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Warren boys, Caldwell girls win Broughton Invite

Photo by Tyler Bennett Belpre's Eli Fullerton (2) and Blake Rodgers (7) run during Saturday's Elizabeth S, Broughton Memorial Invitational. Fullerton and Rodgers finished first and second, respectively.

Returning five runners who made regionals last year, the Warren boys cross country team has high exceptions for the 2020 season. With a win at the 21st annual Elizabeth S. Broughton Memorial Invitational on Saturday, the Warriors are off to a hot start.

Winning with a team score of 43, Warren had junior Brennan Perdue (3rd, 18:12.6), senior Matthew Rauch (7th, 18:52.3), and junior Bryson Angelo (9th, 18:52.3) all placing in the top-10. They were followed by junior Andrew Vincent (12th) and senior Justin Pate (13th) to round out the scoring for Warren.

“Our boys have been working all summer long, they have been putting in the hours, putting in the time and it’s nice when you have five that went to regionals. So you expect some good things and they produced here today. Hopefully, we’re not done, but we started off strong and that’s what we’re looking to do,” first-year Warren head coach Ryan Werry, who also noted Saturday’s course is a good season opener due to the hills that the runners have to face. “I think this course is one of the toughest to start with. Got lots of hills, the hill right on the back can tank you. But I think that going forth in the season, an unpredictable season especially. I think there’s just a great step, just a great start for us.”

Belpre was second in the team standings, having two runners finish 1-2 with senior Eli Fullerton and freshman Blake Rodgers.

Competing in his final Broughton Invitational as a Golden Eagle, Fullerton won his second straight race with a blistering time of 16:58.8. Since running in his first invitational as a freshman in 2017, Fullerton has now placed in the top-5 all four years. No stranger to the course, Fullerton did say that the conditions were tougher than usual due to the recent heavy rain in the area but was proud of the performance and of the team.

Photo by Tyler Bennett Caldwell's Sage Speck (97) runs during the 21st Elizabeth S. Broughton Memorial Invitational on Saturday in Marietta. Speck was the first girl to cross the finish line.

“The conditions were really tough. It’s muddy everywhere, so I was just trying to keep a steady pace the whole time and try not to get injured. We had a really tough workout on Thursday. So I was just trying to go out and just stay steady the whole time,” Fullerton said. “I was just trying to stay consistent the whole way through. Blake, my teammate was right behind me. So just trying to pace him kind of and just stay ahead. We’re looking really strong this year. We got a second to Warren today. But overall, we’re doing really good. We just need a couple of guys to step up a little bit and we should be fine.”

Rodgers was able to stay close behind Fullerton for the majority of the race, placing second with a time of 17:25.1, only 26 seconds behind Fullerton. Sophomore Nick Diaz came in 12th on a time of 19:18.2 and seniors Davis Leach and Cy Varner also placed for the Golden Eagles.

Fort Frye freshman Phinn Spindler (4th, 18:30.0) and Marietta freshman Ezra Minard (5th, 18:33.5) placed in the top 5. And Morgan senior Caleb Jacomet (6th, 18:50.6) and Caldwell senior Andrew Sheanshang (8th, 18:54.6) rounded out the top-10.

The girls division saw a much closer battle in both team and individual scores, as Caldwell only won by two points over Marietta (56-58). Redskin sophomore Sage Speck had to hold off a charging Tiger senior Ciara Space in the homestretch of the race, finishing first with a time of 21:41.9, only a 4.5-second win margin.

One of Speck’s favorite courses on which to compete (she finished 5th last fall) the Caldwell sophomore had winning the Broguhton as one of her goals going into her sophomore year.

“I’m really proud of myself, this is my entire goal, this is my favorite course here. I was really nervous at first but I’m glad I placed the way I did. I’m really proud of my girls. They did good,” Speck said.

Also placing for the Redskins were junior Brynn Block (9th, 23:33.7), freshman Katie Franklin (13th), junior Calli Hesson (15), and sophomore Emma Lowe (16th).

“We were looking for Sage to be in the top three so the win was good and I thought the girls ran all right,” Caldwell coach Dugan Hill said.

In addition to Space’s second-place finish, the Tigers had two other runners finishing inside the top 10 with freshman Ava Gebczyk (3rd, 12:36.7) and junior Hannah Lovejoy in 10th with a time of 23:52.3.

Warren finished third as a team and senior Allison Werry (5th, 23:09.1) and junior Grace Randall (6th, 23:10.5) were in the top 10.

Filling out the top 10 was Morgan runners sophomore Emily Pinkerton (7th, 23:29.0) and senior Dahlia Hill (9th, 23:33.7).

Belpre won the boys middle school race with a score of 48, led by Johnny Miller (6th) and Carter Norman (7th). Waterford had three runners finish in the top-5, with Aiden Jones placing first with a time of 13:16.7. Along with Troy Gibson (2nd) and Gavin Offenberger (4th).

Shenandoah’ Jarrett Wentworth (3rd) and Warren’s Spencer Rehl (5th) finished in the top-5.

The Fort Frye girls dominated the middle school race, having four runners finishing in the top five with Cadence Waller winning the race with a time of 13:38.4. Fort Frye’s Emma Richards (2nd), Laine Spindler (3rd) and Maggie Fulton (5th), plus Waterford’s Alyssa Mooney, formed the top five.

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