Bearcat XC competes in Big-Ten and Regional Meets


Emily Viani runs her way into state meet and earns First Team All-Conference Honors

TAYLOR COUNTY— On Thursday, October 14, the Grafton High School Cross Country team traveled to Philip-Barbour High School to compete in the Big-Ten Meet, before heading to their home course at West Taylor Elementary on October 21 to host the Regional Meet. 

During the girls Big-Ten race, Lady Bearcat Emily Viani continued to shine, earning First Team All-Conference Honors with her ninth-place finish recording a time of 23:44. 

Fellow Lady Cat River Sipes landed on Second Team All- Conference with her finish in 32nd and a time of 25:52.

Kayla Greathouse (59th, 28:34), Kevie Sipes (61st, 28:48) and Destiny Weaver (70th, 30:16) rounded out the varsity lineup from the Grafton Ladies.

As a team, the Lady Bearcats took 9th place, out of the 13 competing Big-Ten schools. 

For the boy’s race, Bearcat XC standout JT Veltri ran his way to a 12th place finish with a time of 19:29, also earning Second Team All-Conference Honors. 

Cayden Boylen (34th, 21:17), James Helmondollar (67th, 24:29) and Dominick Beverly (72nd, 24:47) also represented the Bearcats during the Big-Ten Meet. 

Head Coach PD Louzy shared that the PB course was a tough one, and with regional competition on the horizon, the goal for the meet was to come out healthy, and luckily the Bearcats were able to accomplish that. 

Back at their home course, healthy and ready to take off in the Regional Meet, the Lady Bearcats once again turned in some stellar performances, as Viani led the way once more. 

“Once again Emily ran awesome,” Louzy voiced. 

He explained that the top 12 finishers in the girls race qualified for the state meet next week.

Viani ran her way to a fourth-place finish with a time of 21:05, earning her a trip to Cabell-Midland next Saturday to compete in the state meet. 

“She is ranked 16th in the state right now.  A top ten finish at states will earn First Team All-State honors.  That is something that is definitely doable for her,” expressed Louzy.

The next Lady Cat to cross the finish line was Sipes, coming in 31st with a time of 24:07. 

“River has been dealing with some health issues, but she shows up every race and gives me what she can that day.  Her best races are ahead of her,” Coach Louzy commented.  

Greathouse (41st, 25:09), K. Sipes (45th, 25:54) and Weaver (48th, 26:58) rounded out the varsity team.  

“All five of these girls are either freshmen or sophomores.  So, the future is bright,” Louzy disclosed. 

During the boy’s race at Regionals, it was no surprise that Veltri would once again be the top finisher for the Grafton team, finishing 16th, with a time of 17:57. 

“JT had a great year for me.  He led our team all year.  He’s got another year left, so I expect JT to come back with some big goals for next year,” shared Louzy. 

Seniors James (43rd, 21:51) and Matt Helmondollar (47th, 21:57) were the second and fourth Bearcats to come across the finish line. 

“I will miss these guys next year.  Their leadership will be hard to replace,” Louzy noted. 

Dominick Beverly (44th, 21:58) was Louzy’s third to complete the course, running for the first time this season as a sophomore. 

“He was probably my biggest surprise this year,” Louzy said. 

Congratulations to all the Bearcat XC members and good luck at the state meet Emily! 

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