CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The races may have been Purple and Gold, but it was all about the Silver and Black on Saturday.
That’s because the River Valley High School cross country clubs both finished among the top four teams in their respective races, as part of the annual — and enormous — Unioto Invitational at Unioto High School.
Because of the number of schools and individuals competing, both the boys and girls high school races were divided into two different runs — one “Purple” and one “Gold”.
For the boys, River Valley placed third among the 18 teams in the “Purple” race, as the Raiders recorded a team score of 106.
The Lady Raiders were fourth in the 13-team girls “Purple” run with a 116, while Eastern’s girls — in the dozen-team “Gold” race — took fourth with a team tally of 132.
The Meigs boys and girls, which also competed in the “Purple” events, fielded five runners apiece — with the Lady Marauders garnering an eighth-place team score of 163.
The Marauder men managed a 17th-place score of 370, as only Eastern Brown — with a team score of 450 — finished behind them.
The South Gallia boys in the “Purple” race, and the Eastern boys in the “Gold” race, sported just two runners apiece.
On the team front, the top six Raiders — spearheaded by senior standout Nathaniel Abbott’s runner-up effort of 17 minutes and 34 seconds — all placed in the top 42.
In fact, Abbott was the runner-up by a mere second to Alexander senior Carter Carr (17:33), as Abbott and Carr were the only two in the “Purple” race to complete the 5K distance in under 18 minutes.
The next five River Valley times were all within 18 places and 48 seconds of one another, and included Kyle Coen (24th in 19:26), George Rickett (25th in 19:29), Rory Twyman (30th in 19:44), Austin Livingston (41st in 20:12) and Cole Franklin (42nd in 20:14).
The final Raider scorer was Caleb McKnight in 75th-place in 21:36.
Only team champion Teays Valley with a 44 and runner-up Alexander with a 66 finished ahead of River Valley.
The Marauders’ five runners were Landon Davis (57th in 20:47), Colton Heater (71st in 21:16), Christian Jones (106th in 23:23), Brandon Justis (136th in 24:45) and Cole Hoffman (151st in 25:18).
South Gallia freshman Garrett Frazee finished 13th overall in exactly 19 minutes, while fellow freshman Griffin Davis was 154th in 25:32.
There were 194 runners in the boys “Purple” high school race, with another 107 individuals and 13 teams in the “Gold” race.
Eastern’s only runners in the “Gold”5K were senior Owen Arix in 20th in 17:57 and sophomore Colton Reynolds in 23rd in 18:02.
For the Lady Eagles, they had six runners at Unioto, as senior Jessica Cook (11th in 20:48) and junior Ally Durst (14th in 21:10) led the way.
The other four Eagle times belonged to Rhiannon Morris (30th in 22:24), Kaitlyn Hawk (45th in 23:27), Whitney Durst (53rd in 23:54) and Lexa Hayes (59th in 24:36).
Only Fairfield Union (47), Vinton County (90) and Chillicothe (102) placed ahead of Eastern in the team standings, as junior Jenny Seas of Peebles easily won the individual title — out of 91 runners — in a super-fast 18 minutes and 15 seconds.
Two Lady Raiders —senior Kenzie Baker in second in 21:32 and freshman Hannah Culpepper in fourth in 23:07 —registered top-four finishes, while the remaining River Valley scorers all ranged within 50 places (33rd thru 83rd) of one another.
They included Akari Michimukai (33rd in 25:18), Josie Jones (35th in 25:22), Connie Stewart (62nd in 28:26), Natosha Rankin (65th in 28:37) and Julia Nutter (83rd in 29:51).
Only Teays Valley (81), Fairfield Union (97) and Alexander (106) placed ahead of the Lady Raiders for the team championship.
The Lady Marauders’ five runners were Caitlyn Rest (16th in 24:11), Taylor Swartz (22nd in 24:37), Madison Cremeans (34th in 25:21), Ariann Sizemore (41st in 25:48) and Carmen Doherty (76th in 29:26).
Also running in the girls “Purple” race — which had 119 runners — was Eastern freshman Alysa Howard, who was 57th in 27:31.
Visit www.baumspage.com for a complete list of results of the 2017 Unioto Invitational.
All four Ohio Valley Publishing area programs which competed at Unioto — along with Southern — will return to action on Saturday at the annual Tri-Valley Conference meet at Wellston.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106