Frankfort boys, Denne, Lease are state bound
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Frankfort High School hosted the Region 1, class AA cross-country championships on Wednesday on a hot, but beautiful day in Short Gap. This was the decider, the all-important race that determined what teams and individuals would qualify for the state cross country championship held next Saturday at Cabell-Midland High School.
Make no mistake, entering the contest, the Frankfort boys were the favorite to win the title, but the trip to the state championship meet had to be earned and the race run. Outside of Frankfort’s boys being the favorite, it would be a waiting game to see where other teams might finish, and not just teams but individual runners.
In both the boys’ race and girls’ race, the top-three teams would advance. In addition, the top 11 individual boy finishers, and top 12 individual girl finishers would advance as well.
When the final runner crossed the finish line in both races and the final results tallied, it was determined that Mineral County would be represented at the state championships by the Frankfort boys’ team who finished first overall, and individually by Keyser’s Trenton Denne (ninth place finisher) and Frankfort’s Addison Lease (11th place finisher).
In team scoring, Frankfort won the top prize with a score of 29, besting second place finisher Fairmont Senior by 21 points as the Polar Bears finished with a score of 50. In third place, East Fairmont finished with 65 points. As the top three finishers, Frankfort, Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont will advance to the state championships.
Berkeley Springs was fourth was a 127, Oak Glen fifth with a 141, Grafton sixth with a 153, and North Marion seventh with a 159. Incomplete teams who also had racers finishing were Keyser, Philip Barbour and Weir.
Fairmont Senior had the top two finishers in Logan Zuchelli (17:11) and Tyler Hayes (17:42).
Frankfort, however, won the team title on the strength of the entire unit, as the Falcons placed five runners in the top 10 and seven in the top 20 of eligible team scoring. Garrett Ferguson finished third (17:54), Xander Shoemake was fourth (18:11), Peyton Slider fifth (18:29), Steven Kent Niland seventh (18:48), and Landyn Sell 10th (19:12). Christian Cimaglia finished 14th (19:37) and Anthony Sanders 18th (20:20).
This “Blue Wave” result is indicative of how the Falcons have performed all year, finishing runner after runner in close succession near the top of the results to crush the team competition.
Mineral County’s other tremendous highlight from the boys’ race was the top-10 finish, ninth to be exact, of Keyser’s sophomore harrier Trenton Denne. Denne’s spectacular performance (18:50.8) earned him an individual trip to the state championships.
Also competing for Keyser were Griffin Paugh, who finished 18th overall (19:49.3), Logan Hetrick who finished 29th overall (22:06.8)), and Dirk Shoemaker who finished 30th overall (22:16.5).
In the girls’ contest, the highlight for Mineral County was the 11th place overall finish of Frankfort freshman Addison Lease (24:21.2). As the top 12 runners in the girls’ race qualify for the state championship meet, Lease will be representing Frankfort next Saturday in the title race.
Unfortunately, as a team, the Frankfort girls finished fourth overall, just missing a chance to advance to the state championships. With a team score of 102, Frankfort was led by Lease who finished ninth overall in eligible team scoring, and was followed by Emily Smith who finished 19th (25:21), Jillian Griffith who finished 22nd (25:33), Kat Burleson who finished 24th (25:44), and Kelsey Smith who finished 28th (26:07). Brooke Jacobs finished 32nd (27:00) and Tiffany Sites finished 34th (27:33).
Keyser’s girls finished in eighth place overall as a team, with Scarlet Cameron leading the way in 17th place (25:08), Averi Everline finishing 37th (28:32), Claire Delsignore 43rd (30:24), Isabella Grubbs 48th (32:18), Marilee Kitzmiller 51st (32:59), and Christine Pryor 55th (40:17).
The state championship meet will be held on the campus of Cabell-Midland High School in Ona. The class AA girls’ race will begin at 12:30 p.m., followed by the boys’ race at 1:15 p.m.