CENTENARY, Ohio — Simply put, the new kids on the conference block couldn’t quite catch an old guard.
That’s because, on Saturday at the annual Ohio Valley Conference track and field meet at Gallia Academy High School, the host Blue Devils and Blue Angels earned runner-up finishes to team champion Fairland.
The Blue Angels, also the runner-up to Fairland in GAHS’ first OVC meet a year ago, only placed behind the Dragons by a mere four points.
Gallia Academy amassed 138 points to Fairland’s 142, and in fact captured a half-dozen individual event championships —and were runner-up in four others.
The Dragons, despite winning only the high jump (Allie Marshall) and discus throw (Jackie Wagner), did utilize their depth to nudge the hosts.
On the boys side, the Blue Devils did improve from fifth-place last season, gaining 110 points while winning four events and taking second in three others.
The Dragons rolled up 148 points, as Portsmouth placed third with 98 — while Rock Hill and Coal Grove tied for fourth with 74.
Chesapeake placed sixth with 64 and South Point seventh with 61, while Ironton ended up eighth with 31.
For the girls, Coal Grove (89.5) clipped Portsmouth (88) for third, while Ironton (69), Rock Hill (54.5), Chesapeake (48) and South Point (28) rounded out the eight clubs.
The Blue Angels opened the day with winning the 4x800m relay —anchored by senior Mary Watts and also including junior Hailey Deem, freshman Brooke Johnson and senior Mesa Polcyn.
The quartet completed the distance event in 10 minutes and 43 seconds.
The Blue Angels also won the 4x200m in 1:57, which featured freshmen Peri Martin, Katie Queen and Maddie Wright and junior anchor Grace Martin.
Individually, Watts swept the one-mile (5:36) and two-mile (12:24) runs, while fellow senior Madi Oiler swept both hurdles races.
Oiler won the 100m hurdles in 15.86 seconds, and the 300m hurdles in 46.08.
Oiler also placed second to Portsmouth’s Lynsey Shipley in both sprint races — the 100m (13.06) and 200m (27.09) dashes.
Johnson (2:36) was the runner-up to Chesapeake freshman Kelsie Hegemeyer (2:28) in the 800m run, as she anchored the runner-up 4x400m — which also included Watts, Deem and freshman Gretchen McConnell.
The foursome completed the four-lap closing race in four minutes and 35 seconds.
Coal Grove gained the championship in the 4x400m, as Ironton’s squad won the 4x100m.
Chesapeake’s Kelly Romans cleared eight feet and six inches to win the pole vault, while Rock Hill’s Maddie Scott threw 32-feet and four-and-a-half inches to take the shot put.
Shipley also won the 400m dash and long jump en route to winning meet medalist honors for the girls.
For the Blue Devil boys, they won the meet-opening 4x800m and the meet-ending 4x400m.
The distance relay unit of juniors Zac Bokal, Caleb Greenlee and Kyle Greenlee and senior anchor Kaleb Crisenbery completed the race in eight minutes and 39 seconds.
The 4x400m group ran its race in exactly 3:38, as Bokal was joined by seniors Isaiah Lester and Dylan Nunn and fellow junior Ezra Blain.
Crisenbery, in two minutes and five seconds, won the 800m run and Blain — in 43-and-a-half seconds —won the 300m hurdles.
Crisenbery (4:46) was the runner-up to Fairland’s Bryce Day in the 1,600m run, while Lester was second in both the 400m (53.04) and 200m (23.34) dashes.
Day, who was runner-up to Crisenbery in the two-lap 800m run and also the winner in the 3,200m run, was the boys meet medalist.
Winners of all events earn all-OVC honors.
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
Gallia Academy is back in action on Tuesday — when it joins several other schools as part of the two-day Division II Southeast District championship meet at Meigs High School.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106