CENTENARY — Charlie Putnam ran it back.
In fact, the Portsmouth High School sophomore standout runner ran it back-to-back.
That’s because Putnam, on Saturday at Gallia Academy High School, captured his second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference cross country individual race championship —this time completing the 5K course in 17 minutes and three seconds.
Last year, with the race taking place in late August amid the coronavirus threat to that season, he ran Fairland’s 5K course in 18 minutes and 20 tics.
By winning that race, he became the second Trojan in three years to claim the OVC’s first-place boys finish — as Aiden Kammler accomplished the same feat in 2018 with a time of 17:10.53.
Putnam is the son of Shawnee State cross country and track and field head coach Eric Putnam, who himself finished as Division I state runner-up during his high school career at Chillicothe in 1989.
On Saturday, and even amid cooler October weather conditions, the younger Putnam was well out in front of his competition —which featured a total field of 37 runners.
His closet competitor was Fairland freshman Brody Buchanan, who crossed the finish line in 18 minutes and 11 seconds —exactly a full minute and eight seconds behind Putnam.
There were no other Portsmouth runners competing on Saturday —in either boys or girls.
Laura Hamm of Coal Grove, of 35 female runners, captured the girls individual championship in 21:41.
Rock Hill swept the team championships, and rather decisively, as both the girls and boys races fielded four teams apiece.
For the ladies, the Redwomen won with 26 points — followed by Fairland’s 43, Ironton’s 67, and South Point’s 100.
On the boys side, Rock Hill had 25 points —followed by 44 from Fairland, 69 by host Gallia Academy, and 101 from Ironton.
Putnam — a state meet qualifier from last season — will now run in Saturday’s Southeast District Division II race, which is set for 5 p.m. at the University of Rio Grande.
Last season, at the state meet, Putnam placed 49th in 16:55, as he entered the race with the fastest freshman regional time — and exited the race with the fastest freshman time by 11-and-a-half seconds.
© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved