Team titles and individual success.
That's what it's going to be all about on the cross country race course at the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) Championship Meet, ECOL/IVC Championships, and Tri-Valley Conference Championships Saturday at 10 a.m.
Warren will be hosting the SEOAL event in Vincent; Cambridge High, the ECOL/IVC run; and Alexander High, the TVC feature in Albany.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
The Marietta High boys’ cross country team gets ready to toe the starting line at the Broughton Invitational in August. Both the MHS boys and girls are scheduled to compete in East Central Ohio League meet Saturday.
The Warriors are the defending SEOAL boys' champions, claiming the crown at Logan High last year. The royal blue and white harriers were paced by first-place winner Parker Blain, fifth-placer Sam Goodman, seventh-placer Kyle Conley, and 10th-placer Brent Ash.
Of those four, Blain, Goodman, and Ash are back, and will be racing again this weekend, making the Warren boys, who are seeded third in the district, a favorite to repeat again in the five-school SEOAL field, which will also include runners from Logan, Jackson, Portsmouth, and Gallia Academy.
"We've been running hills this week to get ready for the league meet," said Warren cross country coach Debbie Proctor. "All of these kids - boys and girls - work so hard."
Warren's other contributors are expected to be Jed McGirr, Colton Barnes, Matthew Neehouse, Joel Estes, and Lucas Wigal, who all ran well in the Piketon Invitational on Sept. 25. At Piketon, the Warriors finished third overall in a field of 17 schools in the team standings.
Blain was first to cross the finish line in a clocking of 16 minutes, 15.01 seconds.
On the girls' side, Warren was runner-up to Logan at league last year. At Piketon, the Lady Warriors finished sixth overall in a field of 17.
Hannah Dugan has been and is Warren's No. 1 lady runner. Last year, she was first overall in the league race in a time of 20:51.19.
At Piketon, Dugan ran the 5000-meter race in 20:21.68, and placed 13th overall in a field of 155 runners.
Rounding out the Lady Warriors' top seven this weekend are Kaylee Pate, Sydney Brague, Alyssa Kern, Savhannah Wray, Maggie McCutcheon, and Zoey Strahler.
"The girls have a big challenge in front of them," Proctor said. "Logan will probably be the favorite."
Over at Cambridge, Marietta High will be featuring a young and inexperienced boys' and girls' team. The Tigers boys will be led by Jacob Haught, Jeff Davis, Cameron Barnhouse, Kody Phillips, Brandon Neville, Turner Hill, Joel Bricker, Brenden Alkire, and Zach Deskins.
A year ago, the MHS boys finished third overall in the ECOL teams standings. Claymont could be the team to beat this fall.
Some of the Lady Tigers will be Kelsey Hall, Olivia Wesel, Cooper Halliday, Elena Lawson, Viola Sullivan, Jenell Betts, Brittany Deskins, Nora Torbett, and Hailey Carman.
Last fall, the MHS girls were fifth overall in the ECOL team standings. Dover and Claymont are expected to be the teams to beat this year.
The ECOL field also includes New Philadelphia, River View, Meadowbrook, Zanesville, and host Cambridge.
"I'm very happy with the progress of our teams, and we're going to try to surprise some people at the league meet this Saturday," said MHS head coach Dale Leeper.
While Fort Frye is a member of the Pioneer Valley Conference, it will be competing in the ECOL/IVC Championships this weekend.
Fresh off a Cal Pokas OVAC 3A Division championship at Meadowbrook, the Cadet boys include Jordan Anderson, Matthew Cheeseman, Ford McElroy, Matthew Roush, Quintin Webb, Jon Anderson, and Cameron Hupp.
The Lady Cadets, an OVAC 3A Division winner as well, are Mary Kate McElroy, Katie Hart, Alex Medina, Natalie Hart, Kylynn Buchanan, Phoebe Thompson, and Sarah Willey.
At Alexander, the Belpre boys are the defending TVC Hocking Division champs, and its top runner Cray Sistrunk is one of the favorites to cross the finish line first. Last year, as a freshman, Sistrunk was runner-up in 17:29.07.
Some of Belpre's other team members Kyle Windland, Matt Davis, Matt Lopreste, Joel Starner, Kenny Shultz, and Hunter Burkey.
The Lady Eagle harriers are Mackenzie Rice, Sierra Barker, Kira Miller, Kayden Devore, and Ashley Carter.
Waterford's runners at the TVC event are expected to be Eli Strahler, Jacob McCutcheon, Andrew Klintworth, Lee Wittekind, and Maggie Kroll.
Last year, Strahler placed third in 17:32.08.