Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

The young Pocahontas County High School track teams medaled and scored in two events at the 104th West Virginia High School State Track Meet and both were girls relay events. Several individuals and relay teams came very close to capturing medals, but the competition was fierce this year with more than 50 schools in Class A. The meet was held at UC Stadium, Laidley Field in Charleston May 18 and 19.

The PCHS teams medaled and scored in five events in both 2017 and 2016.  For the second straight year the PCHS girls finished in a tie for 21st place in Class A (of 28 teams who scored this year and of 22 in 2017). The girls two medals this year resulted in a final score of three points, an improvement over the one medal and one point in 2017. The  girls also won two medals and scored 8 points in 2017 while finishing in a tie for 17th place. Josh Weekley of RunWV. com had predicted that the Lady Warriors would finish this meet in a tie with Union and Valley Wetzel for 22nd place with each team scoring two points, so he was close as usual.

The PCHS boys, as predicted by Weekley, did not score this year.

6th in Girls 4x800m – 10:38.53

The first running event at 2 p.m. on Friday is always the girls Class A 4x800m relay, and the PCHS girls, sophomores Sage McLaughlin, Laila Calhoun and Kira Bircher plus senior Cora Hedrick, were nervous but ready to prove a point.  Weekley did not predict that PCHS would place in the event, probably since their season best time of 11:08.67 was ranked #9 in West Virginia Class A. But on the other hand, the PCHS relay team did have the 5th best regional time of 11:16.31. When the race ended, only one school, #2 Doddridge, of the top-eight schools on the Best Performances ranking greatly improved their best season time in the event. Doddridge dropped and finished #8 while PCHS moved up from #9 to #6. The all-freshmen Charleston Catho-lic relay team took first place with a time of 10.08.06.

The unofficial times of the four PCHS athletes was: Sage 2:34, Laila 2:40, Kira 2:46 and Cora 2:36. 

“It was nice to put the baton in the hands of our senior (Cora Hedrick) in the 4×8 and watch her go catch sixth place,” Coach Abe Rittenhouse said. “Cora’s stellar sophomore year will be remembered as a PCHS high. Cora… has been a tremendous anchor for our team and will graduate holding the 3200 meter (school) record in 12:16 and being a part of a 4×800 record of 10:16.”

5th in Girls 4x200m – 1:53.33

The girls 4x200m of freshman Savannah McMillion, sophomore Calhoun, freshman Cheylin Woodruff and McLaughlin entered the 1:40 p.m. race on Saturday ranked #5 in West Virginia this season (1:54.77) and also #5 in regionals (1:54.54). The PCHS girls were also predicted to finish #5, so that is exactly what they did.  All of the top-six predicted teams stayed somewhere in the top-six except for  East Hardy who was predicted to finish #4 and was also ranked #4 (1:54.27) but finished #8 (1:54.07). Charleston Catho-lic moved up to a #6 finish from a #9 top ranking in the event.  The PCHS unofficial times in the event were: McMillion 28, Calhoun 28, Woodruff 27 and McLaughlin 28.

Girls close to scoring

Laila Calhoun made the finals (top-eight runners) with a 7th place finish in the preliminary 100m hurdles (17.10), and ran a slower finals time of 17.69 for an 8th place finish.  The girls 4x400m (4:31.92) of freshmen Kiara Davis and McMillion plus Bircher and McLaughlin missed a medal by 1.10 second with a 7th place finish. The girls shuttle hurdle (1:14.18) of freshman Tessa Kiner, McMillion, Kira Bircher and Calhoun, missed a medal by 1.63 second with their 9th place finish. McMillion and Kira Bircher had not practiced the hurdles until May 3, and the foursome placed first at regionals on May 11.  That is fast learning at the end of the season. For the second straight year, junior Bridget Carrol placed #7 in the discus throw (98-02 this year and 104-10 in 2017), just missing a medal this year by 2-09.

Boys close to scoring

The boys 4x400m of juniors Kyle Cohenour, Elijah Robertson, Logan Woodruff and Jacob Jones, missed a medal by 3.59 seconds with an 8th place finish.  The boys 4x800m of Cohenour, freshman Gus Foe, Logan Wood-ruff and Jones, also missed a medal by 11.32 seconds with another 8th place finish.

Junior Freddy Canary, of South Harrison, was boys Class A high scorer again with three gold medals and one silver in individual events for 38 points. The second through fifth boys high scorers ranged from 24 to 16.25 points. Sophomore Jonna Ferrell, of Doddridge County, was girls high scorer with the maximum 40 points for four gold medals in individual events. The second through fifth girls high scorers ranged from 24 to 20.5 points. Twenty-five boys teams scored versus 26 last year. The two dominant boys teams were #1 Magnolia – 80 points and #2 Saint Mary’s with 72.50. Twenty-eight girls teams scored versus 22 last year. The two top girls teams were #1 Doddridge County – 89 points and #2 Williamstown – 68.  
Congratulations to PCHS Head Track Coaches Abe Rittenhouse, Aaron Pugh and Eric Rose for their leadership and guidance of two young teams that resulted in success and improvement during the 2018 season.