Stewart, Arnold captain all T-L CC team
MARTINS FERRY — Though it was stretched out a week longer than it was scheduled, the prep cross country season came to a close Saturday when the OHSAA held its annual State Cross Country Championship.
Five area athletes took part in the festivities at Hebron’s National Trail Raceway and countless others put forth impressive seasons during the course of the season that saw many miles compiled by area runners.
With the help of area coaches, The Times Leader Sports Staff has selected its annual all Times Leader Cross Country Team, which features athletes from throughout The Times Leader’s coverage area.
The team is headlined by Shadyside’s Chase Stewart and Harrison Central’s Jasmine Arnold, who both repeated as captains of the squad.
Martins Ferry’s Chrissy Lewis has been named the T-L Coach of the Year once again after her Purple Rider boys and girls experienced another impressive campaign.
Here’s a capsule look at the honorees:
CHASE STEWART, Shadyside — This Tiger senior is a student of the sport, according to his head coach Joel Joseph.
Stewart’s knowledge — and his sheer talent — made him the area’s premier runner this season. Stewart was the lone Ohio Valley male to qualify for the OHSAA State Meet. He was the district and regional champion and finished second in the OVAC. He also won the OVCCL title.
“The cliche that coaches do not get to coach an athlete like Chase very often is so true,” Joseph said. “He prepares every day to be the best runner he can be. From his rest, to hydration, to nutrition to weight training, warming up, etc., I’ve never been around a high school athlete who prepares like he does. Couple his preparation with his talent, and you have an athlete who is bound for success.”
JASMINE ARNOLD, Harrison Central — This Huskies’ sophomore put forth yet another brilliant campaign that culminated in this weekend’s OHSAA Division II state meet.
Arnold was the Buckeye 8 champion, finished as the OVAC Class 4A champion and sixth overall for all-conference. She was eighth in the district and eighth in the regional.
“Jasmine had another great season and I am definitely proud of her for her accomplishments,” Huskies’ head coach Doug Drapp said. “I had full confidence that she would have another outstanding season.”
NATALIE FORSYTHE, Martins Ferry — This Purple Rider senior blossomed into the top runner for Lewis’ squad.
Forsythe, who narrowly missed a state berth, dropped some four minutes consistently off her time to become one of the top runners in the area. She was third at the Buckeye 8, second at Meadowbrook, 13th at OVAC, fifth at OVCCL and 10th at the district to help lead her team to the regional meet.
“Natalie had a break-out season,” Lewis said. “She was incredibly determined to have a great senior season and did so.”
OLIVIA WALTON, Martins Ferry — This Rider senior was a steady contributor during her career under Lewis’ watch.
Walton was fourth at the Buckeye 8 and Meadowbrook, 20th at the OVAC, seventh at the OVCCL and 27th at the district to make the regional as an individual.
“Olivia focuses on what she needs to do to be successful,” Lewis said. “She and Natalie were both great lead-by-example runners.”
CHLOE HILL, Martins Ferry — This Purple Rider junior was on a steady, upward climb during the course of the regular season for Coach Lewis’ team.
Hill was fifth at the Buckeye 8, seventh at Meadowbrook, 24th in the OVAC, eighth at the OVCCL and 28th at the district to qualify as an individual.
“Chloe kept getting stronger and stronger as the season progressed,” Lewis said. “She put in the work and stayed true to her training plan.”
JUSTIN GEERY, Martins Ferry — This Purple Rider senior enjoyed the best season of his career this fall for Lewis and company.
Geery was the champion of the Buckeye 8, Martins Ferry Invitational, Belmont County and OVAC Class 4A. Overall, at the OVAC, he finished eighth. He was runnerup in the OVCCL.
In the postseason, he ran in the regional meet.
“Justin had a goal in mind all season and he did his best to achieve it,” Lewis said. “He had a great improvement from last year and got to enjoy the fruits of his labor with several wins.”
ELIJAH SMITH, Martins Ferry — This Purple Rider made consistent strides and improvements as the season went along this season.
The sophomore finished 11th at Buckeye 8 and 33rd at the OVAC, but was fifth at the OVCCL and was the first Rider to cross the line in the district, doing so in eighth place to earn a trip to the regional.
“Eli had a solid sophomore season,” Lewis said. “He became more and more consistent as the season progressed and he dropped a lot of time at the end.”
DESTINY ARNOLD, Harrison Central — This Huskies’ freshman had given chase to her sister most of the season and it paid off when she punched her ticket to the state meet.
Arnold finished 22nd in the regional to earn her spot. She was 14th overall in the OVAC and third in Class 4A. She was all Buckeye 8, too.
“Destiny really had a strong season,” Drapp said. “I am excited to have her and her sister back for a couple more seasons.”
SAM MCCLELLAND, Harrison Central — This senior put the finishing touches on a strong prep career with an fine season.
McClelland was the Huskies’ top finisher in the OVAC and was an individual placer in Class 4A. He also qualified for the regional as an individual in Division II and led the Huskies’ team qualification to the second level of the tournament.
“I had the opportunity to work with Sam for four years and there’s no doubt in my mind that he will achieve greatness.”
KATRINA DAVIS, Bellaire — This talented junior had another strong season for Coach Chris Arno’s team.
