Prep cross country: Scenic Hills XC event Saturday

VINCENT – Warren was hoping that more Southeastern Ohio Athletic League schools would be entered in the Scenic Hills Lions Club Invitational.

But as it is right now, only Jackson will be competing in the annual cross country run, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday in Vincent.

“I would’ve liked to have seen those other (league) schools,” said Warriors’ head coach Debbie Proctor, “because we will be hosting the SEOAL meet (Oct. 12).”

The 2013 Scenic Hills field still looks pretty impressive with Marietta High, Belpre, Waterford, River Valley, Southern and Fairmont East.

The Warren boys are the defending meet champions, and could be the school to beat again. Last Saturday, at the 14th annual Elizabeth S. Broughton Memorial Invitational at the Broughton Nature & Wildlife Area in Marietta, the Warriors had three harriers finish in the top 10 to help them claim the team title.

“They all did very well,” Proctor said.

Parker Blain paced the winning royal blue and white squad with a clocking of 17 minutes, 40.20 seconds, good for a third-place overall finish. Sam Goodman was fifth in 18:06.50, and Brent Ash placed sixth in 18:16.10.

“Parker (Blain) wasn’t very pleased with his time,” Proctor said. “He felt he could’ve done better. But I thought he did well.”

Rounding out Warren’s top 7 scorers, Joel Estes was 28th overall; Jed McGirr, 31st; Matthew Neehouse, 34th; and Colton Cantley, 45th. Colton Barnes finished right behind Cantley.

At Scenic Hills last year, Blain was the third boy overall to cross the finish line in 17:35.6. The senior standout figures to once again be a contender for first place.

Keep an eye, though, on Belpre sophomore Cray Sistrunk. At Broughton, he was runner-up in 17:36.60, and last year at Scenic Hills, he covered the 5K distance in 17:46.4, which was good for fifth place.

“My time was a little slow for my taste,” said Sistrunk of the Broughton run. “But I think the course was pretty rough. I think my time next week (at Scenic Hills) will drop dramatically. There’s going to be some good competition there.”

And, the course at Warren probably won’t be any easier than Broughton.

“Scenic is definitely hilly, about the same as Broughton,” Proctor said. “It’s a spectator-friendly course, though, because you’re able to see most of the race, except when the runners go into the woods, from the top of the hill, near the scoreboard.”

Proctor said the race ends at the 50-yard line inside the Warrior football stadium.

The Jim Cunningham-coached Belpre boys as a team placed fifth in the eight-school field at Broughton. The other Golden Eagle harriers expected to run Saturday will be Kyle Windland, Matt Davis, Joel Starner, and Matt Lopreste,

Marietta’s top seven runners at Broughton were Jake Haught, Kody Phillips, Turner Hill, Brandon Neville, Zach Deskins, Jeffrey Davis, and Joel Bricker.

Waterford senior Eli Strahler could be a contender for the top spot. Last year, the Wildcat running standout ran Scenic Hills in 17:25.5, good for second place. At Broughton, he was eighth overall in 18:25.60.

Also running for Waterford will be Lee Wittekind and Andrew Klintworth.

On the girls’ side at Scenic Hills, the team race appears to be wide open.

Warren, which finished sixth at Broughton, will be paced by junior Hannah Dugan, who was eighth overall in 22:28.10 at Marietta.

Last year at Scenic Hills, she was fifth overall in 21:27.5.

Rounding out the other Lady Warrior harriers are Sydney Brague, Kaylee Pate, Maggie McCutcheon, Savhannah Wray, Zoey Strahler, and Alyssa Kern, who did not run at Broughton.

“I really wasn’t disappointed in the girls’ times at Broughton,” Proctor said. “But we had too much of a gap (between runners).”

Marietta’s top seven are expected to be Elena Lawson, Brittany Deskins, Kelsey Hall, Olivia Wesel, Josie Miracle, Nora Torbett, and Cooper Halliday or Jennell Betts.

Belpre will be represented by Mackenzie Rice, Sierra Barker, and Kira Miller.

Waterford’s lone Lady Wildcat runner is Maggie Kroll, who was 22nd at Broughton in 24:33.60.