ONA - The Philip Barbour girls cross country team placed three runners in the top 10 Saturday morning, leading the Lady Colts to their third consecutive Class AA-A state championship.
The trio of Brianna Waybright, Allison Villers and Marissa Long led the charge on a historic day for Philip Barbour.
The Lady Colts became the first team to three-peat at the girls' Class AA-A state cross country meet. Coach Missy Kaiser was named the state Coach of the Year.
"It was a lot closer than it was in past years, and we didn't know we had it won until the results were posted," Kaiser said. "This was one of those meets where it proves that you need everybody doing their job."
Besides the three All-Staters at the top, it was No. 4 runner Katie Mahoney that was pivotal. Usually alongside others in the lead pack, Mahoney has been nursing a knee injury. Her courageous race turned out to be a big part of the final tally.
"She was disappointed that she could not be in the top 10 with the others, but it is amazing that she did what she did after all the struggles she has been through," Kaiser said. "In the end, we really needed her spot to win it."
In giving up some personal glory for the benefit of the team, Mahoney helped lead the Lady Colts to the historic win. Last season, it was about the team winning it all, even after the graduation of star Sarah McCauley. This third title is evidence that the program should be a force for years to come.
"It is great for the school and great for the county," Kaiser said.
Waybright placed third in 19:34 and was followed closely by Villers in fifth (19:43) and Long in sixth (19:55). Also scoring for the Lady Colts were Katie Mahoney in 24th (21:23) and Haley Truman in 56th (23:00). Nicole Holiday placed 71st (24:56) and Anna Farling 83rd (27:41).
Maggie Drazba won the individual title in dramatic fashion. The St. Marys senior led the rest of the field by over two minutes, destroying the previous course record by over a minute by posting a blazing 17:17. Frankfort's Katie Jan was the runner-up, recording a 19:23. Jan's effort led the Lady Falcons (81) to a second place finish as a team, falling just six points shy of PBHS.
Scott placed third with 114 points. Tucker County's Ashley Cassidy just missed the All-State podium, finishing 12th in 20:17.
Philip Barbour's boys placed fourth in a tight Class AA-A race. Fairmont Senior won the team title with 92 points, defeating runner-up Frankfort by 19 points. Philip Barbour's 124-point total was only five points shy of third place Doddridge County.
Scott Nesland led the Colts, finishing 11th in 16:41. He was followed by teammates Trey Furby (25th, 17:39), Tyler Baldwin (38th,18:06), Trevor Matko (43rd,18:16), Andrew Phillips (49th, 18:28), Ian Nuzum (62nd,18:50), and Bryce McGee (74th, 19:11).
Fairmont Senior's Nick Trefz won the individual title, leading the Polar Bears to the team title with a time of 15:52. He defeated runner-up Caleb Moore of Doddridge County by 12 seconds.
Morgantown rolled to the Class AAA title, placing all seven girls in the top 20. University's Amelia Paladino won the individual title, posting a 17:47. Buckhannon-Upshur's duo of Laura Dean and Gillian Ross came in together at 43rd and 44th, with times if 21:01 and 21:02.
Elkins standout Austin Hamrick had a solid race over the 5,000-meter layout, placing 22nd in 16:48. Cabell Midland star Jacob Burcham rolled to the individual title in 14:58, leading the Knights to the team title.
Preston outdistanced runner-up University by 38 points.