By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
WHITE HALL —
Fans, runners, coaches and parents gathered at Apple Valley for the Times Invitational that brought junior high and high school teams from all over together for a morning of fun-filled running.
After the junior high action, the high schoolers took to the course, which came out to be a 5K for the runners.
The girls ran first, and it was a strong showing for Marion County as each team placed in the top five with East Fairmont (60) taking third, North Marion (79) fourth and Fairmont Senior (99) fifth.
North Marion freshman Taylor Trowbridge led the way for Marion County, placing fourth overall with a time of 23:22.
“I’m just really competitive with cross country,” Trowbridge said. “I want to go to states and train hard for regionals so I try to stay up high in these races.”
Josie Jones also placed for North, coming in 14th with a time of 25:41.
Not far behind her was Bethany McPherson of Fairmont Senior, who finished eighth with a time of 24:32.
“We’re all improving with each meet,” McPherson said. “Whenever I see someone ahead of me, I try to get closer to them and push myself.”
Freshman Bailey Baker rounded out the top 10 and led East Fairmont with a time of 24:44.
“I set my goals before a race, and I try to keep up with those goals,” Baker said. Her goal was to get top 10 and she succeeded by placing 10th.
Mikayla Moore (24:51) took 11th and Cierra Kendall (25:41) took 13th for the Bees.
Alicia Parsons of Grafton would win the race and lead Grafton to an overall win as she finished with a time of 21:10.
Fairmont Senior took first place in the boys’ meet, with a slew of runners finishing in the top 10.
Jakeb Van Horn took home third place after finishing with an 18:45.
“I just try to stay to the front as much as I can,” Van Horn said. “We’re really strong. This year we’ve had to step it up and train harder.”
Fairmont Senior also had Matt Strand (19:19, sixth), Drew Trefz (19:30, eighth), Gage Clemens (19:38, 10th), Justin Okel (19:46, 12th) and Zack Linger (19:51, 13th) place in the top 15 as they took home the win with 39 overall points.
North Marion’s Richie Stalnaker (19:40) placed 11th and paced the Huskies as they finished fifth overall with 118 points.
“It’s really nice to get North Marion higher up in the rankings again,” Stalnaker said. “I was hoping to really improve a lot. This was one of my best.”
East Fairmont’s Jacob Morris finished just .04 seconds shy of placing as he finished 16th with a time of 20:01. The Bees finished sixth overall with 155 total points.
Cody Gillespie of Oak Glen won the boys’ race with a time of 18:18.
The younger runners, who took to the course first, were led by Suncrest Middle and Park Middle.
Alia King from Suncrest was the top runner for the junior varsity girls with a time of 15:53 while Christian Alicea from Park won for the junior varsity boys with a time of 14:32.
For the varsity junior high race, Amber Dombrowski from Suncrest finished first with a time of 14:10. Hannah Floyd of West Fairmont and Olga Hawranick of East Fairmont both placed in the top 10 from Marion County with a 14:43 and a 15:00 respectively. West Fairmont finished fourth overall with 137 points and East Fairmont finished sixth with 165 points.
For the boys, Chris Barbera from Park won with a time of 12:40. East Fairmont had three boys who placed in the top 10 as Mark Ellis (13:10) took fifth, Dylan Parr (13:16) took seventh, and Blake Ashcraft (13:17) took eighth. East Fairmont took second overall with a score of 47. West Fairmont placed sixth overall with 175 points.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.