MINFORD — As Northwest’s Kailan Marshall made his final Southern Ohio Conference cross country run his best, the best is yet to come — most likely — for the South Webster Lady Jeeps.
That’s because the senior Marshall captured the individual boys race championship, and the youthful Lady Jeeps won the girls team title —all part of Saturday’s annual SOC meet, which took place this year on the campus of Minford Local Schools.
Starting with Marshall, who has enjoyed a dominant senior season so far, he ended his regular campaign at the front of the finish line —winning the 75-man boys 5K in a fast 16 minutes and 36 seconds, especially given the cooler and more mid-October seasonal weather conditions.
Marshall, Northwest’s number-one runner after holding down the regular third fort the past two memorable Mohawk falls, was the only runner in under 17 minutes —and one of only two in under 17 minutes and 20 seconds.
Marshall’s victory marks the third consecutive SOC meet in which the Mohawks have won the individual championship —as Landen Smith, the two-time all-Ohioan after twice placing in the top-11 at the Division II state meet —successfully last season defended his title of two years ago.
Marshall remarked briefly on his run after the race, in which wind was all around —even if the sunshine was out.
“It was really windy out today, but it was perfect weather actually. Couldn’t be better and it was a good race,” he said.
The last two seasons, with Northwest’s 1-2 punch of Smith and Josh Shope, maybe Marshall was overlooked and even undervalued —but he actually finished fourth in last season’s meet, in a personal-record 16 minutes and 16 seconds at Eastern High School.
Marshall ran the Minford course only three weeks prior as part of the annual Minford Invitational, which gave him a likely leg — or two legs — up on Waverly’s Mitch Green and Eastern’s Teagan Werner.
On that ideal day, Marshall crushed that 68-man and mainly SOC field —clocking in at 17 minutes and three seconds, and bettering runner-up and teammate Mason Breech by 58 full seconds.
Speaking of Breech, he book-ended with Marshall making the top-five —as he ran a 17:42 on Saturday.
Green’s 17:01, Werner’s 17:20 and Oak Hill’s Jevi Mesegure’s 17:24 all sandwiched between Breech (17:42) and Marshall (16:36) —as Oak Hill’s Walker Fowble finished sixth in 17:47, and Waverly’s Ty Reisinger was seventh in 17:55.
That group of seven were the only boys runners in under 18:45, and all represented the all-SOC first team.
In addition to Marshall, Werner and Green —which were fifth and sixth last season respectively —repeated to the first-team all-league unit.
This year’s eighth-place runner was Wheelersburg senior David Brown (18:45), as Brown was seventh last year — and first-team all-league.
The second seven placers in both the boys and girls races made all-SOC second team —and included besides Brown Eastern’s Cody Garrett (9th in 18:57), Oak Hill’s Connor Clark (10th in 18:58), Waverly’s Aidan Kelly (11th in 19:06), South Webster’s Caden Conley (12th in 19:07), Green’s Lethan Poe (13th in 19:07) and Northwest’s Michael Wamsley (14th in 19:07).
In fact, Conley (19:07.00), Poe (19:07.50) and Wamsley (19:07.60) were all separated by a microscopic 60 one-hundredths of a single second.
Kelley and Conley moved up two spots apiece from last season’s meet —and repeated to the all-SOC second-squad.
On the team front, eight clubs split into two four-team divisions —as Oak Hill, with three in the top-10 and all five scorers among the top 16 —knocked Northwest from its two-time defending top SOC perch.
The Oaks earned a score of 49 and the Mohawks a 57 — as besides Marshall, Breech and Wamsley, Northwest’s final two scorers of Eragorn Elkins (18th in 19:24) and Boston Wolfe (22nd in 19:49) were 18th and 22nd.
Waverly (67) was third overall and in the SOC II, as Eastern —with 99 points —earned fourth overall and the SOC I team title.
Rounding out the boys team scores were Wheelersburg (135), Western (151), South Webster (169) and Symmes Valley (207).
For the girls, there were a half-dozen schools which fielded full teams towards one single division —as five runners is the minimum number necessary.
The Lady Jeeps made the most of their numbers game, as spearheaded by freshmen frontrunners Marley Kreischer (4th in 22:40) and Kate Mantell (5th in 22:44), South Webster sported its five scorers among the top-22 — and its top-six among the top-24.
While Kreischer and Mantell may be freshmen, they are excellent runners —and joined up with junior teammate Ali Newman (10th in 23:44) for three Lady Jeeps in the top-10.
Another Lady Jeep, Macie Rhoads, was 13th in 24:05.
South Webster was victorious at multiple meets this season, including at the Minford Invitational — and has good numbers with the maximum seven scores.
In fact, longtime SWHS XC coach Tim Conley credited fifth scorer and 22nd-place Ciara Jones and her 26 minutes and one second for securing Saturday’s triumph.
It was the Lady Jeeps’ first SOC girls country championship since 2015 — a long time according to Conley.
“All the girls stepped up to the plate. We have three freshmen running out here, and we had two first-team and two second-team all-SOC today, but it’s always about your fifth person. You’re only as good as your fifth person. If Ciara Jones doesn’t pull off what she did today, then we don’t win,” said the coach. “The girls have had a lot of success this year, and we’re very pleased and very blessed. We were lucky enough to win the Minford Invitational and see our competition today for the most part. We’re very happy to compete against the Wheelersburgs and Waverlys of the world. The girls did well.”
Speaking of Wheelersburg and Waverly, the Lady Pirates placed second with a 56 and the Lady Tigers with a 68 respectively, while Green’s 101, Northwest’s 105, and Symmes Valley’s 143 were the other team totals.
Individually, only ahead of Kreischer and Mantell were Waverly senior Olivia Cisco, Eastern senior Abby Cochenour and Minford junior Juniper Allen — as Cisco successfully defended her individual race championship, clocking in at a fast 19 minutes and 54 seconds.
Cochenour, who won the title at Waverly two years back, was once again runner-up to Cisco —as she posted a 21:42.
Allen, who was fourth last season at Eastern, was the only other of the 52 finishers which ran in under 22:40 —as she ran right with Cochenour, and was nine seconds (21:53) behind her.
Wheelersburg senior Amanda Salmons was sixth in 22:56, and Northwest senior Brooke Shope was seventh in 23 minutes even —as Sammons secured seventh last year and Shope third.
Cisco, Cochenour, Allen, Kreischer, Mantell, Salmons and Shope all made up the first-team all-conference club —with only the Lady Jeep freshmen not repeating from a year ago.
The next seven gals all ran between a 23:04 and a 24:12, and all earned the all-league second team —including West junior Kodi Burton (8th in 23:04), Northwest sophomore Ashley Cantrell (9th in 23:21), South Webster’s Newman (10th in 23:44), Wheelersburg sophomore Kylie Marsh (11th in 23:50), Green’s Kinslee McIhenney (12th in 23:53), South Webster’s Rhoads (13th in 24:05) and Waverly’s Hadley Cisco (14th in 24:12).
Burton, while running for Northwest, was sixth in last season’s race —as Cantrell (11th in 2020), Newman (13th in 2020) and Marsh (8th in 2020) made it back-to-back all-SOC second-team honors.
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
The SOC schools now shift their attention to the official postseason on Saturday —and the Southeast District Division III (2 p.m. girls race and 3 p.m. boys race) and Division II (4 p.m. girls race and 5 p.m. boys race) championship meets at the University of Rio Grande.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved