’Jackets’ Hesson wins cross country Class A regional title

JAY W. BENNETT The Marietta Times Williamstown’s Ella Hesson approaches the finish line during Thursday’s W.Va. Class AA/A regional cross country championship in Mineral Wells, W.Va.

MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. — Although things could’ve finished a little better for a few teams and individuals, the Mid-Ohio Valley definitely was well represented here Thursday afternoon when the dust settled in the Region IV cross country championships.

In Class AAA, Parkersburg’s Ian Domenick won the regional crown with a time of 16 minutes and 11 seconds as both the Big Red boys and girls of head coach Larry Games advanced to next week’s state meet. Ripley sophomore Tori Starcher had a dominating victory as she clocked in at 17 minutes and 48 seconds for the Vikings, whose third-place finish also was just good enough to make state.

Williamstown freshman Ella Hesson (19:25) topped the field for the runner-up Yellowjackets, who trailed champion Winfield, 33-43. Four teams advanced for the boys in Class AA/A. Winfield also won the title with 32 points, but Little Kanawha Conference programs Ravenswood (79), Williamstown (84) and Parkersburg Catholic (94) punched their respective tickets.

“I was nervous from the time I woke up to the very start of the race,” said Hesson, who had the day off along with all the other Wood County programs. “I got up at like 10 o’clock. I got to sleep in. I was very nervous. I had to try and do something to get my mind off it.

“We went to the store, got Subway and just drove around a little bit. Around the 2-mile mark I tried to pull away a little bit. It’s awesome. I love having all the team here pushing me and all the coaches and parents pushing me.”

Starcher and the Vikings had 75 points, which ended Hurricane’s season as the Redskins had 78. PHS amassed just 39 points for its win and finished well ahead of runner-up Cabell Midland (66).

Following Starcher were PHS teammates Madison Trippett and Olivia Collett. Parkersburg South’s Abby Herring was fourth and will represent the Patriots, who finished fourth in the team scoring for the boys with 80. Hurricane (30) topped PHS (49) and the Cabell Midland boys just edged PSHS after the Knights posted 75 points to grad the final qualifying spot. The Patriot boys will send Kerwyn Marshall (6th) and Cameron Marks (9th) to state.

“We made it through and both teams qualified,” said a happy coach Games, who had Benjamin Lake (3rd), Anthony Bradford (13th), Will Lemaster (15th) and Brayden Ray (17th) follow Domenick. “The regional is a different animal and there is a lot of pressure.

“We didn’t have a lot of kids PR today. They were out of their routine. They didn’t have school and we were competing at 3 o’clock. I thought they ran hard. I thought they ran well and we’re happy to be going to the state meet.”

Domenick echoed those thoughts when he said, “I’m glad to be a part of such a great team. Winning the (Mountain State Athletic) conference meet last week was just an awesome feeling with the guys. I gave it all I had today.

“Coming down that last straight stretch, that was an awesome feeling, especially getting the win here, which I guess you can call this our home course. I couldn’t be more happy with where I am at right now.”

Ellie Dario was the Big Reds’ third finisher and placed seventh overall. Also factoring into the team scoring for PHS were Emily Cunningham (11th) and Katie Farinash (16th).

Williamstown senior Kasey McNamara grabbed fifth and was followed by fellow ‘Jackets Emilee Ellison (13th), Stella Flanagin (16th) and Carsen Hesson (17th).

Ethan Beck and Quinton Fleming led Williamstown with finishes of ninth and 10th place, respectively. Parkersburg Catholic boasted three top-15 finishers thanks to Cole Terosky (11th), Jonathan Kammerer (12th) and Yogi Tomasch (15th). Jay Schafer (20th) and Braedon Ayers (50th) were the Crusaders’ No. 4 and No. 5 runners. The Yellowjackets’ three through five finishers were Colin Beck (17th), Ryan Wager (27th) and Dawson Reynolds (28th).