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CLASS A BOYS TRACK STATE TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Three-way battle

Doddridge, Ritchie, Magnolia leading the pack

CHARLESTON — This is going to be good.

State titles in Class A track and field are up for grabs, and the field of competitors in each event is as deep as ever. The defending champion Doddridge County faces stiff competition from Ritchie County and Magnolia.

Per the power rankings at runwv.com, Ritchie is a slight favorite over Doddridge with Magnolia not far behind them in third. With that said, don’t think you know how Thursday’s Class A meet will play out.

The top three finishers in each event from the four regional meets qualify for the state meet in Charleston. After that, the combined top four next best times in each event earn at at-large bid to the biggest stage, as well. Lots of local competitors earned spots in Charleston, as expectations are at a high for many involved.

Region II was a busy one for the Bulldogs, as head coach Bobby Burnside qualified 16 of his athletes to see if they can pick up where they left off in 2019. The championship pedigree of the team was on full display.

“We’re very excited just to have the opportunity,” he said. “The last time they were at the state meet, they won the state title. We would’ve had a good team last year, and I think these guys have really worked hard to put themselves in that mix in that team race. It’ll be a really tight battle between Doddridge, Ritchie and Magnolia.”

Hunter Jenkins got things started with a bang by winning the 100, and teammate Leo Stinespring received at at-large bid with a fourth-place finish. Then, the junior Stinespring got the better of his senior teammate Jenkins, as they finished 1-2 in the 200. Senior Brennan Miller claimed victory in the 400, while junior Ash Jaycent qualified in third. A logjam in the 800 saw Trent Gola and Carter Lipscomb continue their quests for more titles by finishing in second and third. Gola also won the 3200 with a second-place Lipscomb in hot pursuit. Miller took an at-large bid back in the 800 by finishing just behind them in fourth.

The Bulldog blitz continued in relays, as the 4×100 team of Reese Burnside (who also qualified in the 110 hurdles), Jenkins, Elisha Galagar and Stinespring topped the Region II competition. That same team won in the 4×200, and it was Brennan, Galagar and Richards who teamed up with Jaycent for the win in the 4×400. William Atkinson, Josh Berke, Kaden Smith and Brennan qualified second in the 4×800, while Nathan Hart qualified by winning the high jump and finishing third in the 4×110 shuttle hurdle with Gabe Bates, Smith and John Devinney.

The Region II pole vault was full of DCHS athletes, as Burnside added to his long jump win with a victory over second-place Smith and third-place Richards. Adam Burnside also left an impact with a win in the shot put and a runner-up finish in the discus.

Ritchie and Magnolia battled in Region I with teams like Williamstown, St. Marys, Wood County Christian, Tyler and Parkersburg Catholic in the mix. On the boys’ side, Ritchie held a comfortable margin in the team score over Magnolia and third-place St. Marys. The Rebels and head coach Rick Haught want to use that momentum to bring home gold to Ellenboro. They’re preparing for anything to happen in Charleston.

“With everything that was going on due to the overlap between winter and spring sports, the kids did a really good job. I’ve got six or seven seniors that are really important to the team. We graduated two or three weeks ago, and they remain committed. I thought we ran our best meet of the year at the regional. We put our best foot forward, so we’ll see what happens this week.”

The heaviest hitting for the Blue Eagles was Jason Beisel. The senior took home wins in the 100, 200 and 400 races. Finishing right behind him and qualifying in the 200 were Williamstown’s Malachi Stewart, Ritchie’s Gus Morrison (who was additionally the high-point winner at the LKC championship meet) and Tyler Consolidated’s Jackson Kibbey.

Gavin Postlethwait finished just behind his Blue Eagle teammate in the 400, but the local representation in the event didn’t stop there. Tyler’s Austin Timmons finished ahead of Magnolia’s Gavin Herrick for third, but Herrick was fortunately able to grab the first at-large bid in the event. Logan Rice of St. Marys and Sage Landis of Tyler also punched their tickets in the 400. The Ritchie duo of Brady Layman and Blaine Bowie qualified in the 800, while Magnolia’s Herrick finished second to the winner from Wood County Christian, Michael Cline.

The good times continued for Cline, as he notched a second-place showing in the 1600. Also qualifying were Magnolia’s Brady Renner and the Williamstown duo of Chase Trembly and Zach Cannon. Cline didn’t stop there, and his runner-up finish in the 3200 bested local qualifiers Cannon (Williamstown), Heath Knight (Ritchie) and Blake Stanton (St. Marys).

