Off to Strong Beginning

CHARLESTON -With just one-third of the finals in the books, Mid-Ohio Valley track teams already are displaying their considerable prowess at the West Virginia State High School Track Meet.

Of the six divisions being contested, area teams hold the first-night lead in three. In the Class AA boys competition, Ritchie County has a 10-point advantage over fellow Little Kanawha Conference member Roane County, 31-21. In Class A boys, two-time defending state champion Doddridge County burst out to a 35-24 advantage over second place Williamstown. Speaking of Williamstown, the Yellowjacket girls, in search of a three-peat, not only crowned a pair of individual champions Friday night but also took a 36-30 lead over Tucker County.

Winning state championships for coach Zach Hall’s Williamstown squad were Lincoln Postlewaite, who set a new meet record in taking the pole vault in 10 feet, 7 inches, and Megan Steele, who captured the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches. Postlewaite’s performance was particularly impressive when you consider she beat her closest competitors by more than two feet as Haylea LeMasters took second and Postlewaite’s Yellowjacket teammate Erica Amos third, both clearing 8-6.

Another record-setting performance was turned in by St. Marys senior Maggie Drazba, who breezed to victory in the 3200. Drazba’s winning time of 10 minutes, 31.83 seconds was more than a minute-and-a-half better than her closest competitor.

The top performance turned in by a local Class AAA girl was by Parkersburg High sophomore Whitney McAtee, who placed fourth in the discus and shot put competitions. Parkersburg’s 10 points tied PHS for fifth. Buckhannon-Upshur was running away with Class AAA, scoring 45 points to 18 for second place Morgantown.

Bridgeport was leading the Class AA girls, 30 to 21 over Oak Glen. Ritchie County got a fifth place finish from Mikayla Garrett in the long jump while Roane County’s Caitlyn Hudnall tied for sixth in the high jump.

The Doddridge County boys won the Class A shuttle hurdle relay team with the team of Zachary Cottrill, Dillon Muhly-Alexander, Dyllon Hayes and Daniel Plaugher. In perhaps a good sign of things to come for Doddridge, Muhly-Alexander was the top qualifier in the 110 hurdles with Plaugher second.

Tyler Consolidated’s Hunter LeMasters won the pole vault with a leap of 13-10, an event that saw all six placers hail from the Little Kanawha Conference, two each from Tyler, Doddridge and Williamstown as LeMasters’ teammate Joshua Ruble finished sixth, Williamstown got a second place from Mitch Goertler and a fourth from Dalton George while Hayes was third and Ian Spencer fifth for Doddridge.

Williamstown got a second place finish from Evan Smith in the shot put, an event that saw Gilmer County’s Nathan Stout finish third and Reed Ratliff take fifth.

Ritchie County’s boys rode a winning performance of 13 feet, 2 inches by Austin Garrett in the high jump to take the early lead in Class AA. The Rebels also got a second from Jayden Allender in the high jump, and thirds from Johnny Hogue in the 3200 and its shuttle hurdle relay team.

The Roane County quartet of JC Nichols, Ryan Bates, Kyle Raines and Tyler Lee won the shuttle hurdle relay title while Raines placed third in the pole vault and Grant Hardman was fourth in the high jump.

In Class AAA, Parkersburg High was third with 20 points and Parkersburg South fourth with 17, trailing leader Cabell Midland (32) and Jefferson (29).

PHS was led by a runner-up finish by Dan Fox in the long jump (20-10). The Big Reds also got third place finishes from Brandon Pethtel in the discus and from its shuttle hurdle relay team. South’s Dylon Rippeto was second in the discus and the Patriot shuttle hurdle team placed second to Cabell Midland by just .2 of a second.