By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
The track season got off to a fast — and wet— start Saturday when all three Marion County high schools participated in the ConnectBridgeport.com Invitational at the Wayne Jamison Field Complex.
A total of 18 teams competed in the a full day of events. Here’s a few highlights from the Marion County schools.
North Marion passes baton from last season to this season
North Marion enjoyed a lot of success in relay events last season, sending several teams to the state meet. Saturday the Huskies continued that trend.
The 4x100 relay team of McKenzi Fisher, Mariah Dent, Marlee Angelucci and Alexis Hillberry took first place.
Fisher also joined Madison Haught, Lauren Cyphers and Brainne Foley to take second in the shuttle hurdle.
The 4x400 relay team of Hillberry, Madison Haught, Skylah Haught and Taylor Trowbridge placed third to round out the relays.
For Trowbridge, it was just one of three top-six finishes. She added a third-place finish in the 1,600 and a fourth-place finish in the 800.
North Marion coach Keri Bland said she sees a lot of promise in the freshman and hopes she can fill the void created when decorated distance runner Emma Harrison graduated.
“We’re hoping she can bridge the gap with us losing Emma,” said Bland of Trowbridge. “We’re hoping she can step up in distance events.”
Skylah Haught, a qualifier in last year’s state meet, picked up where she left off in the pole vault. She cleared seven feet to place second.
And in the sprints, Angelucci picked up a third-place finish in the 100 meter dash.
The Huskies also got a strong performance out of first-year participant Anna Marie Moscufo.
Moscufo, a second-team all-state basketball star, placed third in the high jump. She also threw over 30 feet in the shot put. Though she didn’t place in this event, the rare combination of jumping and throwing will help the Huskies considerably as the season progresses.
“She came out and blew us away in the high jump,” Bland said.
On the boys’ side, the Huskies’ 4x100 team of Andy Moore, Justin Wheeler, Jerad Hidalgo and Cody Colisino placed fifth.
“As the season opener, it was a really good first meet,” said Bland. “I’m looking to improve from today, and today was already a good start.”
Fairmont Senior breaks personal, meet records
Fairmont Senior set the bar high in the first meet, breaking some personal and meet bests.
Daquan Hilson threw a personal record 46 feet, 7 inches to take first in the shot put. Andrew Summers was just behind in third place with a throw of 43 feet, 1 inch.
The record continued to fall in the track events. Neil Scherich set a meet record in high hurdles with a time of 15.3 seconds.
Andrew Bundy also shaved about half a second off his best time in the 200-meter dash to take fourth.
In the relays, Dakota Mouser, Ben Stewart, Chad Heldreth and Scherich placed first in the shuttle hurdle
Heldreth, Scherich and Stewart also joined Malik Boddy to take first in the 4x100 meter relay.
The 4x200 meter team of Bundy, Boddy, Heldreth and Brent Wyne took third.
But it was the 4x800 meter team that had coach Ken Scherich most satisfied. Running the event for the first time, Stewart and Wyne joined veterans Jacob Van Horn and Matt Strand to take fourth place.
“Those guys really did a great job for their first time,” Scherich said.
On the girls’ side, Shania Riffle cleared five feet to take second in the high jump, and Emily Hershberger placed fifth in the same event.
Junior Taylin Dobbs earned third in the 400-meter dash.
And the shuttle hurdle team, running without a couple of its normal participants, took third. The team was made of up Riffle, Hershberger and freshmen Bethann White and Seneca Williams.
“I knew they’d be fine,” said Fairmont Senior girls’ track coach Mike Burns. “I’m just pleased they stepped up as much as they did.”
Veterans step up for East Fairmont
East Fairmont doesn’t have very many returners from last season’s team, but the few with experience stepped up in a big way Saturday.
Freddy Vincent placed second in the 400-meter dash and tied for third in the 300-meter hurdles. Barron Ford took second in the 200-meter dash. And Patrick Friend got sixth in the 300 meter hurdles.
On the girls side, senior Ashlie Merril took fifth in the 100 meter dash and Macey Nuzum placed second in the 200 meter dash.
The two athletes joined Makenna Murphy and Anastasia Benedum to take fourth in the 4x200 meter relay.
Of the 14 competitors on the girls’ track team just four of them have high school experience. First-year coach Bethany Pleyo said she believes the meet provided good experience for the newcomers.
“In the first month of practice, these girls have seen their fitness levels change week to week,” she said. “Now they need to just get the knowledge to run different events and the discipline to run longer events like the 400, 800 and mile.”
“We still have a lot of work to do,” she added. “I think later on in the year we’ll start to have others stand out as well.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.