South, PHS cross country ready for season
ART: Photo by Jay W. Bennett — Parkersburg High School senior Emily Cunningham competes in a race at Mineral Wells last year during cross country season.
SH: South, PHS cross country ready for season
By JAY W. BENNETT
PARKERSBURG — Wood County’s two Class AAA schools — Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South — each will be competing next Saturday at the St. Mary’s Medical Center Cross Country Festival at Cabell Midland High School.
However, the Patriots of second-year head coach Brian Blanc are off this weekend unlike the Big Reds of veteran mentor Larry Games. That’s because the red and white compete today at the Elizabeth S. Broughton Memorial Invitational in Marietta.
“We haven’t been there for several years. We’ve been going to Preston and we decided to go to Marietta instead,” Games stated. “Right now we have 24 guys and 19 girls.”
State champion Madison Trippett returns for her senior campaign as she’ll be eyeing a repeat individual title.
“She’s looking really good right now,” Games said of Trippett, who didn’t run with the team last Saturday at the News and Sentinel Half Marathon 2-mile race. “She’s had some leg issues, but I think she’s going to be fine.”
The Big Red girls missed out on a third-place finish at state in 2018 by a single point. Aside from Trippett, the top PHS runner who is back from last year is fellow 12th-grader Erin Cunningham.
“We don’t know who it’s going to be. I like this bunch,” Games added of how his top seven might shake out. “Both Cunninghams (Emily and Erin) have ran varsity before and Mya Barrett has ran before and Abby Broadwater.
“(Claire) Flanagan is a possibility. Payton Harvey and Allie Felker are definitely possibilities. We’ll see how the races go. It will be interesting.”
Parkersburg South’s top female finisher at state last year was Abby Herring, who placed 12th in her final prep race.
“Our girls team is small in numbers, but mighty in heart,” admitted coach Blanc, whose squad will be led by returning senior Amber Flinn. “Our seven girls have shown up and put in the work every day.”
The Patriot boys were unable to qualify out of a tough regional, but three seniors are back to help lead the way. Cameron Marks had the top regional finish last fall for PSHS when he crossed in 18th place. Fellow 12th-grader Seven Parr had the next best finish of all the returners and he finished in 22nd place.
Hunter Wigal is the Patriots’ only other senior. Junior Carson Dennis placed 23rd at the regional a year ago.
“Our boys team has a good spread of talent from our five talented freshmen that came from both Blennerhassett and Edison’s cross country programs to our seven returning male runners who have all showed up this season with the same goal in mind, ‘make it to the state meet,'” Blanc added.
The potentially solid freshman class is led by last year’s Wood County Middle School runner-up Aiden Blake.
Despite losing a lot to graduation, coach Games has high hopes for his boys. The top returners are junior Keegan Barnette and sophomore Franklin Angelos. They finished 18th and 23rd, respectively, at last year’s state meet
“The problem with the boys is do we have five to have a really good solid team,” added Games, who will need good seasons from the likes of juniors Gabe Ray and Ethan Rutherford as well as senior Austin Handley among others.
“It will be good to get a meet in. We’ll get a good look. We are kind of wanting to see who steps up for the boys.”
CROSS COUNTRY ROSTERS
PHS BOYS — Seniors: Austin Handley, Richard Sams, Dakota Douglas; Juniors: Ian Stengel, Garrett Deem, Jacob Stone, Ranchie Dela Cruz, Nathan Mauzy, Zane Lemley, Evan Jenks, Ethan Rutherford, Gabe Ray, Keegan Barnette; Sophomores: Franklin Angelos, Anthony Jenkins, Hunter Boice, Jack Green, Matthew Carpenter, Matthew Thornton, Caden Pickens; Freshmen: Winston Deem, Matthew Mauzy, Noah Ray, Chase Trembly
PHS GIRLS — Seniors: Emily Cunningham, Erin Cunningham, Madison Trippett, Madi Mace, Ellie Mommessin; Junior: Sara Brace; Sophomores; Claire Flanagan, Mya Barrett, Abby Broadwaer, Alivia Ashcroft, Svenia Lohmann, Emma Schumacher; Freshmen: Lyndsie Pinkston, Michala Broadwater, Carmen Ezell, Lillian Floyd, Payton Harvey, Emma Sasyn, Allie Felker
SOUTH BOYS — Seniors: Cameron Marks, Hunter Wigal, Seven Parr; Juniors: Blake Snyder, Andrew Bush, Carson Dennis; Sophomore: Caleb Akers; Freshmen: Nathan Plotner, Miciah Jones, Kaden Goodwin, Lucas Wheeler, Aiden Blake
SOUTH GIRLS — Seniors: Amber Flinn, Sophia Miller; Junior: Jenna Harr; Sophomores: Hailey Whitehead, Sydney Jeffrey, Gwen Wigal; Freshman: Hayleigh Brick