’Jacket girls, Rebel boys repeat as LKC team winners

Photo provided Williamstown’s girls’ cross country team celebrates its second straight LKC title Thursday at Doddridge County Park. The Yellowjackets claimed the title before the first 12 runners crossed the finish line.

WEST UNION — Usually the first ten runners across the finish line in a cross country race only signify who the best runners are in an event . Rarely does the set determine the best team in an entire race. Then again, most contests normally don’t have the Williamstown girls’ cross country team involved in them.

Five of Larry Cassady’s runners finished in the top 10 and a sixth finished in the top 15 in the Yellowjackets’ championship repeat at the Little Kanawha Conference championships Thursday at Doddridge County Park.

Williamstown outscored St. Marys 27-52 in points.

“Not in the years that I have been coaching Wood County sports I haven’t,” said Cassady when asked if he has ever seen a similar finish before at a meet. “Coach Taylor and I talked about it tonight to see if it was the first time in the LKC. I have been there (at Williamstown) since 2012 and what those girls did tonight is something that doesn’t happen very often.

Yellowjackets’ Ella Hesson and Natalie Sawin finished 1, 2, while Chloe Lightfritz, Emilie Ellison, and Stella Flangin placed 7, 8 and 9 respectively. Each girl qualified for first-team all-conference honors after they finished in the top 12 competitiors. Maybree Rinard came in 14th good for a second-team recognition.

“I talked to Natalie and Ella before the race and told them they had a good chance to finish 1 and 2,” said Cassady. “It was a good effort on their parts to go out and make it happened. Sawin stepped it up after the first mile and Erica Davis of St. Marys didn’t have an answer. Our pack running also made a huge difference. Chloe, Emilie and Stella moved up from 15-17 place. Then our No. 6 runner was ahead of everyone else’s as well. It was an overall team effort tonight.”

Blue Devil Davis finished 30 seconds behind Sawin after she crossed the tape. Ritchie County’s Olivia Cress and Gwyn Napier placed fourth and fifth, St. Marys’ Jessy Higgins was sixth and teammate Emily Asher rounded out the top 10.

A repeat team champion occurred in the boys race as well. Ritchie County didn’t have as comfortable a margin of victory as Williamstown, finishing just 12 points ahead of Doddridge County, 55-67. Kent and Clayton Bee earned all-LKC honors after the two Rebels finished 5th and 6th. Brady Layman (13), Jarett Allender (14), Isaac Slater (15), Adam Davis (19) and Gabriel Morrison (20) also finished in the top 20.

Craig Kellar’s runner-up Bulldogs didn’t walk away without a gold medal though. Carter Lipscomb improved on last year’s third place finish with a winning effort. The runwv.com favorite finished 21 seconds ahead of Ravenswood’s Bryce Jarrell, 17:34.36 to 17.55.56.

Finishing out the all-tournament first team were Tyler Consolidated’s Spencer Corley (3) and James Street (12), St. Marys’ Caleb Campbell (4), Ravenswood’s Deshone Cooper (5) and Blake Jarrell (8), Doddridge County’s Gage Smith (9) and Trent Gola (11) and Braxton County’s Kaleb Brown (10).