BYESVILLE - Winning Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Cross Country titles has become almost commonplace at St. Clairsville and St. John Central.
The programs had combined for 29 conference pennants in boys and girls' cross country.
The total is increasing.
ON?THE?RUN — Oak Glen’s Kelsey Chambers led her squad in the annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Cal Pokas Country Cluntry Championships Saturday at Meadowbrook High School. Chambers finished ninth in 19:19.
St. Clairsville Lady Red Devils notched their sixth overall and sixth straight Saturday morning at Meadowbrook High School. The Lady Irish, meanwhile, will be making room on their gym wall for the school's seventh banner, but first since 2007.
The Lady Red Devils finished with just one all-conference runner in senior Juliana Madzia and a team total of 223 points.
St. C. head coach Tony Ciroli knows that's usually not a recipe for success, but it doesn't matter one bit to him.
"I'll take it anyway I can get it," Ciroli smiled. "When I was doing some rough scoring, I had us at 238, which is higher than normal. I told the girls coming out here that if you're in the 200s, it's usually not good, but it was today. We'll take it."
Madzia fueled the Lady Devils, who held off Union Local and Martins Ferry by 25 and 39, respectively, for the title. She finished eighth overall in a time of 19:13.
Senior Amy Castle, who's been battling an illness, was second on the squad, but 33rd overall in 21:00.
Sophomore Joanna Vincenzo was third for St. C. and 48th overall in 21:54. Freshman Mikayla Westlake (61st, 22:17) and senior Shae Cenkus (88th, 23:07) rounded out the scoring.
"Amy didn't have her best day, but a lot of the girls came out and ran a PR to pick us up," Ciroli said.
"That's what we came here to do. There's a lot of good competition. We need to continue to work to close the gap."
Martins Ferry, which finished third in Class 4A, had a pair of runners earn all-conference finishes.
Senior standout Sunshine Wrenn led the way with a 10th place finish in a time of 19:41. Sophomore Jamie Truchan continued her strong season with a 15th place finish in a time of 20:02.
Weir's Alexis Virtue and Kristen Mastrantoni earned all-OVAC acclaim, finishing 14th and 19th, respectively. Virtue ran 20-minutes, while Mastrantoni crossed at the 20:06 mark.
Oak Glen's Kelsey Chambers turned in a strong race. She finished ninth overall in 19:19.
St. John Central approached the meet as nothing more than a dual between it and Caldwell.
"We knew we were in the ballpark and we knew if we ran the race like we did today, we were capable, but beating Caldwell wasn't a given," said Lady Irish head coach Jeremy Midei. "The girls hadn't won a title since 2007 and we'd knocked on the door a couple of times. This is a young team, but it competed well and that was the biggest difference for us today. They found the Caldwell girls early and went after them. I can't think of the last time when all seven of our girls ran a really good race here."
The Lady Irish benefitted mostly from having one of the premier runners in the field in talented sophomore Fallon Doyle. The returning all-Ohioan finished fourth overall in 18:27.
"Caldwell's number one girl gave up some points because she's not been feeling well, so it's tough, even though we ran a championship-style race, to win when they're not at full strength," Midei continued. "I didn't care where we placed overall, so we made it a one-on-one thing between us and Caldwell."
Freshman Kylie Stauffer (54th, 22:03), junior Kaitlyn Santinoceto (63rd, 22:22), freshman Brooke Moore (75th, 22:47) and senior Kristen Russell (93rd, 23:17) rounded out the scorers for the Green.
Shadyside had a pair of runners earn all-OVAC.
Senior standout Tara Tollett finished third overall in a splendid time of 18:24. Talented frosh McKayla Kinemond was 17th in 20:05.
East Richland Christian had its first all-OVAC cross country runner. Senior Hannah Surface was 24th overall in 20:42.
The Lady Mohigans flexed their muscle early and often en route to winning their inaugural OVAC title in girls' cross.
Morgantown placed all seven of its runners inside the top 25 and their scoring concluded before total finishers had crossed the line. It all adds up to a low score of 38, which was 45 points fewer than University, which had won the last two big-school crowns.
The Lady Mohigans were led by senior Brynn Harshbarger, who was second overall in 18:03. She was 25 seconds behind University's Amelia Paladino.
Fort Frye made it two class titles in a row. The Lady Cadets finished with 227 points, which was 158 fewer than runner-up Magnolia.
The Lady Cadets were led by all-OVAC runner Natalie Hart, who was 18th in 20:05.