ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Winning a championship is sweet, doing so at home is even sweeter. A school’s boys and girls teams both winning a championship cannot be beaten, as the St. Clairsville track teams discovered first-hand at the OVAC Cal Griffin Track Championship Saturday.
Competing in their home Red Devil Stadium, both St. Clairsville teams claimed Class 4A trophies Saturday with the girls scoring 144 points to top second-place Oak Glen.
“It’s exciting,” said coach Tony Ciroli. “I was nervous and I think the kids were nervous. After doing this for too many years, you’d think that nervousness would go away. They want to win and I want to win just as much as they do. For boys and girls to come out and win, that’s just sweet.”
Ciroli said both teams winning at home, in front of so many parents and St. Clairsville residents, made the whole event even better.
“To do it at home is special,” he said. “A lot of the people that come and work our meets and that are in the stands are locals.
“It makes it feel like a real celebration.”
Leading the way for the Red Devils was senior Emily Thompson, who individually won the pole vault (11-6), 100 hurdles (16.43) and was on the winning 4×100 relay team (52.21). Thompson set a new OVAC Class 4A record in the pole vault during the qualifying meet on Monday.
“I talk to the athletes sometimes about peaks and valleys,” Ciroli said. “We spend a little bit of time at the top of the peak and a little bit of time at the bottom of the valley, but we spend a lot of time in the area in between. I think it’s one of those things where she’s at a really nice peak this week.”
Joining Thompson on the 4×100 team were Madie Stock, Haven Brak and Emma Henry. Brak and Henry also won the 4×200 relay with Laili Dombroski and Lauren Powell in 1:51.22.
St. Clairsville also had wins in the 3200 (14:32.04) from Luci Banks and in the 4×800 relay (11:21.69) by Megan Malin, Angel Heatherington, Allyson Evonek and Lacy Tuttle.
The Golden Bears finished as runners-up with 74 points.
They were led by meet MVP Kami Ward, who won the 100, 200 and 400. The sophomore ran the 100 in 12.64, the 200 in 26.49 and the 400 in 1:00.11.
Oak Glen also had wins from Kensington McConnachie in the long jump (16-0) and Hannah Kliner in the 1600 (5:40.21).
Weir’s Kendall Drobish won both throwing events, taking the shot put (30-9.5) and discus (108-7). Teammate Naomi Young won the 800 in 2:27.69.
After returning most of last year’s championship team, Catholic Central coach Bob Stanko felt pretty good about his team’s chances of repeating as Class 1A/2A champs this year.
“We knew coming off of last year that we had most of our kids coming back and we would have a pretty good shot,” Stanko said. “But of course, it’s a different year and a different dynamic for many teams.”
The Crusaders leaned on the strength of their hurdlers and relay teams, particularly on senior Clara Symington, who won all four events she participated in.
“Clara is very determined and she works very, very hard,” Stanko said. “She leads our team in a lot of different ways. She pounds at those hurdles every single day in practice. She studies her opponents so that when she gets into a race, she’ll know what she’s up against. Having someone like that who prepares very well, the other kids see that and they get into it.”
Symington individually won the 100 hurdles (15.63) and 300 hurdles (46.79) and was on the teams that won the 4×200 relay (46.79) and 4×400 relay (4:19.93). Central also took the 4×800 relay (10:44.27).
Joining Symington on the 4×200 relay were Theresa Kerker, Rebecca Bolster and Kathryn Bolster. Kathryn Bolster and Kerker were also on the 4×400 team, along with Symington and Elizabeth Schmiesing. The 4×800 team was composed of Jackie Okarma, Ella Maragos, Carolyn Kuebler and Kathryn Bolster.
“You’ve got to maximize your points in the events that you’re in and we did that (Saturday),” Stanko said. “In the 4×800, our girls went from third on Tuesday to coming in first (Saturday).”
Fort Frye won the Class 3A title with 100 points, followed by Magnolia (96) and Linsly (89).
The Blue Eagles racked up five event wins, led by Jaci Rohde and Jenna Blain. Rohde, a senior, won the long jump (16-5.25) and 100 (12.89) while the sophomore Blain won the 300 hurdles (48.80) and was on the winning 4×100 shuttle hurdle relay (1:12.6) and 4×200 relay (1:53.09) teams.
Buckeye Local had a winner in Rylee Glover, who won the 200 in 26.98.
Morgantown broke a streak of three straight wins by Wheeling Park, edging the Patriots out of first place 129 points to 116.
Park won five events. Jai’lah Walker won the high jump (5-3), Lily Hanna won the 300 hurdles (49.92), Sophia Abraham won the 100 hurdles (15.96) and Abby Barki won the 400 (1:01.81). The Patriots also took first in the 4×100 shuttle hurdles relay (1:10.83) with a team of Abraham, Hanna, Caroline L’Ecuyer and Savannah Turner Davis.
Steubenville finished in third with 96 points.
Sophomore Sabria Jones won the long jump (16-10) while Amya Livingston won the shot put (41-11.5) and discus (109-08) and Isabella Yetts won the 200 (27.11).
The team of Mya Stackhouse, Madalyn Criss, Yetts and Jones won the 4×200 relay with a time of 1:48.82.