Big Red XC wins MSAC gold
RIPLEY — All good things eventually must come to an end.
Such was the case here Wednesday evening at Cedar Lakes during the Mountain State Athletic Conference cross country championships as 17-time defending boys champ Cabell Midland fell to Parkersburg, 55-66.
Not only did the PHS boys of head coach Larry Games dethrone the Knights, but the Big Red girls also topped Cabell Midland, 52-65, to win their first MSAC crown since 2010.
Ian Domenick led the red and white with a fourth-place finish thanks to his clocking of 17 minutes and 5 seconds. It was the second straight year the Big Red finished fourth and earned all-MSAC (top 10) honors.
Ripley’s Tori Starcher won the girls event, but two-time defending champion Olivia Collett of PHS finished runner-up in 19 minutes and 14 seconds. Big Red Ellie Dario repeated as an all-MSAC selection following her fifth-place effort of 21 minutes and 8 seconds.
“I can’t remember a time where Cabell Midland’s boys didn’t win,” admitted Games, who also watched Benjamin Lake (8th, 17:24) and Anthony Bradford (9th, 17:45) earn all-MSAC accolades. “Cabell is down a little bit this year compared to past years. We ran very well. I thought it would be pretty tight.
“The guys last year were third at the state meet and we’d like to get back to the state meet, number one, and do that again or do a little better. We need to run well and continue to get a little better. We ran really well tonight.”
Also scoring for the Big Red boys were Will Lemaster (12th, 17:58) and Keegan Barnette (22nd, 18:10).
Hurricane (89) finished third overall while Riverside (121) and Woodrow Wilson (127) rounded out the top five teams for the boys. The last time Cabell Midland didn’t win the MSAC was back in 1999 when the Knights finished runner-up to St. Albans, 74-83.
The Big Red girls didn’t have Madison Trippett, but Emily Cunningham (12th, 22:02), Katie Farinash (15th, 22:25) and Gillian Thomas (18th, 22:40) helped pick up the slack. Ripley (82), Hurricane (122) and Woodrow Wilson (132) comprised the remainder of the top five teams.
“This is the first race she’s missed,” Games noted of Trippett. “It’s a leg issue and we’re hoping she’s going to be able to run next week (at Thursday’s regional in Mineral Wells). I just thought it would be best to not run her tonight.
“We’re very close to Cabell Midland as far as the rankings and everything. I thought it would be close between us and them. We didn’t run Madison and I thought it would be hard and they also didn’t have their first or second girl run so that was kind of a wash as far as that goes.”
Games knows next week’s regional will be a tough battle and was glad to see his girls, despite not having Trippett, perform well.
“A good performance going into the regional gives us some confidence and it is going to be really competitive as usual,” added the coach.
Mountain State Athletic Conference Cross
Country Championships at Cedar Lakes
BOYS TEAM SCORES: Parkersburg 55, Cabell Midland 66, Hurricane 89, Riverside 121, Woodrow Wilson 127, George Washington 155, Huntington 170, St. Albans 223, Capital 264, Ripley 275, Spring Valley 286, South Charleston 341
PHS (top seven finishers): 4. Ian Domenick 17:05*, 8. Benjamin Lake 17:24*, 9. Anthony Bradford 17:45*, 12. Will Lemaster 17:58; 22. Keegan Barnette 18:10; 23. Brayden Ray 18:19; 24. Devin Ours 18:19
GIRLS TEAM SCORES: Parkersburg 52, Cabell Midland 65, Ripley 82, Hurricane 122, Woodrow Wilson 132, Huntington 145, St. Albans 209, Spring Valley 233, George Washington 238, Capital 249, Riverside 276
PHS (top seven finishers): 2. Olivia Collett 19:14*, 5. Ellie Dario 21:08*, 12. Emily Cunningham 22:02; 15. Katie Farinash 22:25; 18. Gillian Thomas 22:40; 20. Erin Schumacher 23:09, 23. Erin Cunningham 23:51
*Denotes all-MSAC performer