HUNTINGTON - George Washington took home first place in the boys and girls cross country races while its top boys runner claimed first place overall in the third Mountaintop Invitational cross country meet Saturday at Huntington High School.
The Patriots boys were paced by Jacob Birurakis, the No. 2-ranked cross country runner in the state according to runwv.com, after the senior recorded a time of 16:46. Runwv.com is a website dedicated to tracking high school and middle school runners and their teams across the state.
Runwv.com ranked Birurakis behind Woodrow Wilson’s Chris Barbera, the defending Class AAA boys state champion, entering Saturday.
“I ran here the first time as a sophomore and was 17:41 and it was really hot that day,” Birurakis said. “It’s a good season-opener. There’s definitely room to improve.”
Birurakis’ time on Saturday was slower than his 16:11 mark posted in the state championship meet last fall where he finished fourth.
The starting line had runners begin at the goalpost on the football practice field, run a loop behind the softball and baseball fields and circle the practice field again before winding around a hilly path that circled the outer edge of the football field. A loop down a wooded path brought runners behind the track then through a gate near the scoreboard where they finished the final 350 meters on the track.
Birurakis had a small lead on the first loop around the softball and baseball fields and had stretched it to 1:06.8 by the time he crossed the finish line ahead of Point Pleasant’s Luke Wilson.
“The course is very technical and allows for individual running with some rolling hills to it,” Birurakis said. “It’s not too bad.”
Huntington High’s boys took the second place team award followed by Charleston Catholic in third place and Point Pleasant in fourth. Wayne finished behind the Patriots on the girls side followed by Charleston Catholic in third and Huntington High in fourth.
Aubrie Custer of Charleston Catholic finished first overall for the girls with a time of 21:37.9. In second place was Winnie Mayes of Huntington High who finished with a mark of 22:11.4.
In the middle school races, Huntington Middle’s Andrew Brewster took home first place overall for the boys with a time 10:16.2. Audrey Hall of Hurricane Middle won the girls race with a mark of 11:31.8.
Hurricane took first place overall in the boys leg with John Adams Middle in second, Barboursville Middle claiming third and Wayne Middle in fourth place. Hurricane also won the girls first place team award followed by Ravenswood, Wayne and John Adams.
Seven high schools competed Saturday along with 13 middle schools and 495 runners overall.