PHS boys win Chik-fil-A; Ritchie’s Hogue also wins

MINERAL WELLS – George Washington senior Matthew Brafford made state history here Saturday at the 13th annual Chick-fil-A Invitational cross country meet.

Brafford cruised to victory in the Class AAA division with a winning time of 15 minutes and 17.4 seconds. His time established a new state record for any course, which also was set in Mineral Wells back in 2002 by Oak Glen’s Justin Simpson (15:20). Brafford’s clocking also tied the Chick-fil-A course record of 15:17 that had been the standard since Hudson High School (Ohio) product Wes Smith set it in 2002.

The Parkersburg Big Reds nipped Winfield, 53-65, to claim triple-A team honors. Nic Cheuvront (16:53) led the red and white with a fifth place finish and John Bolton was eighth (17:17).

“We had a good day, both the girls and the guys,” said PHS head coach Larry Games, whose girls took fifth. “I thought it would come down to us and Winfield. We’ll still have to get better if we want to make the state meet.”

Caldwell, which opted to run in Class AAA instead of Class AA/A, had Redskin Tanner Harding (16:16) take runner-up honors behind Brafford. The Redskins, who received a 12th place finish from freshman Benton Parmiter, finished fourth in the team race, just behind Hampshire (120-138). Ripley’s Jake Casto medaled after finishing 10th in a time of 17 minutes and 29 seconds. The Vikings’ score of 143 was good for fifth.

Ritchie County’s Johnny Hogue, who struggled in the preseason with some illness, took top honors in the Class AA/A race.

The Rebel senior finished in 16:23 to top PikeView’s Jason Weitzel (16:34). Belpre’s Cray Sistrunk finished fifth (16:45), Roane County’s Caleb Pell was sixth (17:01), Hogue’s Rebel teammate Daniel Cooper was seventh (17:22) and Wirt County’s Glenn McMillan cracked the top 10 by finishing ninth with a time of 17 minutes and 24 seconds.

“It was hot and hard to breathe,” said Hogue, who had to race in the afternoon compared to the morning for the Class AAA programs. “I just pushed through it. I wasn’t aiming for anything (particular time) really, just the win. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks, but a win is a win.”

Fairmont Senior, led by the 10th place effort of Matt Strand (17:25), rolled to a 99-148 team victory ahead of Williamstown. The Yellowjackets, who were paced by Chandler Antill’s 14th place finish (17:54), nipped Ritchie County, 148-149.

The Williamstown girls won the team title with Ravenswood finishing second (100-109). Doddridge County was third and finished just ahead of Oak Glen, 147-151. Cami Mosser was ninth and led the ‘Jackets with a time of 21:35.

Grafton freshman Alicia Parsons clocked in at 19:49, which was good enough to hold off runner-up Kelsey Chambers of Oak Glen (19:56) and Ravenswood’s Hailey Miller (20:20). Red Devil Taylor Treadway finished sixth (21:00) and was the only other area runner to crack the top 10.

In the Class AAA girls race, Winfield (56) rolled past runner-up Hampshire (90). Eastern, which like Caldwell opted to run in the big school division, finished third with 99 points while the Redskins took fourth with 101 points, just four points better than Parkersburg.

Capital’s Peyton Panger finished in 18:47 to win the individual title. Kaitlyn Workman of Preston (19:26) was the runner-up and just beat out Caldwell’s Jenna Furr (19:31) and Eastern’s Taylor Palmer (19:33). Palmer actually beat Winfield’s Brittney McMillion by fourth-tenths of a second. Eastern’s Asia Michael took eighth (20:05) and the Big Reds were paced by senior Rachel Morris (20:22), which was good for 11th.