Williamstown girls strike for fifth state title in 11 years

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Williamstown’s girls track and field team celebrates its fifth Class A state title in 11 years Thursday at University of Charleston’s Laidley Field.

CHARLESTON — It took a year longer than expected, but the Williamstown girls track team repeated as Class A state champions Thursday at Laidley Field.

Zach Hall’s Yellowjackets scored a whopping 130 points, besting runner-up Doddridge County (73 points) by a wide margin.

“Technically, back-to-back, but it’s been a long back,” Hall said. “We have a tradition to be on top of the podium at the end of the state track meet. We just try to get there every year.”

Senior Ella Hesson went home with four state championships, scoring 32.5 total points, to lead Williamstown.

“I was wanting to go out with a bang so I think it went really well,” said Hesson, who won the 800 (2:26.66), 1600 (5:16.11), 3200 (11:52.65) and was a leg on the 4×800 relay team (10:24.37) along with Tori Combs, Reagan Ortiz and Brianna Winsett.

Photo by Jordan Holland Ritchie County’s Olivia Cress takes off during one of her jumps in the long jump. Cress won a state championship in the event and was named the high-point winner.

“It means a lot. I know how much all of these girls have put in this year. It definitely means a lot for us to go out and win it again this year.”

Hesson’s performance was a big key to Williamstown winning its fifth state title in the last 11 years, but it took a total team effort.

“She’s a beast,” Hall said of Hesson. “Thirty-two and a half points the last two years, or 2019 to this year. You can’t beat that. That’s pretty good.

“When you score (130) points, it’s not really one person. It’s the whole team. Relays, our third and fourth runners let us not have to stack the relays and let those other girls be in the opens, so that’s huge. That’s a lot of points right there.”

Williamstown also saw Ella McMullen win an individual title in the 400, clocking in 59.67. She was also a member of the winning 4×100 team (52.41), joined by Camryn Irvin, Emma Berman and Jalie Henthorne, and the 4×400 team (4:12.87), along with Berman, Combs and Brookelyn Reynolds.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Williamstown’s Tori Combs accepts the baton from teammate Jalie Henthorne during the state championship meet of the Class A girls’ 4x200 meter relay.

The Yellowjackets completed the sweep of the relays in the 4×200.

The quartet of Irvin, Henthorne, Combs and Berman claimed the 4×2 title with a time of 1:49.49.

Ritchie County’s Olivia Cress put together a meet to remember, winning all four of her events to score 40 points and win high-point honors.

“It’s just great that I can be able to my best,” she said. “It’ll be good for our team, and it looks good for our school. I just like doing well for everybody altogether.”

Cress set PRs in the 100 hurdles (15.73) and the 300 hurdles (46.31). In the 300, she edged runner-up Aaliyah Brunny of Parkersburg Catholic (47.41).

“She’s always been my biggest competitor. We’re always neck and neck in the hurdles. One of us will win, then the other will win. I ran my best times in those today and that’s what really got me (the wins).”

The Rebel junior also won the long jump (16-3.25) and the high jump (5-2) to account for 40 of Ritchie County’s 49 team points, which placed them third.

“I did a ton of work,” Cress said. “I’ve done hurdles, high jump, and I’ve even worked at home over COVID so I can be the best I can be.

“Track is my favorite sport so I was really upset when I didn’t get to have my season last year. I made sure I was the best I could be this year and I came and did everything I could for my team.”

Magnolia’s Mady Winters won a pair of state titles and broke the state meet record in the shot put with a throw of 41-7.25. She said the record throw felt good coming out of her hand.

“I knew once I threw it I hit everything right and it was going to be the one,” said Winters, who also won the discus (125-5). “I wasn’t doing too well before that. I put everything together for one and got a good one.”

Winters also won both throwing events two years ago as a sophomore.

“I didn’t want to go home my senior year empty handed,” said Winters, who scored half of fourth-place finishing Magnolia’s points.

