St. C. takes home eighth consecutive OVAC?title

BYESVILLE – The dynasty rolls on.

With three runners in the top 31, the St. Clairsville boys’ cross country team cruised to its eighth consecutive class crown Saturday morning at the Cal Pokas OVAC Championships on the campus of Meadowbrook High School.

Led by Alex Timko’s 16th-place finish, the Red Devils raced to the 4A championship and sixth-place showing in the overall team standings.

”When you come out to things like this you’re representing a lot more than the cross country team,” said St. Clairsville head coach Tony Ciroli, who won his 11th boys’ title as a coach to go along with a pair of girls’ crowns.

”I know sometimes when we’re successful it puts a big target on us. And I like the target because it keeps us on our feet and the kids did wonderful (Saturday).”

University won the overall and 5A championships with 45 points, well ahead of runner up and 2A/1A winner Caldwell, which compiled 91.

Morgantown (102) and Wheeling Park (165) were third and fourth, respectively, followed by Fort Frye (169), which took home the 3A trophy.

The University duo of Seth Edwards (15:58) and Andy Paladino (16:03) finished 1-2. Caldwell’s Tanner Harding was third (16:11), with Wheeling Park’s Albert Schrimp fourth (16:23) and Fort Frye’s Jordan Anderson fifth (16:24).

Martins Ferry freshman Jacob Bishop had the top local finish, taking 14th in 16:58.

”I was just trying to break away from that big pack and pick them off as I went,” Bishop said.

St. John’s Garrett Holubeck was 22nd in 17:21.

Timko, a senior, finished in 17:04.

”He’s been a good leader for us,” Ciroli said. ”He’s one of those guys that knows when to get them together to get warmed up, when to get them to the line.

”It’s that togetherness that he’s brought to the team that I’m really appreciative of.”

Timko said he got comfortable about 600 meters in.

”I ran as hard as I could,” he said. ”I did pretty well.

”I was just hoping to get below 17 and get that PR and help my team win a title.”

Logan McCort was 25th overall (17:22) for St. C., while teammate Kevin Simpson was 31st in 17:30.

The trio was bunched tightly during the early portions of the race, par for the course for a squad that’s had plenty of people step up this season.

”Even though we’re all competing together on the team for a certain spot, we’re all improving together,” Ciroli said.

Alex Trouten (18:28) and Chandler Kilburn (18:38) also scored for the Red Devils.

”Our team is looking good,” Timko said. ”We have our top 5 runners improving every race. We’re hitting our peak times at the right time.”