Shadyside’s Chase Stewart, Wheeling Park’s Beighley Ayers Captain First All-Valley Cross Country Teams
Chase Stewart, Shadyside
Chase Stewart is the epitome of what a competitive runner is. And in order to be competitive, you have to be determined. The plan was set in motion one year ago when Stewart finished 40th at regionals, missing out on running in the state meet. The first thing he said to coach Jenna Coyne, “Now I know my goal for next year.” Fast forward to 2017, and he accomplished that goal. Stewart made it to the Ohio High School Athletic Association state cross country meet where he finished 84th as he clocked in with a time of 17:18.
“Chase had a stellar season,” Coyne said. “His confidence and positive attitude not only helped him to be successful, but created a positive atmosphere as well. He is dedicated to running and dedicated to the program. Chase set goals and accomplished them one at a time.”
During the regular season, he tallied a victory at the John Marshall Invitational (17:24).
Making it to the state meet in Ohio is a difficult task, however, his journey to there may be more impressive. The junior won the district meet at Cambridge clocking in at 16:43, seven seconds faster than second place. At regionals, he placed fifth, clocking in at 16:40.69.
With one final season as a Tiger, Stewart will no doubt be aiming for another trip to National Trail Raceway.
Beighley Ayers, Wheeling Park
Very few runners can say they’ve had a career that Wheeling Park’s Beighley Ayers had. Basically a household name when she was a freshman, Ayers had high expectations for her final season as a Patriot, especially after an impressive junior outing where she finished fourth at the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission Class AAA Cross Country Championship.
Running in arguably the toughest region in West Virginia, she clocked in at 20:44.50, good enough for ninth place and helped her team make it back to the state meet. Earlier in the year, she also placed third in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference meet (18:18).
But there’s more to it than that. Not only is Ayers a dedicated runner, she is also a dedicated student.
“If you read over all that she’s done – Two-time captain, two-time all-state, third overall in the 3200 at the state track meet, seventh in her class right now, 4.78 GPA — It’s so impressive,” Wheeling Park coach Jacob Galik said. “And she’s a good person, too. She goes out of her way to help people. She volunteers. She’s a genuinely, genuinely good girl. A good person.
“She has been the best runner at Wheeling Park since her freshman year and that’s a lot of responsibility and she met it at every turn.”
Finally, in her last cross country race in a Wheeling Park uniform, she put a cap on a stellar career. Ayers finished in ninth place with a time of 19:10.51 securing all-state honors. After a remarkable career, Ayers has decided to further her academic and athletic careers at Eastern Kentucky University.
Jared Ullom, Wheeling Park
If you look up dedication in the dictionary, you may find Jared Ullom’s head shot as the definition. The first step with his dedication was even before the season started. In two years of summer conditioning, he never missed a day. To take that one step further, on days before school he would get up at 4 a.m. and run, even with him having practice in the afternoon.
The hard work paid off for the senior as he qualified to the state meet as an individual, placing ninth at the regional meet in 17:34.15. At Ona, he ran his fastest time clocking in at 17:20.15 in his swan song. Ullom also won the Wheeling Park Invitational, clocking in with a time of 17:43.02.
Michael Herriman, Wheeling Park
When you finish top 20 in the conference meet and top 15 in regionals, it can be noted that it was a successful season. That’s exactly what Michael Herriman did. Running in arguably the best region in the state, he capped off a stellar career as a Patriot as he crossed the finish line in 12th place with a time of 18:06 at the regional meet. The senior was also impressive at OVACs. In a field of 227 runners, Herriman was 16th, breaking the 17-minute barrier with a time of 16:54.
Corbin Rutan, Wheeling Park
After a successful junior season, Corbin Rutan came into the 2017 season with a small target on his back. That did not phase the senior one bit. And like a pair of his teammates, he was able to finish in the top 20 at OVACs and top 15 at regionals.
At the conference meet, he finished right behind Herriman as he placed 17th, crossing the finish line in a time of 16:54. The same can be said about regionals when the senior clocked in with an 18:12, good enough for 13th place to cap of his final race as a Patriot.
Quintin Thomas, Wheeling Central
Even though he’s only in his second season of running, you would think Wheeling Central’s Quintin Thomas has been doing it for a majority of his life. Right when he stepped foot on the course, Thomas was a force to be reckoned with. Last year, in his first season as a cross country runner, Thomas qualified to the state meet. This year, he proved that it was no fluke. Securing an eighth-place finish at regionals in a time of 17:52, the Maroon Knight punched his ticket to Ona for the second year in a row.
Thomas was impressive turning in a 17:45.34 performance, good enough for 25th place and a solid way to end his junior campaign.
Marcus Clark had an impressive final season as a Purple Rider. In a time of 17:09.60, Clark finished sixth at the district meet in Cambridge to qualify for the regional meet. His season came to an end one meet short of state where he crossed the finish line in a time of 18:08.97 to cap his prep cross country career.
He was All-OVAC, All-OVCCL and All-District.
Spencer Corley, Tyler Consolidated
Making the transition from middle school to high school no matter the circumstances can be extremely nerve-racking and can take some time getting used to change. For Tyler Consolidated’s Spencer Corley, however, making the jump from middle school cross country to high school was no sweat and has already put his name on the map.
