Competing across state lines helps all athletes
West Virginia athletes enjoy facing out-of-state competition in their respective sports. The same holds true for Ohio athletes when they cross borders.
Thomas Worthington's cross country teams made the trip from just north of Columbus to Cabell Midland on Saturday to compete in the St. Mary's Medical Center Cross Country Festival. Just like 2013, the Cardinals swept the Class AAA races for boys and girls. They did have a slight advantage as this was their third major meet of the young season.
"We do a lot of research for difficult competition and this is a good place for us to come to," said Bill Darling, first-year coach for the Cardinals. "I've heard a lot of good things about this meet. The name Cabell Midland means a lot in Ohio."
For the boys, Thomas Worthington placed fourth in the 21-team OHSAA Preseason Invitational on Aug. 16 at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. That course is home for the Ohio State Meet. On Aug. 23, the Cardinals took third in the 17-team Panther Division in the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North High. Their leader in both meets was senior Jonathan Kissell, who finished second to Musselman's Shane Rigsby on Saturday.
"Senior leadership and depth are our strengths," Darling said.
Darling brought 44 boys and 30 girls to the meet. When runners weren't on the course, they took up space behind the fence near the finish line to cheer their teammates home.
"It's a chance to compete against a good field in a good event," Darling said.
Rigsby held off three Thomas Worthington runners down the stretch to win Class AAA boys (16:55).
"There's great competiton here. It makes you pick things up," Rigsby said.
For the girls, Capital's Peyton Panger won in 19:55. Thomas Worthington's Hannah Moulton was runner-up.
"Coming around that last curve, there's no better feeling," Panger said.
"You see good competition here.
"There's good competition everywhere.
The festival consisted of eight races.
Action began with middle school boys and girls. For them, this is their big meet of the season just like the WSAZ Invitational is for middle school wrestlers.
Complete Festival results available at runwv.com.
BIG PAYOUT: I've seen some hefty 50-50 paydays during my time covering high school football.
Friday's Ironton at Wheelersburg game is now No. 1 on that list.
The winner took home $1,124!
It was a Wheelersburg fan.
GOOD START: Pike Eastern's football program got off to a good start Friday with a 39-14 win at Hannan.
The Eagles are scheduled to join the varsity ranks full time next fall in the Southern Ohio Conference Division I.
TOP QUARTERBACK: Ohio football player ratings for 2015 seniors by JJ Huddle.com are out.
At quarterback, Joe Burrows of Athens is ranked No. 1.
He's headed to Ohio State. Burrows was 12-for-12 for 289 yards and four scores in Friday's 52-0 win over Gallipolis.
STREAK CONTINUES: Point Pleasant extended its regular-season winning streak to 15 games Friday with a 54-0 triumph at Lincoln County.
The Big Blacks visit Ripley this Friday in the battle for the Oak'en Bucket.
WAY TO GO: John Spellacy, former Marshall University linebacker and now an attorney in Cleveland, traveled to Indianapolis on Saturday to watch his son John and St. Ignatiaus teammates beat Lawrence Central, 28-21.
John, a sophomore, is a starter for the offensive line.