Ritchie’s Morrison took home wins in the 110 and 300 hurdles, and both of those events were full of local qualifiers. Williamstown’s Stewart finished in second in both runs, while Marlon Moore of Ritchie, Braden Hashman of St. Marys and Tyler Lanham of Wood County Christian found spots in the 110. The 300 saw Tyler Consolidated’s Timmons, Ritchie’s Creed Knight, St Marys’ Hashman and WCC’s Lanham all make it.

Relays saw even more qualification with Graden McKinney, Marlon Moore, Ethan Haught and Bruce Moyer finishing second for Ritchie in the 4×100. St. Marys made it with Jake Delancey, Rice, Hashman and Tre Moss. Tyler’s Sean Winfrey, Trey Landis, Sage Landis and Kibbey got an at-large bid alongside the Williamstown 4×100 team of Thomas Billingsley, Brayden Modesitt, Caleb Whitaker and Rickie Allen.

Timmons, Trey Landis, Winfrey and Kibbey won the 4×200 and were followed by Ritchie’s Moyer, Moore, McKinney and Knight.. Magnolia and St. Marys earned at-large bids with the Blue Devils’ Moore, Rice Delancey and Moss just behind Magolia’s Beisel, Damon Shimp, Logan Beegle and Allen Collins.

Magnolia got another win in the 4×400 with Postlethwait, Renner, Sam Zombotti and Herrick. Behind them was St. Marys’ team of Sam Taglairini, Moss, Hashman and Rice. TCHS qualified with Winfrey, the Landis brothers and Timmons. Whitaker, John Coleman, Ryan Wager and Allen took an at-large bid in the event for Williamstown. Bowie, Layman, Issac Slater and Moore took home a Ritchie win in the 4×800, and they were followed by Williamstown’s Trembly, Alex Cockerham, Coleman and Cannon. In third was Magnolia with Sam and Lucas Zombotti, Trevor Williamson and Renner. Claiming an at-large bid was St. Marys’ team of Moore, Stanton, Trey Cummings and Tagliarini. The 4×110 shuttle hurdle saw Ritchie’s Haught, Knight, Moore and Moyer triumph over Magnolia’s Chase Glover, Renner, Marcus Barnes and Beegle. They qualified as so did WCC’s team of Lanham, Jeremy Stoia, Jesse Woomer and Christian Erlandson. The top three in the high jump advanced, as Tyler’s Haydn Brown won over Magnolia’s Postlethwait and Ritchie’s McKinney. It was a logjam in the pole vault, as St. Marys’ Moss bested Ritchie qualifiers, Kodi Camp and Haught. Earning at-large bids were Tyler’s Sage Landis, Williamstown’s Alex Tawny, St. Marys’ Stanton, Magnolia’s Beegle, Tyler’s Cody Jones and the Williamstown pair of Brice Doolittle and Isaac Sullivan.

Three Rebels (Morrison, McKinney and Moyer) filled the podium in the long jump, but Magnolia’s Postlethwait and Austin Beverlin also qualified in the event. Ritchie’s Kaleb Cole won the shot put at regionals over Ty Watkins of St. Marys, teammate Conner Schaffer and Tyler’s Jaden Holmes. St. Marys’ Aaron Stull won in the discus while Cole, Schaffer and Rader of Ritchie all qualified behind him.

While Region’s I and II feature heavy contenders in Ritchie, Doddridge and Magnolia, Region IV saw key performances from Calhoun, Wirt, Ravenswood and Gilmer.

Gilmer’s Elijah Facemire qualified in the 100, 200 and long jump. Right behind Facemire in the 100 was Wirt’s Garrett Parsons (who also qualified in the 300 meter hurdles). Tiger teammate Ryan Alton placed third in the 400, qualifying in the process. Ravenswood’s Cade Curfman represents his school in the 800, while Gilmer’s Jacob Chapman earned an at-large bid in the 1600. Wirt’s Alexander Petrovsky finished third in the 3200, while Calhoun’s Anthony Schoo earned an at-large bid in fourth.

The Wirt team of Parsons, Joesph Liveo, Aiden Cheuvront, and Alton took the win in the 4×200 relay, and it didn’t end there. Parsons, Cheuvront and Alton teamed with Petrovsky to win the 4×400, as well. Ravenswood qualified Curfman, Blair Anderson, Brandon Haynes and Davy Ramsey in the event with a third-place finish. The same Ravenswood team notched another third in the 4×800, as Petrovsky, Liveo, Wyatt Nulton and Logan Freed won it for Wirt. The Tigers had a few more qualifiers with Austin Dille in the shot put, and a pair of discus throwers in Hunter Nemeth and Chase Booth.

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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