Corley qualified to the state meet in his first varsity season with a sixth-place finish at regionals (17:46) and the first local runner to cross the finish line. The freshman finished his first prep campaign finishing 30th in a time of 17:50.17 at state
Nathan Atkinson, Oak Glen
The leader of the Golden Bears, Nathan Atkinson had a banner season. At OVACs the junior finished 25th in Class 4A to earn All-OVAC with a time of 17:22. Good times kept on coming for Atkinson during the regional meet when he crossed the finished line at the 18:10 mark (17th place), giving him the opportunity to run at the state meet.
Atkinson capped his season with a 64th place finish at Ona (18:43). He is also a two-sport athlete and plays soccer in the fall along with running 3.1 mile course on Saturdays.
Zac Orzolek, St. Clairsville
Even though its only the beginning of November, Zac Orzolek has had a busy fall. Along with running cross country, the Red Devils junior finds time to play soccer. Orzolek, however, has garnered some medals along the way in 2017. To start off, he helped the Red Devils win the OVCCL meet at Buckeye Local in August where he ran to his first victory clocking in at 16:48.
About a week later, he won on the same course during the Buckeye 8 Invitational running to a time of 16:35.
During the postseason, Orzolek qualified to regionals as he ran to a 23rd place finish at districts in a time of 17:48.3. The junior campaign ended at Pickerington as he finished 60th (17:40.19).
Sam Wehr, Barnesville
The senior had an impressive postseason as he placed ninth at districts to help Barnesville qualify for the regional meet. Sam Wehr ran the 3.1 mile course in a time of 17:34.9.
He also led the way at regionals securing 46th place and clocking in at 17:50.40.
What makes his accomplishments even more impressive this season, was he overcame a small leg injury that had him out in a couple of races.
Isabella Disaia, Wheeling Park
Isabella Disaia was another key component to the Wheeling Park girls’ success this year. And the sophomore came up big during an important meet. Disaia, who had been running alongside Ayers all season, led the Patriots at regionals to a fourth-place finish as she crossed the finish line at 19:58.81. During the OVAC meet, she placed fourth overall with a time of 18:21.
Disaia is the perfect example of a sound athlete as she lets her performance do the talking.
Just missing out on all-state, the sophomore finished 12th in Ona, clocking in at 19:25.61.
Katie James, Shadyside
Katie James had a season to remember for the Tigers. First and foremost, the sophomore won the Ohio Valley Cross Country League meet at Barnesville on Aug. 31 by 17 seconds. During the OVAC meet, she turned in an all-conference performance as she finished 23rd clocking in at 20:17.
In arguably her most impressive race of the season, James led the Tigers to a third place finish at the district meet while she also was the third to cross the finish line (20:20).
Her and the Tigers’ journey continued at regionals where James qualified to the OHSAA state meet, placing 13th in a time of 20:17.44.
At state, she concluded her sophomore campaign finished 97th (20:55.6).
Olivia Beard, River
Another sophomore that has been able to get her name out there is River’s Olivia Beard. She claimed all-conference when she finished 26th at the OVAC meet while also putting together an impressive performance at the district meet. She led the way for the Pilots and finished fourth en route to a time of 20:37.
Beard just missed out on the state meet, but still put up an impressive effort at regionals where she finished 22nd in a time of 20:35.90.
Olivia Walton, Martins Ferry
No matter what sport it is, it’s always tough to come back from an injury. But when an athlete has great motivation, it only makes their story even sweeter. For Martins Ferry’s Olivia Walton, she did just that. Because of a knee injury, she had to sit out track season last spring. And Walton came out stronger because of he motivation. She received multiple awards such as All-OVAC, All-OVCCL and All-District.
Walton qualified to the regional meet after placing 18th at districts (20:29).
Jahnvi Duncan, Tyler Consolidated
Going into 2017, one thing most likely was kept in the back of Jahnvi Duncan’s mind from the year before. During regionals, she finished two spots behind from going to state. That’s all the motivation she needed. After qualifying for the state meet in track last spring, Duncan managed to get to Ona her senior year.
Duncan punched her ticket to the state meet with a 16th place finish (22:13). In Ona, she crossed the finish line 61st.
Katrina Davis, Bellaire
After sporting a solid freshman season, Katrina Davis was hungry for more success for her and her team. She helped lead the Big Reds to a 3A OVAC Championship where she received all-conference placing 36th overall and second in 3A (21:11). At districts, she secured a top 10 finish placing sixth in a time of 21:11 as Bellaire placed fourth as a team. At regionals, she ran to a time of 21:58.
Some of her accomplishments on the year include Division III Eastern Ohio District All-Star and All Academic Eastern District All-Star.
Jasmine Arnold, Harrison Central
What a year Jasmine Arnold had in her first varsity season. The freshman finished 12th overall at the OVAC meet in a time of 19:36. as she was the first Ohio runner to cross the finish line.
What’s even more impressive, she made it to the OHSAA state meet. After finishing 10th at districts (19:36), she cruised through regionals placing 15th in a time of 19:36.79.
Arnold wrapped up her season with a 58th place (19:47) finish at the state cross country championship.