WEST PORTSMOUTH — The more time Scioto County’s runners spend practicing their craft, the less time they spend running each 5K they compete in.
With a brisk wind and fog-filled air on Saturday morning, the county’s top distance runners competed against one another in the 2020 Portsmouth Invitational hosted at Earl Thomas Conley Park.
With just over a month until the OHSAA state cross country championships to be held at Fortress Obetz, area runners continue to trim precious seconds off their top times in hopes of qualifying for the state meet.
Finishing among the top-five individual places of the high school boys race which began at 10:30 a.m. were a familiar slew of names.
Three Northwest Mohawks — Landen Smith, Josh Shope and Kailan Marshall — each placed in the top five to help Northwest claim another top team finish this cross country season.
Smith took the overall top spot, finishing first with a time of 16:23.06 — followed by Shope who finished in second-place with a time of 16:33.
Marshall’s time of 17:11 was good enough for fifth-place — and third among his Mohawk teammates.
Gabe Morrell was Northwest’s fourth qualifying team time, finishing the course in 18:46 — while teammate Eragorn Elkins finished in 19:25.
With a meet-low total of 42 points, Northwest finished in first-place as a team — just ahead of Rock Hill, who placed second with 77.
Vinton County and Waverly tied for third with 83 points apiece, and Huntington finished fifth with 117.
Minford finished in sixth-place as a team, while Falcons senior Dutch Byrd placed third in the boys race with a time of 16:37.
Byrd was Minford’s quickest runner on Saturday, followed by Zeb Allen, who finished with a time of 20:06 and Sam Tieman with a time of 20:07.
Representing Portsmouth — the host of Saturday’s Invitational — in the top five individuals was freshman Charlie Putnam.
Putnam, whose top-five finishes in the Northwest and Minford invitationals and Ohio Valley Conference championship have him poised for a bright high school career, finished fourth with a time of 16:41 — just 18 seconds behind Smith’s first-place time.
Waverly’s Mitch Green and Aidan Kelly each placed in the top-10 in representing Southern Ohio Conference teams, with Green placing sixth with a time of 17:22 and Kelly finishing in ninth at 18:15.
In the high school girls race, River Valley’s Lauren Twyman set the standard with a sub-20 time — completing the course at ETC Park in just 19:44.
River Valley placed sixth out of six qualifying teams despite Twyman’s top finish, as she was the lone Lady Raider to finish in the top-30.
Rock Hill claimed the top team finish in Saturday’s race — with three Redwomen runners finishing in the top-10.
RH’s Camryn Miller finished fifth with a time of 20:50, Bella Stevens finished eighth at 21:26, and Brianna Reynolds finished 10th at 21:56.
Northwest’s Brooke Shope was the lone Scioto County runner to place in the top-10, doing so with a time of 21:44.
The Lady Mohawks’ distance team finished fourth — with their top time coming from Shope.
Shope’s time was good enough for ninth-place, just edging Reynolds by 12 seconds.
Minford’s Juniper Allen finished 18th with a time of 22:47, and was the lone Lady Falcon competing in the girls race.
The 2020 Southern Ohio Conference boys and girls cross country championships are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m.
This year’s Southeast District cross country meet will be held at Southeastern High School — a week later on Oct. 24.
The district meet’s location switch from the University of Rio Grande is a non-unique location change due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
A full list of results may be found by visiting https://www.baumspage.com/cc/portsmouth-shawneestate/2020/.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved