Abel top performer for Pioneers at Elkins

Glenville State Men's Cross Country team at the starting line.

The men's cross country team gather at the starting line.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Forest Festival this past Saturday. Schools that participated were Fairmont State, Gannon, Ohio Valley, West Virginia Wesleyan, and the host school, the Davis and Elkins Senators.

The women’s race took off first on the tough course, made even more difficult due to the rain. At the end of the day the underclassmen from West Virginia Wesleyan led the way. Bobcat Sophomore Erica Walker won with Freshmen teammates Rachel Hulett and Lauren Mcdaniel close behind. The first Lady Pioneer to cross the line was Senior Nicole Himes in a time of 29:14 on the 6k course . Not far behind her was Junior Danielle Perkins in a time of 29:48. Seniors Chelsea Stickleman and Beth Deren alongwith Junior Cayleigh Huck rounded out the scoring for the Lady Pioneers. “I feel the women with a makeshift team could place fifth or sixth in the conference if they keep putting in their mileage,” said Head Cross Country Coach Cam Perry. West Virginia Wesleyan won the race with a dominating 17 point performance that was just two points short of a perfect score. Out-of-conference foe Gannon claimed the runner-up honors.

Next up at the Forest Festival was the men’s race as the rain picked up and made the course even less manageable. This didn’t seem to affect Sophomore Nathan Whitacre of West Virginia Wesleyan as he won in a time 29:40 on the challenging 8k course. The top Pioneer men’s performer on the day wasn’t too far back in third place finisher, Senior T.J Abel with a time of 29:53.The rest of the Pioneers finished in a pack as Junior Boris Nimcevic, Sophomore Tyler Wilson, Freshman Josh James, and Freshman Zac Burnside completed the scoring for the young Pioneers. “The men’s team being a young team I don’t foresee why we wouldn’t finish in the top half of the conference again this year. With T.J Abel a likely first team all-conference member and the rest of the team getting better each and every day, I don’t see why not,” said Coach Perry on the team’s odds. Again, like the women’s race, the Bobcats from West Virginia Wesleyan prevailed over the runner-up Gannon Golden Knights.

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