Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
It was not the typical weather that one might expect for Sept. 26 as all of the county’s cross-country runners, ranging in age from first graders to seniors, gathered at West Union High School for the annual Adams County Meet. Instead of some nice, crisp fall temperatures to run in, Tuesday’s runners battled 90 degree heat, which made water an extremely popular commodity at the track. Kudos to all the runners who battled the heat and to the teams that ended up winning the first place trophies and county bragging rights- Peebles in High School girls and Junior High boys, West Union in High School boys and Junior High girls.
The afternoon began with the newest fad in local cross-country and avery bright glimpse of the future with two elementary age races which involved over 100 male and female runners.
In the Fourth Grade and Under Race, the top 10 finishers were: Beau Hesler (NAES), Dalton Pence (NAES), Tegan Knox (WUES), Lydia Armstrong (WUES), Ryan Butcher (MES), Gavin Rowe (WUES), Gaige Knox (WUES), Collin Tolle (NAES), Tyren Pennington (WUES), and Emma Crawford (WUES).
In the Elementary Fifth and Sixth Grade race, the top 10 included: Cody Hesler (NAES), Landon Fulton (WUES), Hunter Grooms (NAES), Wes Ellis (WUES), Braylan Roberts (MES), Chase Taylor (WUES), Kirsten Campbell (NAES), Grant McClanahan (MES), Willy Nickel (WUES), and Maddie Dunn (MES).
Because of commitments to other fall sports, the high school races were placed first, with the high school girls kicking it off. As expected, the top runner was Peebles junior Jenny Seas, who took the top spot in a time of 19:04. Second went to West Union’s Anna Shupert at 21:17, with Peebles’ Abby Faulkner third at 23:29.
The top seven runners in each race were named as All-County runners and for the high school girls that group also included Peebles’ Alisan Behr (Fourth, 24:12), North Adams’ Adison Wright (Fifth, 24:35), Manchester’s Billie Kinhalt (Sixth, 25:19), and West Union’s Kendra Grooms (Seventh, 25:37).
With three runners in the top seven, it was Peebles taking the team title with a point total of 28, followed by West Union with 38, and Manchester with 55.
A total of 27 high school boys next stepped up to the line and again the favorite came down the chute in first place as Peebles senior Matt Seas took the top spot in a time of 17:27. Second place went to West Union’s Adam Fulton in a time of 19:18, and third went to perhaps the gutsiest runner in any race of the day, Manchester’s Ethan Pennywitt, battling the pain that celiac disease plagues him with, in a time of 19:36.
Rounding out the All-County Team for the High School Boys were: West Unions’ Gabe Grooms (Fourth, 19:53), North Adams’ Nolan Newman (Fifth, 20:05), West Union’s Garrett Vogler (Sixth, 20:14), and Peebles’ Seth Chamblin (Seventh, 20:38).
The team championship went to West Union, who had six runners in the top 10 and a low team score of 29. Peebles was second with 60, North Adams third with 68, and Manchester fourth with 74.
The junior high runners got a bit of a break in the heat before there races began, with the girls stepping up first and again it was a battle for the top spot between Peebles’ Katy Seas and Manchester’s McKenzie Morrison. Morrison had finished ahead of Seas at Rio Grande the previous weekend, but on Tuesday it was the Peebles eighth grader exacting a little revenge, claiming the top spot in the race of 15 runners with a time of 13:03, with Morrison second at 13:20. Third Place went to West Union’s Adelyn Shupert, who clocked in at 14:10.
The remainder of the All-County runners included: North Adams’ Ainsley Grooms (Fourth, 14:33), Peebles’ Shea Perin (Fifth, 15:56), West Union’s Sophie Johnson (Sixth, 16:21), and West Union’s Makenna Armstrong (Seventh, 16:20).
With five runners in the top 10, West Union captured the Junior High girls team crown with a low score of 20, followed by second place North Adams at 35.
Finally, 20 junior high boys made their way to the start line for the final race of the muggy day. To say that Peebles dominated this race would be quite an understatement as the Indians placed seven runner sin the top 10, including the top two runners in the race, Bransyn Hopkins first with a time of 13:08 and Ethan Pierce second at 13:33. Third place went to West Union’s Cameron Campbell, who hit the chute with a time of 13:39.
Rounding out the top seven for the junior high boys were: Peebles’ Matthew Hudgel (Fourth, 14:16), Manchester’s Morgan Craver (Fifth, 14:18), Peebles’ Cory Reed (Sixth, 14:28), and Peebles’ Mason Sims (Seventh, 14:41).
Peebles took the team title handily with an impressive low score of 17 with Manchester second at 46.