GRAFTON—Recently, the Grafton Bearcats Cross Country team participated in two different events and came away with solid results as they get their 2019 season underway.
On August 31st, the Bearcats headed to Cabell Midland High School in Ona to take part in the St. Mary’s XC Festival. Cabell Midland is the site of the annual WV State Cross Country Championship, and runs on the campus of the high school and the Cabell County Farm. It is very spectator-friendly and allows coaches to monitor the action closely for the majority of the race. The course starts on the field, located between the school and the track stadium.
Grafton has been making the trip to Ona every other year so that they can get a feel for the course in preparation for the state meet. The race is the biggest of its kind in the state each season, with 24 boys’ teams and 28 girls’ teams participating this year alone.
“Our girls ran well, finishing 10th out of 24 complete teams,” said Grafton head coach P.D. Louzy. “A Top-10 finish at this race is a big deal at this point in the season. I was more than pleased with our efforts. We were led by two freshmen, Kendra Rogucki (22:57) and Avrie Kelley (23:50). For their first competitive high school 5K, they both ran great.”
Rounding out the top five for the Bearcats were Meredith Maier, Emily Cather, and Hannah Moats.
On the boy’s side, Grafton finished 15th out of 28 schools.
Ryan Maier led the boys with a time of 18:50 and finished just outside the top 40. Freshmen J.T. Veltri was the Bearcats’ second finisher with a time of 19:11 and was followed by Cayden Boylen, Devin Criss, and Christopher Loomis.
“A couple of my boys are banged up, but they all ran well today,” added Louzy.
On September 1st, the Bearcats then headed to Mineral Wells in Wood County for the Chic-Fil-A Invitational.
On a beautiful day that was perfect for running with no wind, the Bearcats again had a strong showing, finishing 10th out of 31 teams on the girl’s side and 16th out of 35 teams on the boy’s side.
Again, the girls were led by Avrie Kelly (21:29) who finished in 30th place and Kendra Rogucki (21:32) who finished right behind her in 33rd place. Meredith Meir (22:36), Megan Kisner (23:46), and Hannah Moats (23:58) also scored well.
For the boys’ team, the Bearcats ran solid with all five of the scoring runners breaking the 20-minute mark.
Grafton was again led by sophomore Ryan Maier with a time of 18:24. He was followed by J.T. Veltri with a time of 18:32. Rounding out the top five were Cayden Boylen (18:50), Christopher Loomis (19:13), and Devin Criss (19:42).
“As you can see, all my runners are improving each week,” noted Louzy. “The goal is to be peaking in late October when regionals roll around. We are way ahead of where last year at this time. Good things are ahead for us.”