The Times West Virginian

October 31, 2012

FSHS boys add to cross country’s strong tradition in school, county

Times West Virginian

— There’s a strong cross country tradition at Fairmont Senior High School — in fact, all three Marion County high schools.

The Polar Bear boys built solidly on that tradition last Saturday by claiming team and individual titles at the annual state meet at Cabell Midland High School in Ona.

In his school’s first year in Class AA/A, Fairmont Senior’s Nick Trefz won the race with a time of 15:52.20, a course record in the class.

He became the third boys’ individual state champion from FSHS, joining Brian Floyd (1988) and Jay Urse (2000). Other boys from the county winning state titles are North Marion’s Aaron Toothman (1995-96), East Fairmont’s Tyler DeVault (2001) and North Marion’s David Ciacolla (2005). Girls’ state champions from Marion County are Fairmont Senior’s Margaret Blake (1982-83-84), Fairmont Senior’s Suzanne Bitonti (1987), East Fairmont’s Sabrina Swiger (1989), East Fairmont’s Holly Hunter (1996-97-99) and North Marion’s Keri Bland (2004-05).

Trefz stressed the team championship.

“With us winning, it feels like we’re a part of a legacy of good running at Fairmont Senior,” he said. “We will always be remembered for what we did as a team in 2012.”

Trefz’s top competition was Caleb Moore from Doddridge County, who finished the event with a time of 16:04.40.

“Caleb Moore had a heck of a race,” FSHS coach Chris Neptune said. “Both he and Nick broke the previous Class AA course record. He had an excellent race. As for Nick, I wasn’t too concerned with him. He is a great runner, and he was the ring leader every race. It would have taken a miraculous race for somebody to beat him.”

This season’s team title is the fifth for the Polar Bear boys. Others came in 1977, 1988, 1997 and 1999. North Marion’s boys won state championships in 1994, 1995 and 2005. FSHS girls have five team championships (1989, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2005). North Marion won in 1993 and East Fairmont in 1999.

“It feels really good to win a state title,” Neptune said. “I’ve been the coach since 2005, and this is my first title. Every year, we’ve been one of the top teams in Class AAA. We’ve come close a couple of times, but we’ve had a little bit of bad luck, too. We’ve had some injuries that we had to deal with, so we’ve never been able to bring home the title until this year.”

Trefz was the leader for the Polar Bears, and he got plenty of help. Playing a hand in the team’s state championship were Jakeb Van Horn, who placed 17th with a time of 17:38; Josh Parrucci (19), 17:42; Elijah Tipton (25), 17:55; Josh McPherson (30), 18:10; Matt Strand (36), 18:26; and Drew Trefz (47), 18:48.

“I have a really good group of kids,” Neptune said. “We have a lot of talent up top. Nick Trefz is a really talented runner. We have some young guys who really allowed us to take the title with ease. We have a really good combination of runners, which led us to the title.”

The Polar Bears will soon be recognized during a school assembly.

“It’s nice to be appreciated,” Neptune said. “I’m sure the kids will really like that. I know for a fact that they’re excited about it. The school’s shown a lot of support. Our principal Mr. (Chad) Norman was really excited about our win.”

“To get an assembly at our school is a pretty big deal,” Trefz added. “I’m a little bit nervous because I’m not sure of what’s going to happen because I’ve never seen an assembly for a cross country team before. It will definitely be fun.”

The 2012 Polar Bears have certainly added to the cross country tradition that has been a part of their school and Marion County athletics for decades.