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RCB, Colts dominate meet

by Rob Peirce

SPORTS WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- One was a pair of brothers who love to run against each other. The other featured a mentor and protégé running away from the competition. Both led their teams to victories.

Andrew and Michael Skidmore placed first and second to pace the Robert C. Byrd boys. Hillary Brown and Alexa Jennings did the same to lead the Philip Barbour girls in a three-team cross country meet Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Park.

With three of the top four runners, the Eagles boys team scored 24 points in the meet, followed by Lincoln's 45. Philip Barbour also participated but didn't have enough runners to place as a team. The Colts girls team beat the Eagles, 23-35. The Cougars had just one runner.

Andrew Skidmore won the boys side, finishing in 18:38. Michael Skidmore was second with 19:00. Fletcher Lodar (19:43) placed fourth, Bradley Bowdin (20:42) eighth and Vincent Morroquin (20:51) ninth for Robert C. Byrd.

"We ran through this meet," Robert C. Byrd coach Bob Steele said. "We didn't take them lightly, because any team you have to take as a serious threat. But my concept of cross country is you run extremely hard in September do well in October."

Richard Phillips (19:38) placed third to lead Philip Barbour. Wayne Ridgeway (20:07) also fared well for the Colts, finishing sixth. Dennis Goodwin (20:06) led Lincoln with a fifth-place finish. Justin Coughlin (20:23) was seventh and William McAtee (21:38) 10th for the Cougars.

Freshman Andrew Skidmore and sophomore Michael Skidmore are the Eagles' top two runners, with the injured Ryan Sullivan not far behind.

"They run well against each other, but they enjoy the competition (against other teams)," Steele said of the Skidmores. "They've been switching off in practice. Last week, Michael beat Andrew."

Brown won the girls side by a full 45 seconds with a time of 22:29. But Jennings, a freshman, held her own, finishing second in 23:14. Both are also members of the Philip Barbour girls soccer team.

Brown qualified for the state meet last year and finished the season ranked No. 9. Her ranking fell to No. 11 after the previous meet, and Colts coach Alice Tenney is pushing her to catch up. But Brown also mentors Jennings, which Tenney believes will help both.

"When you're mentoring somebody, you're not going to get so far ahead of them that they can't see you," Tenney said. "As Alexis gets better and better, Hillary will get faster, too."

Apparently, Jennings needed a little prodding from her mentor before joining the team.

"She missed the first week of practice, because she didn't think she wanted to do this," Tenney said. "Hillary talked her into doing it. Look at her times -- they're excellent for a ninth-grader that's been running a month."

Kasey King (24:32) finished fifth, Carrie Davis (24:47) sixth and Miranda Zickefoose (27:17) ninth for Philip Barbour. Carnie Waley (23:59) placed third to lead Robert C. Byrd. Erin Swiger (24:30) was fourth, Cassie Warner (25:28) seventh and Laura Denny (29:33) 10th for the Eagles. Jessica Bishop (26:45) finished eighth as Lincoln's only runner.

Sports writer Rob Peirce can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at rpeirce@exponent-telegram.com.