PCHS takes second at first-ever Richwood Invitational
The Pocahontas County High School track teams opened their 2010 seasons on an unusually warm Good Friday at the Richwood Invitational, Richwood's first ever track meet.ﾠ The ending of the first meet with Richwood, Webster County and Meadow Bridge was less dramatic than last year's finish at the 2009 state track meet in Charleston.ﾠ The PCHS boys, coached by Mike Knisely, finished last year in sixth place at states with 43 points, only four points behind fourth place Charleston Catholic, and the placement of the top teams hung on the outcome of the last relay event.
The 4x400 relay, determined the champion of the meet and involved protests by PCHS and counter-protests by Wheeling Central.ﾠ A pack of five runners on the backstretch of the final leg of the 4x400, resulted in PCHS runner Abe Rittenhouse tumbling to the track.ﾠ Central's Cyrus Hajiran had to hurdle over Rittenhouse, but officials, after looking at the video tapes taken by two PCHS parents, ruled that Hajiran pushed Rittenhouse and disqualified the Central runner.ﾠ The disqualification of the sixth place one point Central finish in the relay resulted in Doddridge County again winning the meet by one point over Central.ﾠ That push by a Central runner reminded many of us of when we witnessed Nathan Rittenhouse's mile run at states his senior year, when Nathan, older brother of Abe, was pushed into the inside rail twice by another Wheeling Central runner.ﾠ No protest was filed that year, and the Central runner edged Rittenhouse for the state championship.ﾠ Nathan went on to have a record-breaking career at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
On Coach Kay Wiley's girls team last year, defending state champion in the 400m run, junior Adrienne Nottingham was winning the race when she took a hard tumble just feet from the finish line and was unable to finish the race.ﾠ No push was involved.ﾠ Nottingham had shoulder surgery this school year, her second, and it has resulted in Nottingham not playing basketball nor track this school year.
The five PCHS boys relay teams got off to a great start Friday and took first place in the 4x100 (48:04:00), 4x200 (1:40), 4x400 (3:54), 4x800 (9:56) and shuttle hurdles (1:07) relays. The shuttle hurdles sixth place time at States last year was 1:04.25, so they are on track for another medal at States this year.ﾠ The girls 4x800 (13:00) grabbed a first place, also.
Individual first place PCHS finishers, even without the services of top scorer senior Abe Rittenhouse, were:ﾠ junior Tanner Graham - 200m (23.87) and senior Jesse Bolyard - 300m low hurdles (45.04).ﾠ Graham's time is .02 second off his seventh place finish at states last year, and Bolyard's time is only .05 second short of his ninth place 2009 state finish.
Second place finishers were:ﾠ senior Josh Arbogast - 400m (55), freshman Seth Painter - 200m (25.6), sophomore Curtis Plyles - 3200m (12:30), senior Samuel Rose - discus (125.5), junior Noah Pugh - 110m hurdles (18.18), the girls 4x100 (59.03) and 4x200 (2:09), and freshman Brown - 400m (1:09).
Third place finishers were:ﾠ sophomore Bill Kelley - 800m (2:33), senior Jerry Simonin - long jump (16'7"), Jed Sheets - high jump (12.12) and freshman Parker White - 1600m (5:47).
The Warriors and Lady Warriors also took home 10 fourth - sixth place ribbons each.ﾠ Richwood took first in both the boys (195) and girls (202) finals standings. Pocahontas boys took second (166) and girls third (92).ﾠ Webster boys were third (94) and girls second (113).ﾠ Meadow Bridge boys (32) and girls (48) both finished fourth.
The Pocahontas track teams will return to Richwood at full-strength on Tuesday, April 13, for another afternoon meet at 3:30. Warrior fans may want to make the trip to Richwood to see senior defending state champions Derrick Chaffin, of Richwood and Abe Rittenhouse, of Pocahontas, who were one-two in the 1600m last year at states, go head-to-head Tuesday, possibly in more than one event.