Riedel, Hathaway win middle school cross country titles
ONA -- Milton Middle School coach Robin Rogers called her girls cross country team into the gym just before school ended Tuesday.
"I'm sure they thought I was going to give a speech," Rogers said. "Then we bring out the box. You ought to have heard them."
The girls got all excited because the new uniforms they'd been promised finally arrived. They wore them for the first time Tuesday afternoon in the Cabell County Middle School Cross Country Championships at Cabell Midland High School. They're one-for-one in those uniforms, as the Panthers had four of the top five finishers and seven in the top 10 to win the championship with 16 points. Barboursville was second with 47.
Katie Riedel led Milton's charge, winning the 2-mile race with a time of 13:31. Teammate Allison Short took second in 13:58.
"They've been awesome to coach. All week they talked about the meet, about how many they could get on the podium," Rogers said.
Milton made it a sweep when the boys won their race with 20 points. Jonathan Hathaway sparked the Panthers, winning in 11:15.28 -- course and county records. Teammate Josh Minor placed second in 11:35. The Panthers had nine of the first 11 to cross the finish line. It was the first team title for the boys in five years. Barboursville had won the previous four.
"It feels good to beat Barboursville. We knew we could do it," Hathaway said. "We talked about the meet all week. It's great to be on the first winning team."
Riedel and Short had engaged in some tough races during the season. Tuesday, Riedel came off the course onto the Chris Parsons Track with a sizeable lead and sprinted home to victory.
"Stay with her and pass at the end," Riedel said of the plan. "I was fired up coming around the last curve. You could hear the people."
Riedel made a move earlier on a hill that helped her get to the front.
"I tried to go faster on the hill," she said. "I challenged them."
Rogers believed Riedel had extra motivation. Since's she's in the eighth grade, this was Riedel's final middle school meet.
"It fired her up," Rogers said. "This was the last time. It was a goal she set. We had other runners step up, too, and that's great to see."
For the boys, Milton finished runner-up to Winfield in the first meet of the season, the GEICO Invitational. The Panthers finished ahead of the Generals when they crossed paths the rest of the season.
"We didn't have a great race, trained hard and came back strong," Milton boys coach Mickey Grass said.
Hamilton overcame a difficult start to get the records.
"I got smushed," he said of getting sandwiched between two runners at the start. "It slowed me down. I had to move out and go around them. I was trying to break 11:00. It feels great to get the course record."
Grass said Minor made big improvements from seventh grade to eighth grade.
"He's everything you want," Grass said. "Talent, heart, leadership, he's coachable. He put in a lot of time winter and summer training and it paid off."
At the awards ceremony, winners from the first four county championships were introduced. For the girls, it was Jorden Thornton, Milton, 2008; Kendall McNeely, Barboursville, 2009; Brie Bellomy, Milton, 2010; and Hannah Morgan, Barboursville, 2011. For the boys, past winners were Jacob Burcham, Barboursville, 2008; Eric Wooten, Barboursville, 2009; Austin Jarrrell, Barboursville, 2010; and Andrew Short, Milton, 2011.