PHILIPPI - Both Philip Barbour cross country teams came within single digits of capturing Big 10 Conference championships Thursday afternoon.
The Lady Colts fell six points shy of Preston in the girls race (58-52), while a mere three points separated Philip Barbour and Fairmont Senior in the boys race (50-53).
Coach Melissa Kaiser's Lady Colts will begin their Class AA title defense at next week's regionals. The highly competitive Big 10 event was a strong tune up for what they will be facing.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Davis
Elkins High School’s Lea Fedder, left, Buckhannon-Upshur’s Brittany Kelley and Philip Barbour’s Nicole Holliday, right, battle it out during the Big 10 Conference championships at Philip Barbour High School on Thursday.
Brianna Waybright led the Philip Barbour girls by placing third in the 87-runner field, posting a time of 19:41.
Preston's Kaitlyn Workman won the individual title with a time of 19:00, outdistancing runner-up Emma Harrison, who crossed the finish line in 19:36.
Waybright was joined by three teammates in the top 10 - Allison Villers in fifth (19:59), Marissa Long in sixth (20:40) and Katie Mahoney in 10th (21:12).
Buckhannon-Upshur placed third with a team score of 83. Laura Dean led the Lady Bucs with an eighth place finish in 20:57. Two other B-U runners placed in the top 20 as Alexa Bennett placed 11th (21:23) and Gillian Ross 13th (21:29).
Elkins' girls ended the day in ninth place with a score of 199. Hannah Gongola was the lone Lady Tiger in the top 20, racing to 15th place (21:33).
Fairmont Senior's Nick Trefz led the Polar Bears to a team championship in the boys' race. Trefz won the individual title with a solid time of 15:55. He edged Preston's Brody Born (16:17) and Bridgeport's Abe Merinar (16:31).
Elkins placed three runners in the top 20, led by Austin Hamrick's fifth place finish at 17:01. Matt Wallace found the top ten in ninth place (17:31), while Nate Simons finished 16th (18:06).
Philip Barbour earned the runner-up team spot with a tight team pack, placing four runners in the top 15. Scott Nesland placed sixth in 17:08 and was followed closely by teammates Trey Furby in 11th (17:36), Trevor Matko in 13th (17:52) and Tyler Baldwin in 15th (18:00). There were 95 runners in the boys' field.
Buckhannon-Upshur placed sixth as a team, but did not place any runners in the top 20.
This year's Big 10 Conference meet featured several teams that are expected to advance past next week's regionals and into the state meet on Oct. 27.
According to the most recent RunWV.Com state ratings, the Big 10 currently has eight ranked teams.
Girls conference champion, Preston, is ranked sixth in Class AAA, while runner up Philip Barbour holds the top spot in Class AA as they go for a third consecutive title.
Bridgeport's girls are ranked third and North Marion 10th.
The boys race featured the state's top three Class AA teams - No. 1 Fairmont Senior, No. 2 Bridgeport and No. 3 Philip Barbour. East Fairmont holds the number nine spot.