The campus of Meadowbrook High school will be transformed into a runner's paradise Saturday as the annual OVAC Cal Pokas Cross Country Championships will step off at the Byesville campus.
Championship hardware in four classes will be presented to both boys and girls individuals and teams at both the high school and junior high levels.
Action begins at 10 a.m. with the girls' race, followed by the boys' event at approximately 10:45.
ST. JOHN’S Fallon Doyle will be one of the area runners to watch in Saturday’s Cal Pokas OVAC?Cross Country Championship, which will be held at Meadowbrook High School in Byesville.
St. John's girls are the defending Class 1A-2A winners and the Irish figure to be in the mix again with Fallon Doyle on the course.
Doyle, who finished fourth last year in 18:27 as a sophomore and is a two-time all-Ohioan, has been on a tear so far this fall. Highlights have included a victory on Saturday's course, the Colt Invitational on Sept. 14 (18:22), and a sixth-place finish at the six-state Midwest Catholic Championships (19:44) near Dayton Sept. 21.
There will be plenty of other challengers for the girls' individual title, including a handful from Class 5A powers Morgantown and University.
The Hawks' Amelia Paladino won last fall's race in 17:38. The senior is the top-ranked Class AAA runner in the Mountain State this year and she has put forth numerous fine performances, including a win at the Two Rivers Athletic Conference (TRAC) Championships.
University's Abby Harrison, who was fifth last season, is back as a sophomore, along with Morgantown's Victoria Cooke and Andrea Pettit, sixth and seventh last season, respectively.
The Mohigans' girls won the 5A title last season, with St. Clairsville winning in 4A and Fort Frye running away with the 3A trophy.
University was the 5A winner a year ago, with the Red Devils and Cadets titlists in 4A and 3A, respectively.
Other area girls who could be in the mix include - Bellaire's Danielle Stoner and Taylor Stoner, Martins Ferry's Jamie Truchan, Shadyside's McKayla Kinemond and Madison Miller and St. Clairsville's Joanna Vincenzo.
St. Clairsville's Alex Timko, who was 19th last year, should be among the top local finishers on the boys' side. Others to watch out for include - Martins Ferry's Jacob Bishop and Terrell Tuttle, Shadyside's Josh Kahl, the Red Devils' Kevin Sampson and Logan McCort and St. John's Aaron Ebbert and Garrett Holubeck.
Morgantown and University are expected to be strong once again, along with Caldwell and Fort Frye. The Hawks' Andrew Paladino and Seth Edwards were third and fourth last season, respectively.
The road to the state meet continues next week with the OVCCL Championships at Buckeye Local. District action takes place the following week, followed by the regional meets then the state meet in Hebron on November 2.
Thorp can be reached at email@example.com