CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Given the enormity of the meet, the four cross country squads representing the Ohio Valley Publishing area on Saturday showcased themselves quite well at the annual Unioto Invitational.
With 22 girls teams and 210 individual runners — and an even larger field of 27 boys clubs and two runners shy of 300 — the Eastern Eagles, River Valley Raiders, Meigs Marauders and Gallia Academy Blue Angels and Blue Devils managed some high individual places, which all resulted in respectable team scores.
For the four girls schools, all placed in the top 10 as teams, with Eastern earning a third-place finish with 114 points.
The Blue Angels amassed 192 points to take fifth, followed by River Valley in ninth with 266 and Meigs in 10th with 269.
On the boys side, the Raiders racked up 165 points to finish fifth, as Gallia Academy amounted 322 points to place 11th.
Meigs was 17th for the boys with 425, while Eastern only sported two runners — and thus was unable to post a team score.
Only Fairfield Union with 53 points and host Unioto at 96 placed ahead of Eastern in the standings, as Chillicothe — with 167 points — finished fourth between the Lady Eagles and Blue Angels.
Zane Trace (214), Waverly (235) and Leesburg Fairfield (239) finished sixth thru eighth, followed immediately by River Valley and Meigs.
The remaining dozen teams all had 287 or more points.
Jessica Cook paced the Lady Eagles, and all OVP area runners, with a sixth-place individual finish in one second shy of exactly 20 minutes (19:59).
Laura Pullins was next for Eastern (16th in 20:42), as Ally Durst was the third Eagle crosser (28th in 21:02).
Taylor Parker (37th in 21:32) and Kaitlyn Hawk (38th in 21:40) crossed back-to-back for Eastern, followed finally by Rhiannon Morris (56th in 22:20) and Lexa Hayes (96th in 24:01).
A pair of seniors, Mary Watts (12th in 20:33) and Mesa Polcyn (14th in 20:41), were the top two Gallia Academy placers — followed by Brooke Johnson (27th in 21:02) and Abby Johnson (57th in 22:25).
Cassidy Starnes (112th in 24:56), Abby Cremeans (114th in 24:59) and Eliza Davies (141st in 26:31) were the final three Blue Angel scores.
Kenzie Baker paced the Lady Raiders with a 33rd-place finish in 21:19, as Leanne Hively (53rd in 22:17), Kaylee Gillman (64th in 22:45), Beth Gillman (68th in 22:58) and Josie Jones (80th in 23:21) were their other four counting times.
Yolanda Andre in 107th (24:40) and Julia Nutter in 125th (25:24) were the other two scores.
The Lady Marauders’ top four runners all placed within 15 spots one of another — including Caitlyn Rest (45th in 21:53), Madison Cremeans (49th in 22:01), Taylor Swartz (52nd in 22:15) and Gracie Hoffman (60th in 22:31).
Rounding out the Marauders’ seven scores were Marissa Noble (98th in 24:05), Ariann Sizemore (117th in 25:00) and Carmen Doherty (122nd in 25:19).
Fairfield Union easily won the team title with four runners in the top 15, including the race winner Emma Hoellrich in 18 minutes and 57 seconds.
For the boys, Nathaniel Abbott of River Valley earned an excellent eighth-place finish, completing the 5K course in 16:47.
Garrett Young (23rd in 17:14), Chance Gillman (38th in 17:37) and Kyle Coen (41st in 17:39) crossed next for the Raiders, followed then by George Rickett (64th in 18:05) with the fifth counting time.
Caleb McKnight (79th in 18:24) and Rory Twyman (97th in 18:39) were the other two Raider scores.
Gallia Academy’s top two men were Kaleb Crisenbery (16th in 17:05) and Caleb Greenlee (19th in 17:10), as the other counting times were Devon Barnes (83rd in 18:27), Ezra Blain (109th in 18:57) and Kobe Cochran (146th in 19:49).
The other two Blue Devils’ counting scores were those of Ethan Rider (152nd in 19:55) and Oliver Davies (169th in 20:16).
Meigs’ top runner was senior James Parsons in 42nd (17:40), as Cole Betzing crossed shortly thereafter in 49th-place (17:52).
The remaining five Marauders whose times were all scored included Dillon Mahr (110th in 19:02), Landon Davis (139th in 19:41), Joseph Cotterill (158th in 20:01), Jake Roush (165th in 20:12) and Colton Heater (194th in 20:44).
The Eagle boys were represented by two runners — Colton Reynolds (67th in 18:10) and Eion Marcinko (175th in 20:22).
Blake Rigdon of Eastern Brown was the individual race winner in 15 minutes and 58 seconds.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106