Blennerhassett’s Lauderman sets course record

MINERAL WELLS – Blennerhassett’s Aiyana Lauderman established a new record here Tuesday during the annual Wood County Middle School cross country championships on Butcher Bend Road and Williamstown’s Tyler Beckett took top honors for the boys.

Lauderman’s time of 10 minutes and 54 seconds easily broke the previous course record of 11 minutes and 22 seconds set back in 2009 by Williamstown’s Sarah Settle. Actually, both runner-up Olivia Collett (10:58) of VanDevender as well as Williamstown’s Kasey McNamara (3rd, 11:15) also eclipsed Settle’s old standard.

“I just wanted to be in first or second place,” said Lauderman, an eighth-grader who started school a year early and was running her first season of cross country. “That Vandy girl (Collett) really pushed me.”

Beckett’s time of 10:03 put him ahead of runner-up Braden Ray of Hamilton (10:13). They were followed by Jackson teammates David Snider (10:22) and Anthony Bradford (10:26).

This was Beckett’s second year running for the Yellowjackets.

Beckett gave a lot of props to his coaches and fellow teammates, but said he got all his motivation from being called “too slow” after he went out for track as a sixth-grader.

“I felt confident,” Beckett said of his mindset going into the race. “When I got to the finish line it became real.”

The Jackson boys posted a winning team total of 33 and were followed by Hamilton (57), Edison (58), Blennerhassett (83) and VanDevender (142). Hamilton’s girls won with a score of 51, besting runner-up Jackson (59). Williamstown (89), Blennerhassett (100), Edison (104) and VanDevender (109) followed. Last year, the Hamilton boys and the Jackson girls were county champions.

The Hamilton girls had three finishers earn all-Wood County honors by placing in the top 10 – Madison Trippett (4th, 11:25), Abigail Wooten (5th, 11:34) and Carlie Black (8th, 11:52). Jackson’s Katie Farinash (11:49) was sixth, Williamstown’s Carsen Hesson (11:52) was seventh and Jackson teammates Jordan Balog (11:54) and Madison Mace (11:59) rounded out the top 10.

Also placing in the top 10 for the boys were Edison teammates Cole Strawderman (5th, 10:30) and Kerwyn Marshall (6th, 10:40), Hamilton’s Benjamin Lake (7th, 10:44), Blennerhassett’s Kyle Shreves (8th, 10:47), Jackson’s Tanner Stauffer (9th, 10:53) and Williamstown’s Grant Bobbit (10th, 11:00).