PICKERINGTON, Ohio — You might as well start your season off against top competition.
The Gallia Academy and River Valley cross country teams both opened their 2016 campaigns on Saturday among some of the top teams in the state, at the Pickerington North Cross Country Classic.
In the boys’ Bengal Division — which featured 260 individuals and 21 teams — Gahanna Lincoln won the team crown with a score of 63, followed by Mount Gilead with an 87 and Marysville with a 137. River Valley took seventh with a score of 189, while Gallia Academy was 10th with a 267.
The boys’ race was won by Cole Lovett of Carollton with a 16:46.03, while Michael Hardesty of River View was second with a 17:03.91.
River Valley was led by Nathaniel Abbott, who was 21st with a time of 18:27.65. Garrett Young was next for the Raiders, placing 29th with a time of 18:47.69. Finishing 39th overall was River Valley’s Chance Gillman (19:16.51), while George Rickett (19:45.07) and Kyle Coen (19:59.01) rounded out the RVHS total, finishing 56th and 58th respectively.
The potential tie-breaking scores for the Silver and Black came from Cole Franklin (21:01.53) and Austin Livingston (21:07.13), who finished 98th and 103rd respectively.
GAHS junior Kyle Greenlee led the Blue Devils, and all local boys runners, with a 16th place finish and a time of 18:09.69. Next for the Blue Devils was Caleb Greenlee, who was 25th overall with a time of 18:30.99. Gallia Academy’s third score came from Devon Barnes, who finished 73rd with a time of 20:09.95.
Ezra Blain (21:02.83) and Kobe Cochran (21:10.07) rounded out the GAHS boys score, placing 100th and 108th respectively. Cade Mason (21:42.66) finished 130th and Grant Smith (21:49.51) was 133rd as Gallia Academy’s potential tie-breaking scores.
In the girls’ Bengal Division — which featured 302 individuals and 23 teams — Thomas Worthington took the team title with a score of 25, followed by Marysville with an 85 and Mount Gilead with a 135. The Blue Angels were 11th overall with a 317, while River Valley was 15th with a 454.
TWHS senior Christina Nash won the girls race with a time of 20:03.29, just .26 seconds ahead of runner-up Maddie Dunlap, who is a senior from Carrollton.
Gallia Academy’s Mary Watts led the Blue Angels and all local girls with a time of 21:51.77, good enough for a 16th place finish. Mesa Polcyn was next for GAHS, placing 18th with a time of 21:57.42. In their first-ever varsity meets, GAHS freshmen Brook Johnson (24:25.92) and Abby Johnson (24:38.21) finished 82nd and 88th respectively.
Abby Cremeans (29:38.18) rounded out the Gallia Academy team total with a 212th place finish. Sabrina Manygoats (30:21.59) and Caitlyn Caldwell (30:57.86) finished 227th and 232nd as the Blue Angels’ potential tie-breaking scores.
The Lady Raiders’ best finisher was 41st place Kenzie Baker, who turned in a time of 23:08.67 to kick off her junior season. Beth Gillman claimed 120th with a time of 25:50.27 for RVHS, while Kaylee Gillman was 123rd with a time of 26:07.95. Josie Jones (27:35.62) and Julia Nutter (28:45.97) rounded out the Lady Raiders total, finishing 160th and 188th respectively.
The potential tie-breaking scores for RVHS came from Sophie Branham (28:52.29) and Natosha Rankin (28:53.67), who finished back-to-back at 191 and 192.
River Valley will run again on Saturday at Vinton County, while Gallia Academy’s next meet will be at home on September 6.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.