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University boys and Morgantown girls continue their dominance at the state cross country meet

ONA – University’s boys and Morgantown’s girls still rule the Class AAA roost in high school cross country in West Virginia.

University won the boys team title for the fifth straight year on Saturday on the 3.1-mile course at Cabell Midland High School. The Hawks had five of the top 12 finishers and prevailed with 35 points. Jefferson took second with 95 and Morgantown third with 98.

In girls, Morgantown topped the field again and had the individual winner as well in Madeline Gump. University came in second.

In Class AAA boys, Hurricane’s Ty Steorts and Aaron Kidd finished first and second. Steorts won in 15:15 to become the school’s first repeat winner.

“Got pushed at the start. Take it from the gun and go for it,” Steorts said. “Get out hard and stay in front. It’s amazing to do it again. They’re coming after you. It’s like a bullseye is on your back. I like it. At the mile mark, wanted a sub-five. After 2 miles, I knew I could handle it. I still had the mental strength.”

Kidd, a senior, said it’s been fun with Steorts and their teammates.

“We train hard,” Kidd said. “It’s bittersweet. I cherish the past four years. I’ve been very blessed. It’s been nothing but a blessing to watch Ty. He’s passed me.”

When Steorts came on the track, he heard the crowd root him home over the final romp. The goal now is to close the gap on University.

“It’s nice to hear the crowd cheer you on,” he said. “The team’s young. We train hard. We’ll work on the depth. To be a three-time winner would be awesome. I’ll work on it. We all will.”

Jefferson’s top two were Jeff Conner in ninth and Owen Thompson in 10th. Jack Overfield was Morgantown’s top finisher at 13th.

University coach Ed Frohnapfel said his team performed up to standards again. The Hawks don’t compete much against West Virginia teams during the regular season.

“The boys ran up to expectations,” he said. “We’ve got a strong seven. Out of those seven, we have two seniors. Got people waiting in the wings. We hope to keep it rolling. We’ve got a group of guys that run year-round. When cross country starts, you don’t think of getting in shape. You need to be in shape then. We got everything done. Guys were serious.

“We don’t race these people too often. You want to do your best against them. We were in Pennsylvania three times. One big meet was at Carlisle and we won for the second year in a row. Normally West Virginia teams don’t compete up there. We’ve got depth and the kids are fast.”

The Morgnatown girls cross country team stands on the podium after winning the Class AAA team title Saturday in Ona. (Photo Provided)


Gump got tabbed as a favorite coming in and she handled it. Morgantown placed five in the top 11.

“I went out very relaxed. I survived the hill,” Gump said. “Had my arms swinging down the hill, didn’t want to fall. I had to relax after that. The four teams before set a standard and we want to keep it going. That tradition. I’m so glad to be part of it. We have three freshmen on the team. They handled it well.”

Gump has some national races on the schedule now and is choosing a college.

“Taking my time to decide,” she said.

Class AA


Winfield’s Ava Ethridge repeated as the winner. The sophomore was in control from start to finish.

“Feels good, really happy,” she said after the win.

Ethridge made her major move at the 2-mile mark.

“Had a plan. Got through the first mile. Got to the second and took off. There are benefits (defending champ). Makes you confident, but you know runners are coming after you.”

Over the years, Winfield has been known to be a state contender. Ethridge credits coach David Bailey.

“We have good middle school and high school programs,” she said. “Coach Bailey knows what to do and you do it.”

In the team, things didn’t go Winfield’s way. Braxton County won with 64 points, Frankfort took second with 84 and Winfield third with 92.

Braxton County’s top two finishers were Laura Cain in fourth and Addison Lloyd in ninth.


Winfield’s Brayden Marshall won to make it three straight titles. He clocked at 15:29. The Generals won the team title with 22 points. Frankfort was second with 73 and Elkins third with 109.

“No. 1 is to win as a team,” said Marshall, who is headed to North Carolina State. “Guys you train with. I set an ambitious goal. The two-mile mark you hear times and I decided to push the pace, do to the best of my ability.”

Marshall said it’s been special to win three times.

“If you ask me that three years ago, it’s I don’t know,” Marshall said. “I do more training, I’m more fit. My mindset changed the most. Have confidence in the work I’ve done. Know you’ve done everything you can.”

Winfield had five of the top 10 finishers. One was Marshall’s younger brother Trace, a freshman who took sixth.

“We push each other more than you can describe,” the older Marshall said. “I’ve been so blessed. I’ve stayed healthy. Trace … proud of him. We try to preserve the tradition of what other teams have done. Winfield will still be a team to watch out for.

Marshall knows what he’ll be getting to at North Carolina State, an ACC member.

“One of best programs in the nation,” he said. “Academics are important.”

Generals coach Shawn Anderson said his team delivered.

“It was one of our goals to be in this situation,” Anderson said. “Our team’s based on faith and I can’t not mention my Savior Jesus Christ. The guys came out and ran really well. You’ve got people telling you all week you’re a lock. Nothing’s ever a lock. You have to go run. the kids have to compete and get after it.”  

Class A


Williamstown’s Alyssa Sauro repeated as champion and the Yellowjackets captured the team title for a sweet sweep for the individual winner.

“That would be awesome. We felt good, felt we could beat Doddridge,” Sauro said.

Teammate Cassie Sites placed third for the Yellowjackets.

“She ran an amazing race,” Sauro said.

Williamstown had 57 points. Doddridge County took second with 64 and Saint Marys third with 72. In individual, Charleston Catholic’s Arabella Boggs took second.

Sauro coasted to the win. She pulled away at the mile mark and turned in a 17:59. It was quite some time for the No. 2 runner to come on the track.

“Have the underdog mentality,” Sauro said about her win. “Be happy with the way you run. Keep pushing.”

Saura now points to a national girls meet in Charlotte. A top 10 in the Foot Locker race would get her to the national in San Diego.

Trinity Christian placed seventh. Ava Lightfritz took ninth to make the podium.


Buffalo’s Patrick Reilly had motivation and it showed as he won with 15:59. Landen Davis of Magnolia was second (16:31) and Buffalo’s Nicholas Pitchford third (16:32).

Buffalo had three of the top 10 and won with 51 points. Williamstown was second with 77 and Doddridge County third with 83.

Reilly wore the No. 2 bib and that motivated him. He finished 10th here last year.

“Told mom and dad wanted it,” Reilly said. “The bib … not acceptable for me. I had a plan. After the first mile, take off. Here I go now. Feels great.”

Last season, Reilly had to overcome headache and migraine issues. He did and ran for the first time on Sept. 11.

“Told the young guys this would be their last race with the seniors,” Reilly said. “It means the world to us. Go out and kill it.”

Buffalo had five of the top 22. Nicholas Pitchford placed third and Jackson Mallett seventh.

Bison coach Dominic Rich said all runners came through.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “Been thinking about this for four years. Get the boys to lock in. A lot of young guys on the back end, and seniors on the front. They all got on the same page. We anticipated winning. Told them crazy things happen at the state. Don’t take anything for granted. Get out, get the job done and we’ll celebrate later.”

Trinity Christian’s Miles Steptoe, a freshman, was their top finisher at 19th (18:02). 

By David Walsh