By KERRY PATRICK
WILLIAMSTOWN -Marietta's 4 by 1600 relay in the boys division opened the 23rd annual Bill Fenton Memorial Relays with a meet record and enabled the Tigers track program to capture the overall title for the third consecutive year Tuesday night.
On the boys side, Marietta took first place by outscoring runner-up Parkersburg High 100-82, while the Tigers' female counterparts placed third behind Parkersburg South (83) and Williamstown (80).
"We have a great track program at Marietta, and the kids who run for both myself and (boys coach) B.J. Mayer are both great athletes and do what we ask from them," said Marietta girls coach Mollie Schramm. "They leave it all on the track."
While Marietta scored a combined 157 points, Parkersburg South placed second with 144 on the strength of the girls' sprint medley relay of Nichole Fluharty, Demi DeGraef, Morgan Powell and Kasey Williams, which finished in a time of 1:54.62 -- a mere eight-hundredth of a second faster than the old mark set by Point Pleasant in 2008.
The Patriot girls won a total of four events. The shuttle hurdle relay of Rachel Teter, Aimee Chapman, Kristin Wilson and Fluharty posted a winning time of 1:10.47, while the 4 by 100 relay of DeGraef, Powell, Kayleigh Jenkins and Williams beat everyone to the finish line with a 1:54.62 clocking.
South's Kayleigh Rexroad high jumped 5 feet and led a contingent of Nikki Lockard and DeGraef to the winner's circle with a total leap of 14-6.
A total of three meet records were set. The final one occurred in the last event of the night. Williamstown's 4 by 400 relay consisting of Madelin Gardner, Allie Robinson, Kathleen Cornell and Andrea Chidester knocked more than two seconds off the former mark owned by the 2008 Parkersburg squad after finishing in 4:10.06.
Since Tuesday night marked the last meet based on a relay format, it meant the final opportunity for the Marietta 4 by 1600 relay to try and break the school record. Alex Wesel, Mitchell Grose, Nathan Diehl and Sam Garrison missed their goal by more than eight seconds, but did surpass the Fenton Relay standard set by Warren four years ago by a second and a half with their time of 18:45.92.
"The wind was pretty bad on the backstretch -- it was very tough to run," said Grose, "But the race turned out to be better than expected.
Wesel and Grose were part of last year's foursome which set the school record.
"Actually, the 1600 and 800 are more my events -- I was just kind of in it to help get points and complete the race for the team," Wesel said.
While Marietta's 4 by 1600 started with a bang, the Tigers' sprinters were responsible for a large amount of the team's success. Posting victories for the orange and black were the 4 by 200 relay (Austin Jones, Dustin Baker, Quinton Coffield and Eli Parmiter), the sprint medley relay (Mitchell Gearhart, Coffield, Parmiter and Andrew Roberts) and the 4 by 100 relay (Gearhart, Baker, Coffield and Parmiter).
Adding another 10 points to Marietta's total were the long jump trio of Parmiter, Coffield an