Warren’s Trent Sayre wins Scenic Hills Invite

STEVE HEMMELGARN The Marietta Times Warren’s Trent Sayre placed first at Saturday’s Scenic Hills Invitational in Vincent.

VINCENT — The victorious high school girl and boy at the Scenic Hills Lions Invitational 5K cross-country meet Saturday were one runner who had never won a race before and another who was just runner-up last Saturday at the Marietta Broughton Invitational.

Eastern senior Rhiannon Morris, who did finish fourth at the Broughton event last week, but had never tasted cross-country individual victory did just that at Warren Local High School by a 22-second margin over runner-up Kaylor Offenberger from Waterford, 21:41.4 to 22:03.4.

Morris was a good distance ahead of Offenberger in the last lap around the track in the football stadium to notch a triumph in her first-ever time on the Warren course.

However, Morris related that she “was in fifth or sixth place in the beginning, but I worked my up at the two mile and after that, I was in front.”

And Morris’ PR (personal record) is 21:24, “so today was pretty close to it,” she said. “I haven’t done nearly as good before this year, when I started doing pretty good.”

For Eastern head coach Josh Fogel, “I had her (Morris) top four going into today, but told her she could win it,” he said, adding to her, ‘You just go out and run like you did at Marietta, you’ll end up winning the race.’

“After the first mile, she was right in the race. So I told her to move the second mile, and she listened and moved and ran very well, then stretched her lead out.

“She’s been running really well so far this year, so I hope she keeps it going.”

Warren’s own Trent Sayre, a junior, was in duel to the finish line with Belpre sophomore Eli Fullerton. There was very little margin, if any, between them when they came down the hill at almost the 12-minute mark with still about five minutes to go.

Sayre finally was able to pull away from Fullerton in the last straightaway to the end to win by 2.2 seconds, 17:13.4 to 17:15.6 for Fullerton.

“I ran the race with him (Fullerton) and then when we came on the track, I just turned on my jets,” said Sayre. “We were pretty close together for throughout the entire race. The last 40, 50 (yards), I turned it on all the way. Whenever I made a surge, he went with me, so he’s a tough kid.”

After swapping out football in the fall for cross country his sophomore year, Sayre has done really well, and “this year, I’m trying to get all-state,” he said, to go with his all-state status in track, where Sayre was third in the state in the 1600 and also ran in the 4 by 400 and 4 by 800 relays.

This year, Sayre will be looking to make his third straight state cross-country trip.

Sayre also gave up wrestling, “deciding to drop that too and focus on my running career,” he said.

Fullerton, noted Belpre head coach Jen Wells, “was runner-up by not very much. He knew that his gameplan today was to stick with Trent as long as possible, because at Marietta last week, he was with Trent and a boy from Shadyside up until the hill at the end.”

Fullerton was a state qualifier last year, placing 27th in the state as just a mere freshman.

Warren head coach Neil Brague said Sayre “has gotten better overall each year. I just hope he does better at the state meet than he has the last couple times. He’s gotten better each time at state. Hopefully this time, he breaks that top 25, you know all-Ohio. So we’ll see.”

Team champions Saturday went to Warren in both the high school girls and middle school girls 3K race, while Belpre was second in the high school boys competition and took first place in the middle school boys. Marietta had two seconds in the middle school boys and girls.