The home standing Magnolia Blue Eagle cross country teams traveled through their home course this past Saturday with some of the best teams in the area. Leading the way was a re-vamped girls' varsity, which is led by senior Christa Harshberger. She won her second top 10 finish of the season by touring the home course in 21 minutes and 15 seconds, good for an eighth place finish. Freshman Rachel Arbogast stepped into the team second spot by running a 23:15 and 20th place for the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles), just edging fellow freshman Sofia Herrick who came in 22nd place with a time of 23:17. Adding to the team score was another freshman, Ariel Hostuttler, in 42nd place in 25:06, and two time letter winner junior Shelby Sands in 46th place in 25:38. Sophomore letter winner Katie Ensinger came next in 27:17 and a 52nd place, freshman Emily McIlvain in 29:20 and 64th place, and senior Julianne McIlvain in 72nd place in 32:41.
Said Coach Holliday, "This year's 'Mudhole' was a great success. The girls are very competitive and they all ran their best times, which is always a good thing. We would have liked a better place than fourth, but we feel we are really coming along. We have some major goals we are trying to reach and this puts us right in line with what we want to accomplish at OVAC and Regionals."
The girls race was taken by Williamstown with 36 points, runner-up was John Marshall with 70 points, then Weir (86), Magnolia (100), Ritchie County (117), Tyler (150), Doddridge (174), and Linsly (181). Other schools competing were R.C. Byrd, Clay Battelle, Paden City, Wheeling Central, Shadyside, and Brooke.
The boys came in a tough fifth place, led by senior James Haught in fourth place with a personal record (and Magnolia team record) 17 minutes and 36 seconds. Sophomore Jacob Pancake won his first medal of the year by supporting the team with a fine 10th place finish in 18:15. David McIlvain continued his improvement by finishing 25th despite a hard fall on the rugged course in 19:21. Kenny Headley came in next in 45th with a 20:27, helped out by fellow seniors Mikal Raber in 21:16 (56th) and Kyle Lancaster in 21:28 (59th).
"We really took it to the competition Saturday. I liked that we were a very aggressive as a team. The fact is, though, we have to get better, and we know that we have a lot of work to do. Every single person has to work hard to improve as a team and we will get that done. In a few weeks we will find out if it is enough."
The boys' team champion was Ritchie County with 61 points, Williamstown in a close second with 63, third was Doddridge with 71, then John Marshall in fourth (80), Magnolia fifth (118), Brooke 6th (158), Wheeling Central seventh (160), Linsly eighth (209), and Weir in ninth (251). Other schools competing were: Paden City, Shadyside, R. C. Byrd, and Tyler.
The next competition will be at Rio Grande University on Sept. 22.