By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
WHITE HALL —
Marion County middle school cross country runners on Monday took to the course at Trinity Assembly of God for the last time this season.
For some, it would be the last race of their middle school careers. For others, they were just wrapping up their first season as a runner. For all, the celebration of finishing the race was a must.
The celebration for one team, though, echoed through the hills of the course as East Fairmont swept the competition as a team in both races.
West Fairmont’s Hannah Floyd would spoil the overall sweep for East by winning the individual race for the girls’ side.
Floyd finished well ahead of the rest of the pack, running a 14:26. The next closest runner logged a 14.52.
The seventh-grader is now a two-time county champion.
“It was important because last year was my first year running,” Floyd said. “I really want to win all three years of my running, so it was important for me to come back and try hard and win this year.”
Floyd said she’s seen improvements in some courses and in some cases even shaved a minute off her times.
She says her goal now is to come back next year and to make her winning streak complete with a three-peat.
“I definitely want to come back and try to win again next year,” she said.
East Fairmont placed five girls in the top 15 to take the meet as a team. West Fairmont finished second after placing four girls in the top 15. And Mannington took third after placing three girls in the top 15.
For the boys’ side, East Fairmont nearly finished with a perfect score.
Again it was a West Fairmont runner who spoiled the fun for East, but they were still able to place four runners in the top four spots for the overall win.
Mark Ellis was the top runner, running a 12:36.
Ellis capped off his final season of junior high cross country on a high note with the win.
“It was very important to me,” Ellis said.
Ellis said that he’s improved a lot over the past three seasons and that the win meant a lot to his dedication.
“Last year I didn’t even win any races at all,” he said.
Now Ellis will set his sights on high school running: “I’ll be trying to win a race in high school now.”
After East, which placed seven runners in the top 15, it was West, which took second by placing five runners in the top 15. Fairmont Catholic took third by placing three boys in the top 15.
The race concludes the season for the junior high teams and many gathered around to end the season with photos, hugs and laughs.
East Fairmont’s teams ended their season by dumping the water cooler on their coach just before the awards were given out.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.