Until the middle of August, it was unknown whether there would be cross country for scholastic athletes across the state of Ohio this year.
Once the announcement was made by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that sports could proceed this fall under strict protocols and guidelines due to COVID-19, many cross country teams were left adjusting the schedules due to limited capacity at some meets and others being canceled completely.
Locally, teams from Piketon and Waverly started their seasons at the Huntington Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 29.
In the high school boys competition, the Waverly Tigers placed five runners in the top 20 to secure the team title with 40 points, while finishing ahead of eight other teams. Waverly sophomore Mitch Green ran away with the win individually, taking the top spot in 17:25.56, more than a minute ahead of the runner-up, South Gallia senior Garrett Frazee.
Junior Jack Monroe crossed the line next in 19:16.76, followed by A.J. Sibole (11th, 19:45.89), Aidan Kelly (12th, 19:56.65) and Ty Reisinger (30th, 20:48.5). Rounding out the placements for the Tigers were Grant Noel (49th, 24:05.2) and Alex Stoller (59th, 25:16.23).
The Piketon Redstreaks finished ninth overall with 196 points. Freshman Josh Richmond led the way, taking 34th in 22:02.2. He was followed by Wyatt Fout (38th, 23:09.88), Brandt Thompson (47th, 24:04.43), Tyler Sowards (48th, 24:04.7) and Gary Richmond (70th, 29:44.55).
In the high school girls competition, Vinton County won the team title with 30 points, followed by Huntington as the runner-up with 41 points. East Clinton was third with 88 points, followed by Piketon (117), Southeastern (139), Paint Valley (142) and Waverly (147). Individually, River Valley junior Lauren Twyman won the race in 21:14.88.
For the Piketon Lady Redstreaks, sophomore Kenzie Mays brought home fifth to lead her team, finishing the course in 24:01.74. Addison Johnson was next, taking 27th in 28:24.6. Taylor Wagner (43rd, 31:07.21) and Kalyn Mays (44th, 31:10.30) crossed the line close together, followed by Shelby Carrico (58th, 35:31.57), Gracie Hablitzel (60th, 36:53.26) and Izzy Hablitzel (62nd, 38:35.93).
For the Waverly Lady Tigers, Julia Clark led the charge, taking 21st in 27:02.61. The next five runners were close together, including Olivia Russell (48th, 31:22.62), Jenna Thompson (49th, 31:22.78), Hannah Swinning (53rd, 32:42.82), Hannah Remy (54th, 33:19.23), and Shelby Blanton (55th, 33:42.31).
In the junior high boys competition, Bishop Flaget took the team title with 21 points, followed by Vinton County. Piketon finished fifth as a team with 107 points, while Waverly was sixth with 115 points.
For Piketon, Leighton Kelly led the way, finishing 14th in 15:20.87. He was followed by Grayson Roberts (21st, 16:35.57), Connor McGlone (27th, 17:21.63), Nathaniel Shrum (41st, 19:03.08), Mason Roberts (44th, 21:05.55), Hayden Klinker (50th, 23:13.83) and Bo Henry (53rd, 26:36.8).
For Waverly, Lane Bear led the way by taking 11th in 14:55.66. He was followed by Sam Walsh (29th, 17:26.39), Zarian Canter (37th, 18:36.78), Jeremiah Miller (38th, 18:39.89), Max Monroe (45th, 21:31.54) and Eli Hobbs (47th, 21:37.12).
In the junior high girls competition, Paint Valley took the team title with 36 points, followed by Vinton County with 55 points. Waverly was fourth overall with 90 points.
The Lady Tigers were led by Mallory Roberts, who finished 12th in 18:45.41. She was followed by Quinn Shaffer (13th, 19:08.34), Carly Dixon (29th, 22:40.99), Caitlyn Dyke (32nd, 25:32.42) and Hadlee Carsey (38th, 31:03.7).
Piketon had one individual runner competing. Jlynn Risner finished 19th overall in 20:23.88.
Waverly will host Piketon, Eastern and others on Saturday, Sept. 12 in a home meet at Bristol Park.