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Doddridge County boys prove too much for Ritchie, Magnolia

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Doddridge County’s boys track and field team enjoys a shower while partying with the Bulldogs’ tenth Class A state championship Thursday at University of Charleston’s Laidley Field.

CHARLESTON — The Doddridge County boys defended their Class A state track and field title here Thursday at Laidley Field while Ritchie County’s Gus Morrison edged out Magnolia’s Jason Beisel for high-point honors, 31-30, as the Rebels finished runner-up.

The Bulldogs, who had 108.5 points to the Rebels’ 85.5, not only won the 4×1, 4×2 and 4×4, but head coach Bobby Burnside also received gold from Carter Lipscomb in the 3200 (10:11.60) and from senior son Reese Burnside, who cleared 13 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault.

“They have 11 (Bulldog girls state titles) and we have 10, but coach (Craig) Kellar has all 11 of those. I have six of them,” quipped coach Burnside before receiving the state trophy. “It’s a real blessing to have a season and then to be able to compete after not having last year and the effort that was given from top to bottom, every single kid performing and stepping up all meet long.

“It makes the whole coaching staff very proud. We had a really good meeting that we were proud of everything they’ve done so far, just wanted to go to the well one more time and give us everything they could and I think kids did that left and right.”

We just had a lot of great performances and heart. People just battled to the end.”

Photo by Jordan Holland Ritchie County’s Gus Morrison touches down after jumps over a 110 high hurdle. Morrison went on to win the event and the high-point competition.

Morrison, who finished sixth in the 200, bested the field in the long jump as his lone qualifying effort went for 21-4.25, which was good enough to edge Burnside’s runner-up leap of 20 feet, 7 inches. The Rebel also won the 110 high hurdles (15.15) and the 300 hurdles (39.58).

“It’s pretty awesome being down here this year after we didn’t get to last year,” said Morrison, who finished ahead of Burnside (3rd, 15.54), Williamstown’s Malachi Stewart (4th, 15.67), teammate Marlon Moore (5th, 15.69) and St. Marys Braden Hashman (6th, 16.62) in the 110 hurdles.

“It’s just great I got to be a part of it this year. It’s been a lot of hard work in practice. We have to practice before we go home and there’s a lot of repetition to it and coach (Rick) Haught pushed us.”

Beisel, the Blue Eagle senior, was unable to score with his teammates in the 4×2 as fellow 12th-grader Gavin Postlethwait suffered a hamstring injury. However, Beisel won the 100 (11.31), the 200 (23.25) and the 400 (50.97), which took place Wednesday evening.

“I came in with a different mindset this year,” admitted Beisel, whose last race was the 200. “I knew I had a chance to do well. My last race in my high school career I wanted to get it over with and I wanted to win.

Photo by Jordan Holland Doddridge County’s Brennan Miller gives his last gasp to pass Magnolia’s Gavin Herrick in the closing leg of the 4x800. Miller passed Herrick and the Bulldogs finished second place in the event. They won the state championship later in the day.

“It was definitely a fun one, though, great competition and it makes it better that way. Kudos for coach (Trey) Meeks for putting us through the workouts. If it wasn’t for coach Meeks we wouldn’t be here. I’m proud of all the guys.”

Coach Haught had the same feeling about his team, which also received a shot put title from Kaleb Cole (47-6.5) as well as earning 10 points in the shuttles (1:01.96) thanks to Ethan Haught, Creed Knight, Marlon Moore and Bruce Moyer

“Coach Burnside has a heckuva team and I told our kids all week you go down there and try to win it, but it’s always a good thing if you can stand on the field after this meet and get on the podium,” admitted the Rebel boss. “We are runners-up and runners-up to a team that ran really well and I’m proud of our kids for finishing runner-up.”

Haught added of Morrison’s effort, “he just kind of ran out of gas (in the 200). I look back now, was that the right event to put him in, I don’t know, but I thought he earned the right of trying to run the open 200 and it was a pretty tough workload today with just one class down here.

“He PR’d in the 3s and I think he PR’d in the highs. He got one long jump in and missed his other five. He had an excellent meet and led us, but we had a lot of good performances. I told my seniors it was a year they could’ve bailed on us and I appreciated them sticking with this and seeing it through and helping us get on the podium.”

Senior Aaron Stull of St. Marys closed out his career with a winning discus heave of 138 feet, 3 inches, which bested Cole’s runner-up showing of 136-3. Bulldog Adam Burnside was fourth (135-1), Rebel Anthony Rader was fifth (132-4) and Wahama’s Rowen Gerlach took sixth (128-4).

“I was first in the state coming in. I PR’d by a foot of what I threw in region which was a PR at region,” noted the Blue Devil. “It feels pretty good. A lot of work came into it. It’s a crazy feeling.”

The only other area individual champion was Postlethwait, who cleared 6 feet, 2 inches to top Tyler Consolidated’s Hadyn Brown (T2nd, 6-0) and fifth-place Bulldog Nathan Hart (5-8).

“Last night we had the 400 and it was pretty competitive. I ran a 51.9 and I got third,” said Postlethwait, who is off to play basketball at Penn State Fayette. “Today we came out and I won the high jump. That was a PR for me. Pretty exciting moment.

“We had the 4×2 and I started out good on my leg. I pulled my hamstring and finished out my leg. I called it quits after that. It is what it is. You can’t control stuff like that.”

