GHS XC hosts over 200 runners at Bearcat Invitational


GRAFTON—Last weekend, Grafton High School Cross Country welcomed numerous teams and 204 runners to the 2022 Bearcat Invitational.

During the event, a total of 10 female teams and 11 male teams took to the course, to try and claim the title of victor.

On the ladies’ side of the race, it would be Buckhannon-Upshur’s team earning the top spot, with a combined team time of 1:46:59, and an average running time of just 21:23.80.

Although the Lady Bearcats had some strong showings, the team found itself in seventh place overall, running the course in 2:02:45, at an average rate of 24:31.20.

It would be junior runner Emily Viani who would cross the finish line first for the Lady Cats, with a time of 21:40, a time that earned her a top 10 finish at the invitational, squeaking in at number 10.

Sophia Austin finished the race nearly two minutes behind, with a time of 23:25, earning her 29th place overall, followed by River Sipes, who finished in 40th, completing the race in 24:23.

Natalee Cartwright (26:19, 58th place) and Kevie Sipes (26:49, 66th place) rounded out the top five runners for the Lady Cats.

Destiny Weaver (33:38) and Jada Johnson (35:20) also competed for the GHS female runners and earned 90th and 93rd place overall finishes for the day.

Once the guys hit the course, more than 100 runners vied for top finishes.

Senior Bearcat JT Veltri was the first to finish the race for GHS, earning a 19th place overall finish with a time of 18:11, followed by Colson Annon, who placed 22nd with a time of 18:39.

Crossing the finish line in 21:29 was Bryce Isner, who earned a 68th place overall finish, and Gavin Royce was the final Bearcat to complete the race, doing so in 26:17, earning 100th place overall.

Unfortunately, because they did not field enough runners, the Grafton team did not place during the event. 

It would Fairmont Senior who claimed the victory at the Bearcat Invitational showcasing a team combined time of 1:30:09, with runners from that team averaging a completion time of 18:01.8.

The Bearcat Cross Country program will be back in action on October 6, when they make the trek to Clay County to participate in the Elk River Trail Invitational.

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