Ferry boys, Barnesville girls win Belmont County CC titles
MORRISTOWN — Martins Ferry and Barnesville boast two of the more storied cross country programs in Belmont County.
The two added another chapter to their success stories Wednesday afternoon at Union Local High School.
The Purple Rider boys continued their pack running en route to finishing with 31 points, which was 34 fewer than runner-up St. Clairsville.
The Shamrocks’ girls squad, which features a youthful lineup made up of numerous freshmen, showed glimpses of what might be coming down the road for Coach Mark Brown’s program. Barnesville finished with 50 points, which was 18 better than runner-up River.
The Purple Riders made it back-to-back Wednesday victories on the Jets’ course after they claimed the Buckeye 8 title there a week ago.
“We ran pretty well,” Ferry head coach Chrissy Lewis said. “Our goal was to have people drop time from last week and for the most part that happened. They all basically dropped time well today.”
The Purple Riders placed all five of their scorers inside the overall top 10.
Junior Francis Toohey was the top Purple finisher, crossing in third place in a time of 17:24.
Following him in fourth was Elijah Smith, who finished five seconds later. Wyatt Wodarczyk was sixth overall and third on his team with a time of 17:42.
Trent Lewis was eighth in 17:59, while Mitch Tickerhoof was 10th in 18:02.
Bellaire senior Jacob Defibaugh, who won the individual Buckeye 8 title last week, got back to his winning ways after finishing fourth at a meet last weekend at Fort Frye.
Defibaugh — a returning All-Ohioan — finished with a time of 16:44 in a wire-to-wire victory.
“I figured I’d run (this course) the same way I ran it last week,” Defibaugh said. “I wanted to create a bit of a gap and really just kind of pull away through the woods. My mentality changed once the season started and the workouts and races have just start clicking. I ran about 12 seconds faster than I did last week, so I am pleased with that, too.”
Barnesville’s Tyler Jenkins was impressive, finishing second behind Defibaugh with a time of 17:12.
St. Clairsville’s Hunter Tomich was fifth in 17:37, while Union Local’s Shawn Coe was seventh in 17:57. St. C.’s Zack Riffle was ninth in 18:02.
The Shamrocks’ girls have good numbers and they’re showing they have talent, too. Barnesville finished with five scorers inside the overall top 20 en route to the team crown.
“We have four freshmen in our top seven and they’re really starting to come on,” Barnesville veteran head coach Mark Brown said. “It’s been an adjustment coming up from the junior high. They’ve handled it pretty well. It’s been several years since we’ve won this, so it’s nice for the kids.”
Fueling the Shamrocks charge was Aubrey Johnson, who finished with a 21:14 for third place. Marah Bethel was seventh overall in 21:48.
Other Shamrock scorers included: Emma Helmick (11th), Ayla Yater (24:22) and Jordyn Strous (17th).
The individual title went to Martins Ferry’s Josie Hancock. The personable sophomore crossed in a solid time of 20:38 for her first career victory in cross.
“I’d never won a race before, so this is super exciting and plus, I almost ran a (personal record time),” Hancock said. “This course is really hard and it was muddy down in the woods, so I was a little nervous, but I just kept pushing and pushing. I really like where I am at this point because I didn’t run a P.R. until the end of the year and I was so close to it (Wednesday).”
Ferry’s Hannah Hupp was eighth overall in 22:02.
River was led by freshman Mara Beard, who placed second in 20:56.
St. Clairsville had a pair of runners crack the top 10. Allyson Evonek was fourth in 21:23, while senior Maggie Marody was sixth in 21:41.
Union Local’s Madi Sells was ninth in 22:51, while Shadyside’s Kenzy Beckett was 10th in 22:52.