Article from the Dominion Post, Sat, Oct 8:
Monongah Middle School’s girls and the boys from St. Francis won Mason-Dixon Conference Junior High cross-country championships Oct. 6.
Fairmont Catholic hosted the 11-team meet at Morris Park, welcoming Barrackville, Clay-Battelle, Fairview, Long Drain, Mannington, Monongah, Rivesville, Short Line, St. Francis Central Catholic and Trinity Christian. They ran a combined two miles of hills through fields and across small rills along the Seth Burton Memorial Disc Golf course.
Monongah, coached by Ashley Reed, cinched the school’s first recorded M-D title while St. Francis, coached by Desiree Poach, won its second in a row.
Rounding out the top four team places for the girls were St. Francis, Mannington and Fairmont Catholic. For the boys, Mannington took second, Monongah third and Trinity fourth.
The top seven junior varsity girls’ finishers were Dallas Heflin (Monongah), Angelina Collins (Monongah), Jaylen Schell (Monongah), Kaylee Kuhns (Manington), Megan Tiano (Monongah), Ashlyn Wildman (Mannington), and Haley Stahl (Monongah).
The top seven junior varsity boys’ finishers were all from St. Francisl: Dake LaSala, Patrick Ryan, Dominic Gabriele, George Chirila, Will Pilgrim, Daniel Phillips and Nathan Cendana.
The top seven varsity girls’ finishers were Autumn Llaneza (Monongah), Sophia Tomana (Fairmont Catholic), Lea Hatcher (St. Francis), Marisa Fijewski (St. Francis), Kierra Heflin (Monongah), Tapanga Rogers (Mannington) and Breanna Shelosky (Monongah).
The top seven varsity boys’ finishers were Aiden Palmer (St. Francis), Jacob Stupar (St. Francis), Brady Mudry (St. Francis), Gabe Turak (Trinity), Chase Ammons (Clay-Battelle) and Jasper Brown (St. Francis).
Fairmont Catholic coach Stephanie Tomana praised the school’s parents and the city for the meet.
“If you’ve ever hosted a cross-country race, you can really appreciate the effort and planning involved for 13 minutes or so of race time,” she said. “It takes three full days of laborious effort to host a race here. Our parents, runners and alumni worked tirelessly clearing the course of debris, recognizing hazards and placing guide flags. They have done an amazing job.
“The Mason-Dixon Conference gives athletes from smaller schools a venue for competition and success. Some stellar athletes would go unnoticed in a meet with hundreds of runners, where the top 20 medal recipients are decided by mere seconds. It’s essential in youth sports that athletes have successes, that they fell supported and that they have a positive environment in which to grow their abilities and overcome their losses.
“All of these runners are champions. Be it first or last, the sportsmanship in this league is outstanding. We have such a family oriented atmosphere in our conference, every team cheers for every runner, be it their champion or their opponents champion. The last finisher is as cheered on as the first finisher.
“Mason-Dixon athletes often go on to larger venues of competition as part of state championship teams, I’m confident we’re going to see several of these athletes competing at the state level in a few short years.”