St. C. boys claim their seventh straight OVAC CC title

BYESVILLE – Temperatures were chilly, the course was damp and Meadowbrook High School was the site.

The annual OVAC Cal Pokas Cross Country Championship was held under ideal running conditions Saturday morning and the St. Clairsville Red Devils demonstrated that tradition just doesn’t graduate.

St. Clairsville continued its stranglehold on the 4A class crown. Coach Tony Ciroli’s Red Devils finished third overall and tops in their class with 137 points.

For the Devils, the title is their 10th in school history and seven consecutive.

“I was a nervous wreck all week, but the kids really ran well today,” Ciroli said. “We came in with a big target on our back, but usually this is one of our best races of the year. And I think the guys stepped up and did what they had to do.”

The Red Devils were led by senior Drake Walker, who finished 11th overall and second in his class with a time of 16:58.

Junior Alex Timko continued his fine season with a 19th overall finish in a time of 17:23. Freshman Logan McCort earned all-OVAC honors by virtue of his 23rd place finish in a time of 17:26.

Senior Joe Davies (41st) and sophomore James Davenport (45th) rounded out the scoring for th Devils.

“Winning the OVAC never gets old,” Ciroli said. “You’re elated after you win the first one, but after you starting winning several, it leads to more nerves, sleepless nights and an ill feeling. The kids were nervous, and I think there’s just a little bit more pressure because we’d won a few in a row.”

University and Morgantown sent a direct message that cross country in Monongalia County is some of the best the state of West Virginia has to offer.

The University Hawks won the 5A and overall titles with 47 points, which was 15 fewer than cross-town rival Morgantown High. This is the second straight big-school crown for the Hawks. The two flipped placed on the girls’ side of the competition.

Mohigans’ senior Cameron Greza captured the overall individual title with a time of 16:03. He was six seconds better than East Liverpool’s Nate Boyer.

Other 5A runners, earning all-OVAC include: Wheeling Park junior Albert Schrimp (9th, 16:49), Indian Creek senior Frank Kamarec (21st, 17:25), John Marshall frosh Dylan McKeag (22nd, 17:26) and Indian Creek’s Allen Keister (25th, 17:31).

Fort Frye won its first boys cross country title. The Cadets finished with 201 points, which was good enough for sixth overall. Magnolia was second in the class with 312 markers.

The Cadets were paced by junior Jordan Anderson, who was 10th overall in 16:55.

The Blue Eagles were led by James Haught, who was all-OVAC by virtue of his 16:46 and seventh-place finish.

In the small-school division, Caldwell, which is one of the most storied CC programs in the state of Ohio, notched its seventh conference title, but first since 2002 when it fought off St. John Central.

Coach Dugan Hill’s Redskins finished with 253 points, while the Irish were 14th overall with 369 tallies.

The Redskins were led by all-conference performer Tanner Harding, who was sixth in 16:37.

St. John Central senior standout Corey Leasure was fifth overall in a time of 16:36. Leasure was the small-school champion.