TRACK: Mohigans Hold Off Park for 5A Crown

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The OVAC track championship is one that runs in cycles.

Teams usually find their way to multiple championships in a row when they start winning them and this year’s girls’ races proved that philosophy to be 100-percent accurate.

All four of the champions had been to the winners’ circle in the past – three of the four were there last season.

The Morgantown girls, who are coached by Shadyside High School graduate Steven Blinco, proved to be the ultimate cream of the crop.

The Mohigans racked up 143.75 to fight off Wheeling Park for the overall and 5A crown.

Martins Ferry’s girls, who were the reigning overall champions, scored 93 points and repeated as the Class 4A champion.

River, which hadn’t won an OVAC team title since 1986, finally got over the hump and captured the 3A banner, scoring 61 points.

And all St. John Central does is win girls’ track titles. The Irish finished sixth overall with 66.5 points and knocked off Steubenville Central by 13. The title is the 12th straight for the Irish.

  • In Class 5A, Morgantown rode the speed factor to victory. Senior speedster Natasha Trott claimed both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, running 12.29 and 25.89, respectively.

The Mohigans also won the 400 relay, scored well in distance and in the field to earn the repeat in the big-school division.

Coach Russell Hutchins’ Wheeling Park team was led by a victory in the 800 relay. The foursome of Nakysha McGhee, Rakedra Webb, Chloe Robb and Ashley Grove turned in an 1:45.56 for the gold.

The Patriots also claimed the shuttles. The team of Jazzlynn Hall, Cristin Dolan, Kayley Miller and Tamara Bumgardner turned in a 66.35 to prevail.

John Marshall had a strong meet as well. Freshman Tori Derrow turned in a personal-best time of 14.82 to win the 100-meter high hurdles.

Senior Ashley Haught captured the 400 meter dash in a time of 58.02.

Edison’s Katelyn Pollock won the high jump

  • In Class 4A, Coach Rich Materkoski’s Riders have been the area’s premier team all season and showed that to be true again.

The Riders had a strong week of qualifying and used their depth to run away and hide from the balance of the 4A field despite not winning an overall title.

The Riders scored well in a bevy of places. They received their highest scoring in the pole vault where senior ace Courtney Crolley was second with a 10-foot clearance.

All of the Riders’ relays finished inside of the top six and the usual suspects such as Sunshine Wrenn, Taylr Jenkins, Tyesha Allen, Sarah Applegarth and Nikki Allen all posted solid individual finishes.

St. Clairsville’s girls finished a solid fifth overall. The Red Devils were fueled by three individual champions.

Senior Alyssa Robinson continued to prove she’s the premier thrower in the Ohio Valley. Robinson, who is headed to Penn State University, posted a double gold performance in leading the Red Devils.

The reigning Division II state shot put champion made the most of her final OVAC meet, re-writing the meet recordbook in her specialty. She launched the iron ball to a mark of 46-7 1/2, which is an all-time Ohio Valley record, meet record and stadium record, on her final throw of the meet. That mark is a personal best by an inch.

Robinson’s slump hadn’t carried over to the discus ring, but she erased that as well when she captured the discus title with a mark of 110-1.

St. Clairsville’s other champion came in the 3200 meter run. Senior standout Julianna Madzia turned in a meet-record 11:09.25. Her time was a meet record.

Steubenville’s Elise Watts captured long jump title, marking the pit at 17-1.

  • In Class 3A, the River Pilots claimed the top prize for the first time in more than 20 years as rookie coach Bob Cicogna’s team scored an impressive 61 points, with standout Cassidy McCullough leading the way. McCullough left with four medals around her neck, including another gold in the 300 meter low hurdles.

The defending state champion in the event, McCullough skimmed eight hurdles in 46.26 to win by nearly two full seconds.

Along with her low hurdle victory, McCullough was third in the 100 (12.60), second in the 200 (26.18) and third in the long jump (16-5 1/4).

  • In Class 1A/2A, the St. John Central Irish must have known it was Kentucky Derby day Saturday because they rode their horses to victory.

Coach Paul Xenakis led the Irish to yet another title thanks to big points from sophomore Fallon Doyle in the distance races and splendid frosh Jessica Alvey in the sprints.

Doyle, who was an all-Ohioan last season, captured her first, and second, OVAC title in impressive fashion. After running 5:07.66 to claim gold in the 1600 meter run, Doyle came back a short-time later and turned in an impressive 2:21.06 to claim the 800 title and basically push the Irish to the top of the small-school leaderboard for good.

Alvey got the Irish started in the morning field events when she finished second in the long jump (16-8). She then placed third in a deep and loaded 400-meter dash field in a time of 59.11. Plus, she was eighth in the 200.

The Irish 1600 team placed fifth overall to close the deal.

Steubenville Central’s 1600 team of Taylor Zapolnik, Moriah Vosteen, Kara Kakascik and Michaela Gotta posted a 4:06.96 to win the final girls’ event of the meet.