Prep cross country: Lady ’Jackets take 1st at Classic

BELMONT – The Williamstown girls and the boys from Bridgeport didn’t go unchallenged here Saturday morning at Abicht’s Landing in the 28th annual Autumn Classic, but both cross country programs had more than enough to capture team victories.

Cami Mosser led the way for the Yellowjackets, placing fifth overall with a time of 23 minutes and 29 seconds. Andrea Chidester (11th, 24:29), Allie Robinson (12th, 24:37), Shealee Mosser (17th, 25:15) and Kaitlyn Fulks (34th, 26:37) helped the Yellowjackets post a winning score of 59. Ravenswood, led by Hailey Miller’s runner-up effort to Oak Glen champion Kelsey Chambers (21:58 to 22:48), sparked the Red Devils to 79 team points as the Jackson County program finished second and ahead of Doddridge County (107), the Golden Bears (122) and Linsly (145).

“I felt good for my first last race of my senior year,” said Cami Mosser, who like everyone else was soaked and covered in mud. “I had a goal set earlier, but the conditions just made it impossible. I slid a lot and saw a couple of girls fall down. It was pretty bad.”

Miller, who easily surpassed her previous best time of 23 minutes and 30 seconds, watched teammate Taylor Treadway take fourth with a time of 23:23 and fellow Red Devil Taylor Love crack the top 20 thanks to an 18th place finish with a clocking of 25 minutes and 17 seconds.

“She’s really good,” Miller said of Chambers. “It was a little muddy and the hills killed. It’s just a hard race with the mud and all that. I slid a few times, but I never fell.”

The only other Mid-Ohio Valley athlete to crack the top 10 was Tyler Consolidated’s Amber Watson, who finished eighth after running the 5K course in 24:10. Robert C. Byrd’s Lavania LeMasters took third and was 29 seconds behind Miller.

Abe Merinar topped the field with a winning time of 17:50 to pace a quartet of Bridgeport runners who finished in the top 14. The Indians had 40 points and were followed in the team race by Wheeling Park (62), Williamstown (85), John Marshall (162) and Oak Glen (168).

PikeView’s Jason Weitzel trailed Merinar for the top spot by 11 seconds. Wheeling Parks Albert Schrimp (18:06), Bridgeport’s Mathew Dearth (18:12) and Elkins’ Austin Hamrick (18:31) rounded out the top five.

Only two area runners cracked the top 10 to earn a medal. Wirt County’s Glenn McMillan trudged his way to the finish line in 19 minutes and 36 seconds to garner eighth while Williamstown’s Kelton Hutchins placed 10th with a time of 19:46. Yellowjacket Chandler Antill was only 1.7 seconds behind Hutchins and finished 11th.

“It was a little muddier and a little harder to run,” McMillan said of this year’s race compared to this time last season. “It’s like every time you take a step you slip. It was like walking on sand.”