Midland sweeps MSAC XC titles
ONA — Cabell Midland swept the boys and girls Mountain State Athletic Conference team titles Wednesday at the conference meet held at the Knights’ home course and site of the state meet.
Madison Trippett of Parkersburg and Chris Barbera of Woodrow Wilson took the individual girls and boys titles with Trippett finishing way ahead of the rest of the field. The duo were also presented with medals and certificates as the boys and girls MSAC runners of the year as well.
Barbera, the defending state champion, only recently began training this season and looked to be prepared to defend his state title.
Coming off the starting line, Barbera, George Washington’s Jacob Birurakis and Cabell Midland’s Steven Ball took the early lead. The trio held those positions thru the first mile of the race.
Then Sam LeRose took over third as Ball dropped to fourth while Barbera and Birurakis stayed in front.
As the runners hit the newly-resurfaced track at Cabell Midland, Barbera had opened a sizable lead and defeated Birurakis by 25 seconds.
Trippett crossed the finish line with a time of 18:21. Trippett was one second faster than her time at the St. Mary’s XC Festival in September which she also won.
“I felt strong all the way through,” said Trippett, a junior. ”(The finish) surprised me. You never know what to expect so you just have to run your hardest no matter what.”
Trippett led the girls race from the starting line all the way through the finish. Coming off the starting line she opened up a lead followed by a group of Cabell Midland runners.
The top three runners, led by Trippett and followed by Cabell Midland’s Anya Miller and Parkersburg’s Olivia Collett, emerged at the first mile marker. Those three held their positions at the two-mile marker and coming onto the track.
Miller took second place at the meet, the best individual finish for the Knights. Emma Jenkins, ninth; Gretchen Mills, fifth; Brynn Smith, fourth along with Miller’s second place finish marked the top 10 spots for the Knights giving them 31 points overall.
In the girls field, Cabell Midland finished ahead of Parkersburg and Hurricane for the top three spots.
The boys team beat Woodrow Wilson and Parkersburg to take home the top team spot.
“The MSAC is a strong conference,” Cabell Midland head coach Chris Parsons said. “The girls ran a strong race and the boys ran strong enough. The biggest two races, of course, are coming up.”
Parsons, recognized as the MSAC’s top girls cross country coach, said those two races, the regional meet at Mineral Wells and the state meet will determine how good both of his teams are.