Warren boys again: Warriors claim 6th straight SEOAL XC crown

VINCENT – Nobody likes crossing the finish line second, but as much as they tried, the Logan Chieftains just couldn’t find a way to get ahead of the Warren Warriors.

For the sixth consecutive year the Warrior boys claimed the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League title, banking on the strength of senior Parker Blain’s course-record performance on the trails of Warren High School Saturday morning.

Paced by Blain’s course record run of 16:41, which broke the mark set by former Warren standout Tyler Cantley in 2007, the Warriors took each of the top three individual spots while putting five runners in the top 10.

The Warriors needed each of those runners, as the Chieftains nearly kept pace by putting four runners in the top 10.

“It’s a tough course, for sure,” Blain said. “we have that strong top three, but our fourth and fifth runners came through (Saturday).”

The ninth place finish by Jed McGirr and 10th place finish by Matthew Neehouse proved to be the difference for the Warrior boys, who topped Logan 25-38 in the team standings.

“If they (McGirr and Neehouse) would’ve been passed by Logan, we would’ve lost the league,” said Warren cross country coach Debbie Proctor.

Logan claimed the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth place finishes but couldn’t get another runner across the finish line until Dylan Lingerak came in 13th. By that time, the Warriors had six runners across the finish line to keep the team title another year.

Along with Blain’s first place finish – his second win on his home course this year – the Warriors got a second place finish from Sam Goodman in 17:12 while Brent Ash was third in 17:31.

Blain wasn’t even aware of his record-setting run until Saturday evening, well after the conclusion of the race.

“Those hills slowed me down some, but you just have to put in that extra effort to get back to your pace,” Blain said. “I’ve locked into my pace. I pushed myself in some spots to get a better time.”

Gallia Academy’s boys finished third behind the Chieftains, with 70 points while Jackson did not have enough runners to post a team score. Portsmouth, the fifth school in the SEOAL, had only three runners and did not journey to Vincent to compete in the league meet.

While the Chieftain boys weren’t able to catch up to the Warriors, the Lady Chiefs made certain everyone was chasing their dust on the trails.

Like the Warren boys, the Logan girls claimed the first three spots with Emma Hoellrich claiming the individual crown in a time of 20:23. Brianna Jackson was second for the Lady Chiefs while Madison Eggleston was third.

Warren’s Hannah Dugan took fourth with a run of 21:03, but neither the Lady Warriors nor the Blue Angels of Gallia Academy could catch up to Logan. Gallia finished second with 52 points, edging Warren by a single point, but both were 30 points behind Logan which notched just 22.

“Logan, they did a wonderful job,” Proctor praised. “Our girls did well. They were pushing (Logan). They did what I wanted them to do.”

Gallia Academy had two runners place in the top 10 on the girls’ side, as did Warren, but Jackson thwarted both teams’ efforts to catch Logan as the Ironladies had Elyse Black claim seventh overall while Taylor Molihan was ninth. The Ironladies had just three runners, making them ineligible for a team score.

Logan had four runners place in the top 10, and had Marissa Smith and Lucy Leffler place 11th and 12th respectively to close out the win.

Warren’s Kaylee Pate came in 10th as the second Lady Warrior to cross the finish line.

The top seven runners across the finish line each received All-SEOAL honors from the league. Warren had four runners receive all-league honors while Logan had six, Gallia Academy had three and Jackson had one.

Each of the schools will now prepare for the upcoming district and regional meets, where runners will attempt to continue their run another few miles.

“It’s about the effort you exert. If you feel you can go faster, go faster,” Blain said.

All-SEOAL girls: 1, Emma Hoellrich (L) 20:23.5; 2, Brianna Jackson (L) 20:53.9; 3, Madison Eggleston (L) 20:54.1; 4, Hannah Dugan (W) 21:03.6; 5, Hannah Watts (G) 21:11.4; 6, Madison Holley (G) 21:21.2; 7, Elyse Black (J) 21.36.1

All-SEOAL boys: 1, Parker Blain (W) 16:41.3; 2, Sam Goodman (W) 17:12.3; 3, Brent Ash (W) 17:31.2; 4, Michael Edelmann (G) 17:37.5; 5, Billy Woltz (L) 17:43.7; 6, J.R. Cordle (L) 17:49.9; 7, Christian Perkins (L) 18:07.7