For Reese Burnside, winning the pole vault and securing back-to-back state crowns was something special.

“It’s been great,” said the Bulldog. “I’m just glad we got a chance to compete at all. It’s special being able to compete with my brother and my dad coaching, and I just thank God and my family and friends and everyone that’s really around us to get to where we are at. We’ve had a great season.”

Wood County Christian junior Michael Cline was unable to win gold, but the Wildcat had a more than solid day by finishing runner-up in the 800 (2:08.26), the 1600 (4:43.32) and also placing third on Wednesday night in the 3200.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said the Wildcat. “I never thought I’d actually be here, but I pulled out some tough races. I ended up beating some highly trained runners in the mile and 2-mile.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to and I was happy about it. I didn’t end up getting blue ribbons, but I’m honestly perfectly fine with the seconds and third place.”

Lipscomb narrowly edged Wheeling Central freshman Aiden Scott, the 1600 winner, during the 2-mile Wednesday night — 10:11.60 to 10:11.88.

“It’s a bittersweet ending,” said Lipscomb, who missed all his winter training following his state cross country title trying to heal a stress fracture that limited him all spring. “I came into the season really not knowing if I was going to get to suit up one last time. This is my third week back. Hats off to everyone else competing this weekend. Times weren’t that great for the state meet, but the conditions weren’t that great either, and with a year off from COVID I expected things to be a little weaker in the field this year.

“Everyone that came out ran an outstanding race. I really want to give specific hats off to Aiden. He’s an absolute talent and a monster. Hopefully, he doesn’t steal my nickname, the beast, in the coming years, but I’ll give him the moniker of the monster. He definitely deserves it because he’s fast and tough. He’s tough and he wants it. That hunger is really what drives him. Big shoutout to him.”

Reese Burnside, Hunter Jenkins, Eli Galagar and Leo Stinespring went 45.34 to win the 4×1. In the 4×2, it was Galagar, Jenkins, Seth Richards and Stinespring winning with a clocking of 1:34.05. The Bulldogs’ time of 3:42.0 with Brennan Miller, Galagar, Richards and Jaycent Ash was just good enough to edge runner-up St. Marys’ 3:42.42 showing thanks to Sam Tagliarini, Logan Rice, Braden Hashman and Tre Moss.

Magnolia claimed the 4×8 crown with a time of 8:40.93 thanks to Lucas Zombotti, Brady Renner, Trevor Williamson and Gavin Herrick. The Bulldogs picked up eight points after finishing in 8:41.35 thanks to Miller, Will Atkinson, Lipscomb and Trent Gola.

Also placing individually from the Mid-Ohio Valley were — shot put: Ty Watkins (2nd, 43-9), Adam Burnside (4th, 135-1) and Gerlach (5th, 41-5.25); pole vault: Rebel Kodi Camp (2nd, 12-0), Bulldog Kaden Smith (3rd, 11-6), Blue Devil Tre Moss (4th, 11-6), the Bulldog Richards (T6th, 10-6) and Ritchie’s Ethan Haught (T6th, 10-6); long jump Reese Burnside (2nd, 20-7), Ritchie’s Graden McKinney (3rd, 20-6) and South Harrison’s Parker Bunch (5th, 19-7.75); 300H: Stewart (3rd, 41.36), Knight (4th, 41.77) and Tyler’s Austin Timmons (6th, 43.59); 1600: Lipscomb (4th, 4:48.57), Gola (5th, 4:48.61) and South Harrison’s Carter Bowie (6th, 4:49.16); 800: Magnolia’s Gavin Herrick (3rd, 2:09.61), Gola (4th, 2:09.91) and Lipscomb (5th, 2:10.61); 200: Jenkins (3rd, 23.51), Stewart (4th, 23.73) and Stinespring (5th, 23.78); 100: Jenkins (3rd, 11.46).

Williamstown’s 4×4 placed third (Logan White, Caleb Whitaker, Rickie Allen, Stewart; 3:43.82), Tyler Consolidated was fourth (Sean Winfrey, Trey Landis, Sage Landis, Timmons; 3:43.91), Wirt County took fifth (Garrett Parsons, A.J. Petrovsky, Aiden Cheuvront, Ryan Alton; 3:48.37) and the Blue Eagles were sixth (Allen Collins, Renner, Trevor Williamson, Herrick; 3:49.05).

DCHS was runner-up in the 4×8 (8:41.35) with Miller, Atkinson, Lipscomb and Gola. The Rebels were third (8:47.45) with Blaine Bowie, Brady Layman, Isaac Slater and Cayden Moore while the Tigers placed fifth (9:05.43) with Petrovsky, Alton, Joseph Liveo and Wyatt Nulton.

In the 4×2, the Rebels were fourth with a time of 1:35.55 thanks to Moyer, Moore, McKinney and Knight.

Also, the Bulldogs finished fourth in the shuttles (1:05.75) thanks to Hart, Gabe Bates, John Devinney and Richards. Paden City (Jasup Spragg, Zane Yeater, Logan Smith, Shane Anderson) was fifth with a clocking of 1:05.82 while the Blue Eagles’ time of 1:06.69 with Chase Glover, Renner, Marcus Barnes and Logan Beegle got sixth.

Magnolia placed third with 68 points, St. Marys was fourth with 33 and Wheeling Central rounded out the top five at 29.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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