ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference wrapped up its five-day stay Saturday at Red Devil Stadium, crowning its track and field champions for the 2013 season.
Times were fast, distances were far and heights were high as more than 40 schools locked horns for the course of 18 events to decide who was the best in the conference and some familiar names, both individually and in the team rankings, proved to be the cream of the crop again.
The Wheeling Park Patriots, who won only one event, captured the 5A and overall title with 104.5 points. Linsly was second overall and won the 3A title in the process, posting 79.5.
Steubenville’s JaQuan Lavender, Clay-Battelle’s Nathan Tolley, and St. John’s Garrett Holubeck compete in the 400-meter dash on Saturday.
As many expected, an event-for-event battle developed in Class 4A, which put five teams inside the overall top 10. However, when the dust settled it was Meadowbrook, which outlasted Martins Ferry, despite the Purple Riders' meet-high five championships, 78-75.5.
In the small-school battle, relative OVAC newcomer Clay-Battelle claimed the team title with 38.5 points, which was five ahead of defending Class 1A champion Valley.
The Patriots proved it to be a team sport by the fact that they scored in 14 events, including capping the title when the team of Jaleel Brown, Maurice Miller, Austin Farley and Brandon Porter posted a 3:31.93 to win the 1600 relay crown.
Park managed to finish second in the shuttles, 300 hurdles (Farley), 800, high hurdles (Farley), 3200 relay and pole vault (Chase Bonar).
The Colts, however, led the way and claimed the school's third OVAC title and first since 2008 with the win.
Meadowbrook, which won the first event of the day thanks to sophomore Darren McCaughan in the long jump, had to overcome the Purple Riders' impressive showing that was highlighted by four victories and a runner-up finish.
The Purple Riders, didn't score a point in a distance event, got off to a strong start thanks to an 18.5 point day from senior standout Sean McGee. He defended his shot put title with a meet-record toss of 53-feet, 8 1/2-inches. He was second in the discus with a twirl of 151-2.
Senior Cody Schau continued to be the area's premier high jumper. He won the title by soaring over 6 foot for the gold.
On the track, the Purple Riders turned to the speed foursome of Styles, Hunter Hill, Andrew Watts and Jack Fitch. The quartet turned in a 1:32.32 to re-write the OVAC recordbook and take the 800-meter gold.
A short-time later, the same foursome turned in a 44.30 to win the 400 relay.
Other overall champions that came from Class 4A included Steubenville's shuttle team of Michael Diaz, Joey Nodianos, Oko Anyabwile and Garon Lytle. The team posted a sizzling 58.66 to prevail.
St. Clairsville senior Drake Walker, who won the 800 title last season, added the 1600-meter gold to his collection, with a meet-record 4:28.33 to prevail.
The Red Devils' junior speedster Jaylon Brown notched his first individual OVAC title. He posted a 10.89 to edge Big Red junior Robert Hayden, who won the slower heat in 10.91, for the title. Brown was scratched from the 200 after experiencing tightness in his hamstring.
Fueling the Cadets was a 1-2 finish in the 200 meter dash. Jamal Ebanks ran the half-lap dash in 22.95, which just edged out senior teammate Chinello Oparanozie.
The Cadets' speed also led them to a third-place finish in the 800 relay.
The team of Robert Felton, Mike Hammond, Zak Kriechbaum and Ebanks posted a 1:35.11.
The runner-up Shamrocks were led by an individual champion. Senior Jacob Anderson, who is the area's premier 300 meter hurdler, provided the spark. The West Liberty signee re-wrote the intermediate hurdle record book when he posted a 39.
Leading the way was the individual championship of Nathan Tolley in the 400-meter dash.
Runner-up Valley received a strong meet from senior standout Spencer Mason in the throwing events to finish a close second. St. John Central Garrett Holubeck turned in a fine 50.79 clocking to finish second in the 400.