Other local state champions included Doddridge County’s Abby McDonough in the pole vault (9-6), Tyler Consolidated’s Jocelyn Foltz in the 100 (13.13) and St. Marys’ Erica Davis in the 200 (26.91).

For state champ Williamstown, Reynolds was runner-up in the 100 (13.27) and the 200 ( 27.14) while Berman took second in the pole vault (9-0). Irvin placed third in the 400 (1:00.46) and the 200 (26.91). Winsett placed fifth in the 3200 (12:24.93) and sixth in the 1600 (5:49.07) while Reynolds came in fifth in the 400 (1:01.59). McMullen was sixth in the 200 (27.92), Madelyn Anderson was fifth in the pole vault (8-0), Emme Stull was sixth in the shot put (29-6.25) and Maggie Siley was fifth in the discus (94-10) to round out the scoring for the Yellowjackets.

For the runner-up Bulldogs, Lexie Lamb claimed three runner-up finishes. Lamb was second in the 800 (2:29.30), 1600 (5:16.80) and 3200 (12:00.33). McDonough was third in both the 100 hurdles (16.92) and 300 hurdles (47.41). Doddridge’s 4×200 relay team of Molly Ezell, Carrie Lloyd, Nora Sias and Faith Galagar placed second with a time of 53.68, while the 4×8 team of Audrey Smith, Maria Bee, Emily Gola and Lamb was fifth (10:48.75). Ezell, Lloyd, Galagar and McDonough combined for a time of 1:1265 to place second in the shuttles. Galagar was third in the long jump (15-9.5) while Sias was third in the pole vault (8-0).

Scoring for third-place Ritchie was Marissa Scott in the 100 hurdles (fifth; 17.56), the 4×200 team of Scott, Presley Johnson, Catherine Jones and Emily Griffin (fifth; 1:55.80) and the 4×400 team of Jones, Andrea Davis, Bee and Griffin fifth (4:33.72). A pair of discus throwers also scored — Macy Hilvers (fourth; 96-9) and Larissa McDonald (sixth; 92-2).

Fourth-place Magnolia saw Jaci Rohde score in the 100 (third; 13.32) and the long jump (fifth; 15-7.25). Rohde also was on the 4×100 team which placed second, along with Kalleigh Beisel, Julia Lilze and Bre Herrick, with a time of 54.13, and the 4×200 team which placed fourth, along with Lilze, Kaylee Cline and Herrick, with a time of 1:55.03. The shuttles team of Lenecia Grimm, Shaela Holliday, Emma Spitzer and Reese Hale also scored a point, placing sixth (1:16.42).

Erica Davis placed second in the 400 (1:00.44)to help out fifth-place St. Marys (36). Virginia Haddox placed in the 1600 (fourth; 5:41.60) and the 3200 (third; 12:22.29). Erica Davis, Bralynn Davis, Kierstyn Brookover and Haddox combined to place second in the 4×400 with a time of 4:24.87, while St. Marys swapped out Brookover for Sophia Greenleaf in the 4×800 for another runner-up finish (10:27.55).

Paden City scored 17 points to finish eighth. Hope Weber was third in both the shot put (32-6.25) and discus (97-10), Mallory Yeater was fourth in the long jump (15-8.75) and Hallie McDonald was sixth in the 100 hurdles (17.63).

Brunny was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (15.80) to give Parkersburg Catholic 16 points and an 11th place finish.

For Tyler Consolidated, Foltz was sixth in the long jump (15-2.5) and teamed up with Makayla Haught, Caitlyn Northcraft and Victoria Yost to finish fifth in the 4×100 (54.80).

Shelby Simonton was fourth in the shot put (30-5.25) to score all of the Tigers’ points. Lacey Dimit finished fifth in the 800 (2:34.25) for Wood County Christian while Savannah Cunningham was sixth in the 100 (13.70) for Calhoun County.


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