Prep track: Jacket thinclad a meet standout

PARKERSBURG -Williamstown senior Madelin Gardner was a standout at the 17th annual Russ Parsons United Way Invitational track meet Saturday afternoon at Stadium Field.

The talented thinclad was a high-point performer with 32 points to lead the Lady Yellowjackets to a fourth- place finish with 62 points.

Gardner was runner-up in the 200, fifth in the 400, third in the 100 high hurdles, second in the 300 low hurdles and won the pole vault at 10 feet.

Meanwhile, Parkersburg High swept the team championships.

Leading the way for the Big Red boys, who captured the Russ Parsons team title for the third straight year, was senior sprinter Chandler Hamilton, who won both the 100 and 200 in 11.53 and 23.52 respectively, as well as Nic Cheuvront’s victory in the 800 in 2:02.25, Landon Miller’s first-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.29.

But the meet came down to the final two events to decide the outcome between the PHS Red, or “A,” team and Akron Buchtel, with the Big Reds winning the shuttle hurdles as the Griffins didn’t have a team in the event and then coming in second behind Buchtel in the 4 by 400 relay to end up with a 119-95 point margin over the Griffs with Parkersburg South third with 94, Ritchie County fourth with 58 and Doddridge County with 55.

For the girls, PHS got a double-winner too as junior thrower Whitney McAtee came out on top of both the shot put and discus competition, and also won the 4 by 800 and shuttle hurdles while Sarah Bever tied the meet record of 5-4 in winning the high jump.

The Big Red girls, winning the Russ Parsons for the second year in a row, had 110 points to runner-up Eastern’s 89 while Parkersburg South was third with 69.

Meanwhile, Ritchie’s Jayden Allender notched the boys high-point honors, taking firsts in the high jump at 6-4 and the 300 hurdles with a personal-best 39.80 and a second in the 110 hurdles in 15:58.

For the South boys, senior Dylon Rippeto was a double-winner Saturday. Rippeto’s discus toss of 161-3 was a new meet record, and his winning shot put heave went for 46-10.

Rippeto “was pretty happy” with his effort Saturday, what with “trying to get back in the groove since basketball took up my whole winter. But things finally clicked today, so it felt good.”

McAtee’s distances Saturday were 37-8 1-4 in the shot and 128 feet in the discus for a new school record. But after, she said that “winning is not necessarily what I shoot for. I shoot more for getting better each time out. It’s nice to win though.”

And in the Big Reds’ four meets so far this season, McAtee has doubled up in winning both events in three of them.

First-year PHS boys head coach Rod O’Donnell thought the whole PHS team, boys and girls, “really showed our balance today.

“We didn’t have a perfect meet, but some people picked it up for others, so we’re a team. We’ve got a long ways to go yet though, and we still have a lot to prove.”