond to that bad moment. You come back in your next race and make it your biggest. That’s what I did today.”

He ran the race with a bandage across the bridge of his nose with the word, ‘definitive’ on it.

Wheeling Park’s Redick Moore (16:21.83) and Isaak Nizami (16:43.41) finished eighth and 15th, respectively, to make the all-conference team, as did Wheeling Central’s Aidan Scott (16:25.37) who checked in ninth.

Magnolia’s Landen Davis (19th); St. Clairsville’s Caleb Bryniarski (23rd); Barnesville’s Conner Starr (28th) and Brooke’s Gavin Scott (29th) rounded out the local all-OVAC honorees.

In the team races, St. Clairsville (Class 4A); Shenandoah (Class 3A) and Trinity Christian (Class 1A-2A) were crowned champions.

By KIM NORTH/The Intelligencer