Davis was a consistent number one runner for the Big Reds, earning all-OVAC and was the third-place finisher in the Class 3A race. She was also 10th in the Buckeye 8. She narrowly missed qualifying for the regional meet.
“Katrina has been a solid runner for us the past three years. She is very consistent week in and week out,” Arno said. “She’s a leader on the course and in the classroom. Katrina has a lot of potential and we are glad that she still has one year remaining. She is a good, positive influence on our younger runners.”
ISAIAH WILHELM, Bellaire — This Big Reds senior had a break-out season for Arno’s team this fall.
En route to earning his fourth letter, Wilhelm placed second in OVAC Class 3A and was an all-conference runner by virtue of his 16th-place finish overall. He also advanced to the regional meet and was the Buckeye 8 runnerup.
“Isaiah kind of exploded onto the running scene this year. We knew he had potential and he finally tapped into it,” Arno said. “He quickly matured and stepped up to become our first or second runner all season. He wasn’t in our top six last year. Isaiah likes to get out under control in races and then slowly start working his way up through the packs. He did it well and it was a huge plus for our team. His work ethic has rubbed off on our younger runners and will benefit our program in the upcoming years.”
JACOB DEFIBAUGH, Bellaire — This Big Reds’ sophomore made big strides this season as he continues to tap into his potential for Arno’s squad.
Defibaugh who earned his second letter was third in the OVAC Class 3A and the Buckeye 8. He finished 20th overall in the OVAC to earn all-conference. He was also a regional qualifier.
“Jacob likes to get out fast and hold on in races. He is becoming a student of the sport and got better each week,” Arno said. “He battled it our with the front runners all season and it paid off. Jacob has become enthusiastic about running and hopefully he will step up next year and be a leader on the team.
We are fortunate to have Jacob around for two more seasons. Big things are in store for him as he matures. As he continues to progress as a runner, who knows what he will be able to accomplish.”
KATHRYN WILLIAMS, Buckeye Trail — This freshman made an instant impact for a still relatively young Warriors’ program this season.
Williams garnered all-OVAC accolades by finishing fourth overall and winning the Class 3A title. She was also second at the Inter Valley Conference Meet and earned first team accolades in that league, too. She won the district and finished fourth at the regional to qualify for the state meet, becoming the first Warrior female to achieve that.
“Kathryn is still a very inexperienced distance runner and is just beginning to realize her potential,” Trail head coach Darin Wilson said. “Kathryn had a strong freshman campaign. Kathryn has a great attitude and was voted team captain as a freshman.”
HANNAH KEMP, Union Local — This Jets’ senior was a model of consistency during her career for Coach Joey Meholovitch’s team.
Kemp was an all-OVAC performer, finishing 12th overall and second in Class 3A. She was a regional qualifier after finishing second in the district. She also re-wrote the UL record book with a 19:33 in the OVCCL.
“Hannah will most definitely be missed because she brought leadership for the girls team and competition to the boys’ team,” Meholovitch said. “Her high school career may be done, but I am hoping she decided to take it to the next level. There’s still potential to be tapped with collegiate training and competition.”
LIVI BEARD, River — This Lady Pilots’ standout continued her growth as a runner and has reached new levels for Coach Amy Shreve’s team.
Beard was was eighth overall at the OVAC and claimed the title in the Class 1A/2A meet in the process. She was second in the OVCCL, third in the district and qualified for her first state meet this weekend by virtue of her seventh-place finish in the regional.
She also set a River record with a time of 19:29.
“Livi had a plan in place for this season since mid-May and has executed it perfectly,” Shreve said. “Her focus and effort over the season has been relentless. She is mentally and physically tough and continues to challenge herself to do better. She’s not done yet either.”
HUNTER TOMICH, St. Clairsville — This sophomore was new to the sport, but continually improved as he gained experience.
Tomich was 18th in the Buckeye 8, 61st in the OVAC, 11th in the OVCCL and 23rd in the district to advance to the regional meet.
“Hunter was new to our team and is a great runner who will only get better in the next several years as he learns more about our sport,” St. Clairsville head coach Tony Ciroli said.
ALLYSON EVONEK, St. Clairsville — This freshman didn’t disappoint and laid the groundwork for a solid career in the process.
Evonek was eighth in the Buckeye 8, 17th in the OVAC and fifth in Class 4A. She was sixth in the OVCCL and placed 24th in the district to earn a trip to the regional meet.
“Allyson had an outstanding season,” Ciroli said. “As the years pass, she’s going to continue to grow as an athlete.”
MAGGIE MARODY, St. Clairsville — This Red Devil sophomore is known for long-distance swimming, but showed to be more than capable of long-distance running, too.
Marody enjoyed a solid season for the Red Devils, earning all-OVAC with her 21st place finish. She was 39th in the district and finished in the top 10 at Meadowbrook.
“Maggie is an outstanding all-around athlete who excels in anything she puts her mind to,” Ciroli said. “She was a great addition to the cross country team this year.”
CHRISSY LEWIS, Martins Ferry — This veteran Purple Rider coach guided her squads to impressive levels of success this season.
Lewis’ squads both captured the OVAC Class 4A and Buckeye 8 titles. They also advanced to the regional meet as a unit. They also claimed the top titles in the Belmont County Invitational.