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Ferry sweeps OVCCL

CONNORVILLE — The 38th running of the annual Ohio Valley Cross Country League Championship was held under ideal conditions — for the competitors — Saturday on the campus of Buckeye Local High School.

And while the same familiar faces were the first runners to cross the finish line after touring the 3.1-mile layout in southern Jefferson County, it was the times in which they did so that had the place a buzz.

Bellaire’s Jacob Defibaugh ran away from the boys’ field. The junior shaved an amazing 14 seconds off of his personal record with his 16-minute, 23-second clocking. Harrison Central’s Eric Leech finished second .

“I like the weather like this,” he said of the cool, overcast skies. “We have a bunch of track races like this (in the spring) so I’ve kind of become accustomed to it.”

Defibaugh said his motivating factor Saturday was beating a runner he lost to last week.

“There was a particular runner at OVACs that beat me, so I really wanted to beat him today,” the Big Red, who placed first in the OVAC Class 3A meet last Saturday and 8th overall, noted. “I was determined to whatever I had to beat him today, and I did.”

ON THE GIRLS side, Jasmine Arnold may compete for Harrison Central, but the Huskies junior sure likes the course at Buckeye Local. She three-peated with a time of 18:59. Finishing second was River’s Olivia Beard, who clocked in at 19:06.

“I’m really happy. I broke my personal record on this course,” she said with a huge smile. “My old mark was 19:21. I beat it. I’m so happy.”

Arnold, who won the OVAC Class 4A meet last week while placing 13th overall, said she, and Beard, her good friend, followed xxx until about the 2-mile mark. That’s when the Huskie took over.

“It seems like the weather was bad with the cold and rain, but for me, it was perfect,” she advised. “I really love running in the cold.”

As for the team titles, Martins Ferry continued its domination of the event, especially on the girls’ side. Balance was the key for the Purple Riders.

“It was great weather and everyone was PRing today,” she explained. “Luckily, all of our girls and, I think, all of our boys PRd.”

Lewis, an avid runner herself, said running in weather like Saturday was welcoming.

“It can be rough because you’ve been conditioned for hot weather and then you come here on a day like today where it’s cold and can be tough on the lungs,” she noted. “But, actually, I think today (the weather) was perfect.”

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