PIKETON, Ohio — On the final day of September, the Eastern, Gallia Academy and River Valley High School cross country clubs began their hunt for October.
That’s because, on Saturday in the annual Piketon Invitational, the Lady Eagles placed sixth while both Gallia Academy and River Valley were closer to the middle of the pack of the 20-plus teams.
In the girls high school race, Eastern — with its top five scorers all crossing the finish from 11th thru 51st-place —amounted a team score of 158 for sixth.
Just behind the Lady Eagles were the ninth-place Lady Raiders and 10th-place Blue Angels, which turned in team scores of 303 and 304 respectively.
In between them were seventh-place Waverly (254) and eighth-place Logan Elm (293), as Teays Valley captured the team championship with a score of 78.
There were 23 girls schools which posted team scores and 25 for the boys, as River Valley secured seventh with a 220, while the Blue Devils tallied a 298.
Sandwiched in between them were Alexander (242), host Piketon (264) and Minford (294), as Unioto earned the team title with a tally of 54.
On the girls side, Gallia Academy freshman Sarah Watts was the top Ohio Valley Publishing area placer, completing the 5K distance in 19 minutes and 48 seconds for sixth-place overall.
For the Lady Eagles, Jessica Cook led the way with a 20-minute and 14-second clocking for 11th-place, while Ally Durst (18th in 20:36), Rhiannon Morris (33rd in 21:24), Whitney Durst (47th in 22:12) and Kaitlyn Hawk (51st in 22:27) had Eastern’s other four counting times.
The Lady Eagles’ other two counting scores were those of Lexa Hayes (85th in 23:56) and Haylie Blankenship (131st in 26:29).
Kenzie Baker paced River Valley by crossing 19th in 20:38, while Hannah Culpepper placed 41st in 21:58.
The Lady Raiders’ other counting times were those of Josie Jones (71st in 23:26), Lexi Stout (79th in 23:42), Julia Nutter (133rd in 26:34), Natosha Rankin (149th in 27:23) and Connie Stewart (155th in 27:50).
In addition to Watts, the Blue Angels’ Brooke Johnson also placed among the top 30, finishing in 28th in 21:19.
Gallia Academy’s other five counting scores included Abby Johnson (82nd in 23:49), Abby Cremeans (111th in 25:20), Cassidy Starnes (128th in 26:23), Maddie Stewart (136th in 26:44) and Grace Montgomery (137th in 26:45).
There were 227 runners in the girls high school race, as senior Anna Foster of Sheridan was the individual race winner in a fast 18 minutes and 58 seconds.
For the boys, River Valley senior Nathaniel Abbott earned a ninth-place performance in 16:41, as George Rickett (38th in 17:41), Kyle Coen (51st in 18:00), Rory Twyman (67th in 18:25) and Austin Livingston (78th in 18:45) landed the other top four Raider times.
River Valley’s other counting scores were those of 83rd-place Cole Franklin (18:52) and 115th-place Caleb McKnight (19:19).
Caleb Greenlee (13th in 16:59) and Kyle Greenlee (15th in 17:05), Gallia Academy’s senior twin brother tandem, paced the Blue Devils — while their other five counting scores ranged from 101st to 130th.
That fivesome included Ezra Blain (101st in 19:08), Kobe Cochran (109th in 19:16), Ethan Rider (110th in 19:17), Tristan Crisenbery (126th in 19:37) and Logan Blouir (130th in 19:42).
Eastern’s only runners were Owen Arix in 24th in 17:22 and Colton Reynolds in 32nd in 17:36.
There were 307 runners in the boys high school race, as Logan Elm senior Keifer Mosmeier —the only individual all day under 16 minutes — won the race in 15 minutes and 53 seconds.
Visit www.baumspage.com for a complete list of results of the 2017 Piketon Invitational.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106