Arnold, Crisante shine at OVAC CC Championship
CAMBRIDGE — The calendar has flipped to October, which means the cross country season is entering its homestretch.
With the season winding down, area harriers converged on sun-drenched Cambridge High School for the annual running of the OVAC Cal Pokas Cross Country Championship.
And, many of the teams that have flexed their muscles or been highly regarded thus far continued the trend en route to claiming the conference titles.
Caldwell, Linsly, Martins Ferry and Morgantown left Guernsey County with the top prizes. All but the Mohigans won the title last season.
Here’s a look at the classes:
Caldwell, which is ranked in the top 10 of the Ohio Division III poll, finished fourth overall and claimed its eighth OVAC title overall and third consecutive with 169 points. The Redskins were 201 better than runner-up Shadyside.
Fueling Caldwell was all-OVAC performer Sage Speck.
The only other performer to garner all-conference from this class was the champion of the division. River senior Olivia Beard continued her strong campaign with a 12th-place finish in a time of 19:58.
Linsly’s wait for its second OVAC title didn’t take nearly as long as it took to garner the first.
The Cadets — for the second straight season — grabbed the top trophy in the 3A class. Coach Carrie Ochap’s team posted 276 points, which was good enough for seventh best in the field.
“I would say there was more pressure after winning the first, especially after we lost one of our huge performers from last year to graduation,” Ochap said. “We had some spots to fill, but we had a good group of 12 girls wanting to run. They stepped up, and I am proud of them. They performed over my expectations.”
The Cadets were led by all-OVAC performer Maddie Campsey, who was 24th in 21:01.
Other scorers for Linsly were sophomore Haley Heitz (46th), junior Molly Herron (51st), Rocio Garcia-Quiros Jimenez-Caminero (96th) and Hunter Smith (97th).
The 3A individual championship went to talented Buckeye Trail sophomore Kathryn Williams. She was ninth overall in 19:38. Her effort sparked Trail to the 3A runner-up plaque.
Shenandoah’s Kendall Mackie was 21st overall in 20:50, and Bellaire’s Katrina Davis was 26th in 21:14.
Martins Ferry’s path to its ninth OVAC title and second consecutive was anything but ideal for the Purple Riders.
According to head coach Chrissy Lewis, it wasn’t until the middle of last week that the Riders formally knew that they’ve have enough to even compete as a team, as a runner was still seeking medical clearance.
“As of Wednesday, we didn’t think we’d have enough (to race as a team), but a physical therapist tested out one of our runners and gave her clearance,” Lewis said. “We had some other girls step it up and run great today, and that made a big difference, too. It panned out well, and they made up for the difference.”
Senior Chloe Hill, who placed 22nd overall in 20:57, led the Purple Riders after returning for the first time in three weeks from a knee injury.
“We pushed her to run through it, and my fifth girl has been struggling with sciatica issues, so we were just happy to put a team together and try to compete,” Lewis said.
Trailing Hill but earning all-OVAC was freshman Josie Hancock, who placed 30th overall to capture the final all-OVAC spot. She ran the race in 21:26.
Other Ferry scorers included sophomore Hannah Hupp (47th), freshman Jaqulynn Gill (63rd) and senior Hope Lewis (118th).
The 4A championship went to Harrison Central junior Jasmine Arnold, who placed 13th overall in 20:02. Her younger sister, Destiny, was 29th in 21:25.
St. Clairsville’s Allyson Evonek was 17th overall, capturing all-OVAC. She ran 20:43. The Red Devils finished second in the team race.
Quite the dual meet was staged between Morgantown and University in Guernsey County. Runner from the two juggernauts comprised the entire overall top five finishers. Taking that a step farther, all seven of both schools’ runners finished inside the top 30, earning all-OVAC.
Morgantown produced the meet’s overall champion in sophomore Lea Hatcher. She toured the course in 17:24, which was 41 seconds better than senior teammate Athena Young.
When the dust settled, the Mohigans edged out the Hawks, 35-46, for the team title, which is their third in school history and snapped their city rival’s five-year stranglehold on the big-school title.
Other 5A competitors to garner all-OVAC include: Steubenville’s Anastasia Crisante (6th, 19:18); Wheeling Park’s Isabella DiSaia (7th, 19:28) and McKenna Dunbar (18th, 20:47); and John Marshall’s Zara Zervos (8th, 19:30) and Ally Hicks (23rd, 20:57).