CAMERON - Over the creek and through the woods to the finish line they go.
That was the theme Saturday morning as men, women, small kids and bigger kids took part in Cameron's Wet and Wild Cross Country meet deep in the hills of Marshall Country.
Dragons' cross country coach Dave Evans, co-creator and overseer of the event, welcomed another large crowd as races were held in the Open Division, for men and women of any age, small kids, junior high and the main event, the boys' and girls' high school meet.
While there were plenty of ribbons, plaques and awarded handed out, it was Hampshire High School that swept its way to the titles in the boys' and girls' meets.
Hampshire finished 40 points on the girls' side with University second with 88, Charleston Catholic third with 96 and Weir High fourth at 110. The Trojans also took the boys' race with 29 points with the Hawks again second at 63, John Marshall took third with 86 and the Fighting Irish fourth with 103.
Ohio Valley Athletic Conference athletes did well in both races with Oak Glen junior Kelsey Chambers winning the girls' event in 21:19 and the Red Riders' Kristen Mastrantoni third in 21:30.
Cameron Wet and Wild Meet
Boys' Team Scoring
1.Hampshire, 29; 2. University, 63; 3. John Marshall, 86; 4. Charleston Catholic, 103; 5. Oak Glen, 108; 6. Parkersburg South, 119; 7. Sherman, 195; 8. Trinity Christian, 227; 9. Brooke, 236; 10. Wheeling Central, 252; 11. Tyler Consolidated, 263; 12. Weir, 271; 13. Wirt County, 351.
Top 15 Boys' Finishers
1.Marcus Black (CC), 17:58; 2. Casey Feezie (Hamp.), 18:25; 3. Eli Lipps (Hamp.), 18:51; 4. Dylan McKeag (JM), 19:09; 5. Dustin Shannholtz (Hamp.), 19:20; 6. Ethan Malcomb (OG), 19:24; 7. Justin Thompson (PS), 19:25; 8. Brill Dolly (Hamp.), 19:26; 9. Andrew Paladino (U), 19:31; 10. Seth Edwards (U), 19:32; 11. Nathan Coyle (Hamp.), 19:33; 12. Caden McClanahan (CC), 19:41; 13. Reed Phares (U), 19:44; 14. Eric Cappelinni (U), 19:47; 15. Clay Thorn (JM), 19:48.
Girls' Team Scoring
1.Hampshire, 40; 2. University, 88; 3. Charleston Catholic, 96; 4. Weir, 110; 5. Parkersburg South, 112; 6. John Marshall, 116; 7. Oak Glen, 174; 8. Wheeling Central, 177; 9. Tyler Consolidated, 217; 10. Wirt County, 278.
Top 15 Girls' Finishers
1.Kelsey Chambers (OG), 21:19; 2. Ashleigh Martin (Hamp.), 21:23; 3. Kristen Mastrantoni (W), 21:30; 4. Morgan Roach (Hamp.), 21:48; 5. Sarah Wills (U), 22:08; 6. Mary Feaster (Hamp.), 22:30; 7. April Kirk (PS), 22:36; 8. Emily Gordon (WC), 22:43; 9. Alexis Virtue (W), 23:05; 10. Karissa Duke (JM), 23:15; 11. Hannah Surface (ER), 23:21; 12. Amelia Sebok (Sherman), 23:22; 13. Nakia Dornbusch (Hamp.), 23:48; 14. Sydney Doytson (U), 24:04; 15. Katherine Warner (U), 24:38.
Other local runners in the top 15 included University's Sarah Wills (fifth), 22:08, Parkersburg South's April Kirk (seventh), 22:36, Wheeling Central's Emily Gordon (eighth), 22:43, Weir's Alexis Virtue (ninth), 23:05, John Marshall's Karissa Duke (10th), 23:15, East Richland's Hannah Surface (11th), 23:21 and the University duo of Sydney Doytson (14th, 24:04) and Katherine Warner (15th, 24:38).
The Monarchs' Dylan McKeag was fourth on the boys' side in 19:09 with the Golden Bears' Ethan Malcomb sixth in 19:24. Other OVAC top-15 placers included Justin Thompson (seventh) of Parkersburg South in 19:25, University's Andrew Paladino (ninth, 19:31), Seth Edwards (10th, 19:32), Reed Phares (13th, 19:44) and Eric Cappelinni (14th, 19:47) and John Marshall's Clay Thorn, 15th in 19:48.
The 15th annual event, which Evans originated along with former assistant coach Bob Neely in 1998, has grown significantly year in and year out and Evans called the 2012 version a major success.
"Bob and I started this in 1998," Evans said. "It was a lot of work, we had to cut a lot of trees and brush off of the hill and do a bunch to get the course ready. Everything started so small, now it has really grown and we offer so much.
"No school leaves here without some kind or trophy or plaque or something. But make no mistake, we could not do this without all the support we have from the parents, past parents, former runners and just all of the people who don't even have anything to do with school who lend a hand.
"This event is now one of the five or six biggest cross country meets in the entire state and the kids have so much fun. It is the final race of the season before the state meets start next week and we relax the rules a little bit and let them go.
"I know that most of the kids love running through the water holes - that is a big draw. But we also offer so much with the open race and letting the smaller kids get involved, it has just turned into a huge event.
"It normally takes us about two or three weeks to get the course ready, but it is all worth it when it comes time for the races. And the weather (Saturday) is just great. The people love the food, the fun and the atmosphere and I think everyone has a great time."