Track athletes embark on Erickson meet

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg South head boys track coach Steve Fox has been around long enough to understand that there are certain events you don’t fight with during the spring.

One is the weather-you just don’t know what it will be like during the month of March. And the other is spring break.

That is why the veteran coach has elected to run the Erickson/Camden Clark Invitational today at the Erickson All-Sports Facility beginning with competition in the field events at 4:30 p.m.

“We always try to have at least one (track meet) over the break and maybe two,” said Fox. “But our options were pretty limited. We could have the meet on Friday, but that is Good Friday and the beginning of spring break for our kids.

“The other option was to wait until the following weekend, but the kids would still be on break and the likelihood of getting teams would be limited. So, we chose to make it a Thursday meet in hopes of having all of our kids here to compete.”

The Patriots are coming off of a third (boys) and fifth (girls) place finish at the Kim Nutter/Camden Clark Medical Center Classic last Friday at Stadium Field and Fox is looking to see how much his young thinclads have improved.

“I knew it was going to be a tough meet,” said the coach. “We had no Logan Cox, no Dylan Rippeto and no Cody Hively and that did make a difference. And Parkersburg is loaded this year. They have speed, they have distance runners and they have field events.

“They can score in a lot of events and they will definitely be the team to beat on Thursday.”

The red and white clad Big Reds may also carry the favorites title in the girls division as Leah Fleek’s squad is coming off of a 150-101 win over Hampshire at the Kim Nutter. But standing in their way will be a Williamstown squad that has won back-to-back Class A state titles and finished second at the Ryan Jobes Spring Special last Saturday.

Rounding out the seven-team field will be John Marshall, Wirt County, St. Marys and Wahama.

One of the featured matchups of the night may come in the girls 100 and 200 meter dashes where Wahama’s Kelsey Zuspan and Williamstown’s Andrea Chidester could provide an early season display of what fans can expect to see in mid-May when the two battle for individual state titles in the events at the University of Charleston’s Laidley Field.

Other locals to keep an eye on include Parkersburg’s Sarah Bever, Whitney McAtee, Chandler Hamilton, Andrew Lyons, Daniel Fox and Brandon Pethel, Parkersburg South’s Allison Currey, Williamstown’s Jessie Kerns, Megan Steele, Lincoln Postlewaite, Mitchell Goertler and Evan Smith, and St. Marys’ Maggie Drazba and Dylan Fetty.

Bever, McAtee, and Hamilton were all double event winners at the Kim Nutter while Drazba is the state record holder in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs.

Action on the track in the one session meet will begin at 5 p.m. with every race being a final-no preliminaries will be held.