BYESVILLE - When the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference expanded, many thought University, Morgantown and Parkersburg South would significantly alter the landscape.
After Saturday's OVAC Cal Pokas Cross Country Championship at Meadowbrook High School, it's highly evident the thoughts have turned into reality.
The Lady Hawks and Lady Mohigans ran away from the field and turned the meet, which featured more than 20 full teams and 180 runners, into a dual meet, which could have been contested in Monongalia County.
Thanks to their fifth girl, who finished just one spot ahead of Morgantown's, the Lady Hawks claimed their second straight OVAC big-school girls' title and this year notched the school's first overall title. Both University and Morgantown finished with 49 points.
St. Clairsville finished third overall and claimed its fifth consecutive OVAC class 4A title with 115 points.
"We came in with the idea of shooting for the moon and landing among the stars," said St. C. head coach Tony Ciroli. "I told the girls, 'let's shoot for the overall, and in the process, hopefully we'll win our class. We knew University and Morgantown were good, but the kids knew what we had to do today."
ST. JOHN’S Fallon Doyle runs in her first OVAC?CC Championship. She placed third.
Fort Frye made school history by winning its first-ever OVAC girls' title. The Lady Cadets finished with 231 points, which was good enough for sixth overall, but tops amongst its class. Barnesville was the runnerup.
The small-school crown went to the Caldwell Redskins, giving them their second title. Their previous crown came in 1994. River finished second in the division and St. John was third.
THE LADY RED Devils notched the team title thanks to their big three of junior Amy Castle, junior Juliana Madzia and senior Melanie Hannan.
"The girls ran smart and kept a level head throughout the race," Ciroli said. "The girls ran strong, and they're coming along. We've got one more good week of training before we head into the postseason, and I think we're right where we need to be right now."
Castle led the way by finishing fourth overall in a time of 19:04. Hannan was eighth overall in 19:24 and Madzia finished ninth in 19:27.
Senior Brooke Bosworth was the fourth St. C. runner to cross the finish line. She toured the 3.1 mile course in a time of 21:31, which was good for 43rd place. Freshman Joanna Vincenzo rounded out the scorers for the Lady Red Devils, finishing 68th in 22:42.
CALDWELL was sparked to its title by sophomore Jenna Furr, who finished seventh overall in a time of 19:23.
St. John Central, which finished third in the small-school race, featured the meet's bronze medalist. Freshman dandy Fallon Doyle posted a time of 19:01 to lead the small-school competitors.
Lady Irish senior Lindy Stauffer was 22nd overall in a time of 20:19.
FORT FRYE claimed the title thanks in large part to its two all-OVAC runners. Senior Sarah Biehl was 13th overall in 19:41 and freshman Natalie Hart was 25th in 20:24.
Martins Ferry, which doesn't boast a complete team, was led by freshman Jamie Truchan, who placed 24th in 20:24.