BELLAIRE - The track and field season kicked into full swing Saturday with the annual running of the Bellaire Early Bird.
Six area schools competed under ideal early season conditions at sun-drenched Nelson Field, but it was a pair of mainstays who reigned supreme.
The Martins Ferry girls picked up right where they left off last season, dominating area competition. Coach Rich Materkoski's Lady Riders racked up an impressive 203 points.
T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY
MARTINS FERRY’S Tyesha Allen clears a hurdle en route to winning the 100 meter high hurdle crown Saturday at the Bellaire Early Bird. Allen also won the 300 low hurdles and the meet’s top scorer for girls. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
St. Clairsville's boys cruised to the title, compiling 160 points, which was 38 better than runner-up Martins Ferry.
THE LADY Riders had their way with the balance of the field, winning 12 of the 18 events contested. Included in their victory total was a sweep of the relays.
Freshman Tyesha Allen was impressive in the hurdling events. She prevailed in both the highs (16.1) and the lows (50.1) and also ran on the winning shuttle team en route to earning the meet's high-point scorer.
Junior speedsters Taylr Jenkins and Sarah Applegarth ran away from the fields in the 100 and 400 meters, respectively. Jenkins posted a 12.6, while Applegarth cruised a lap in 65.3.
Versatile senior Sunshine Wrenn - a returning state qualifier in the 800 meters - ran away from the field in the final 150 meters en route to a 2:27.2 and the victory in the two-lap race.
Senior Courtney Crolley soared over 9-feet to win the pole vault and the Lady Riders' other individual win came when junior Diona Lee marked the long jump sand at 13-ft-10 1/4.
In the relays, it was all Purple. Ferry got it started when the foursome of Jamie Truchan, Brenna Becca, Lindsay Cunningham and Wrenn posted a 10:39.8 to win the 4x800.
The squad of Applegarth, Wrenn, Ashley Griffith and Jenkins won the 4x200 by more than 10 seconds with its 1:52.7.
In the 4x100, the team of Applegarth, Lee, Nikki Allen and Jenkins posted a 52.9 to win the lap relay.
The hurdle relay went the way of the Purple when the team of Crolley, Griffith, Allen and Allen ran a 67.5 to win the shuttles.
The Purple put the finishing touches on their victory when the squad of Applegarth, Truchan, Jenkins and Wrenn posted a 4:24.1 to win the 4x400 relay by more than 14 seconds.
St. Clairsville was led by senior dandy Alyssa Robinson. The defending state shot put champion and Penn State signee overcame two fouls to win her specialty with a mark of 42-ft-10. Her distance was more than 9-feet better than her nearest competitor.
Earlier in the morning, she had claimed the discus with a season-best platter twirl of 116-ft-4.
St. C. senior distance ace Amy Castle, who has signed with UNC-Asheville, prevailed in the 1600 meters in 5:24.5. Her mark was 47 seconds ahead of the runnerup.
Bridgeport's lone winner came in the 200 meter dash when sophomore speedster Briana Massey posted a 27.1 to prevail.
Shadyside was led by senior standout Tara Tollett. The Ohio University signee, who is the defending state runnerup, cranked out eight laps in 11:26 to win the 3200 meter run.
Barnesville's Amy Wahl prevailed in the high jump with a clearance of 4-ft-8.
THE ST. CLAIRSVILLE boys used the always-powerful combination of speed and depth to pull away and win the Early Bird.
The Red Devils captured six individual events and one relay en route to the top prize.
Junior jet Jaylon Brown sizzled his way to victories in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. He posted times of 11.0 and 23.3.
Senior middle distance ace Drake Walker was victorious in a pair of events. He won the 800 (2:06.9) and the 1600 meters (4:36.5).
Freshman Logan McCort won the 3200 meter run in 10:58. Classmate Cole Skaggs was victorious in the pole vault with a 10-foot clearance.
The Red Devils' shuttle team of Chandler Kilburn, Jay Gosett, Jesse Smith and Brandon Bosworth posted a 67.6 to win the shuttles.
Martins Ferry's strength in the field and on relays helped the Purple Riders take the second spot in the team rankings.
Senior strongman Sean McGee posted yet another sweep in the shot put and discus. The all-Ohioan in the shot put marked the sand at 53-ft-9 and launched the disc to a mark of 146-ft-9.
Sophomore Caleb Barris won the 400 meter dash for the Riders, circling the oval in 54.6.
The Riders captured all three of the sprint relays. The quartet of Jack Fitch, Brian Styles, Bruce Burger and Andrew Watts passed the baton to a 46.2 in the 4x1.
The squad of Styles, Watts, Fitch and Hunter Hill posted a 1:34.3 in winning the 800 relay. The same foursome turned in a 3:41.9 to win the 4x4.
Barnesville's strength in the hurdles allowed it to move into the third-place spot. The Shamrocks were led by senior Jacob Anderson and junior Jeff Hart. The duo went one-two in the highs and intermediates.
Hart won the highs in 16.1, while Anderson claimed the intermediates in 41.4. They also ran a leg on the Shamrocks' 4x4 and shuttles squads, which finished second. All told, the Shamrocks' duo shared the high-point award for boys with 22.
The Shamrocks also captured the 4x800 relay. The team of Kyle McIntire, Dalton Turner, Mason Moore and Katlin Grimes turned in a 9:19 to prevail.
The host Big Reds' only victory of the day came when junior Kyle Hess won the long jump by half an inch with a mark of 19-ft-2 1/2.
Shadyside's lone boys' victory was posted by senior Ryan Richardson. He won the high jump with a 5-ft-4 clearance.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org