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Taylors set to defend titles

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

The father-daughter combo of Larry and Jessica Taylor are set to defend their West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival 5K Run-Walk titles today as the second annual race will take place at Newpointe.

Race time is set for 8:30 a.m.

"I run in Fayetteville and it has a lot of hills," Larry Taylor said. "This is more my kind of course. It starts gradually and finishes downhill.

"From what I hear, there will be a strong field. It's only in its second year, and it seems to be growing and getting stronger and stronger."

Taylor finished with a time of 16:21 last year to defeat second-place finisher John Reynolds by 17 seconds.

The younger Taylor, who won the 800, 1600 and 3200 meters last month at the Class AA-A state meet, is eagerly anticipating competing against Jeni, Jil and Jesi Christiansen, a trio of sisters from Greenville, Pa.

"I've seen their names on the Internet and they have run some really good times," the younger Taylor said. "I don't really worry about winning or losing in the summer and fall, but it's good to find competition."

Jessica Taylor had an easier time last year. She finished a 1:07 ahead of the second-place finisher.

The course is completely within the confines of Newpointe and Eastpointe. The race will begin at the Postal store and will run on Emily Drive toward the Department of Motor Vehicles offices.

The runners will then circle through the parking lot just past the DMV and come back onto Emily Drive. They will stay on Emily Drive until reaching the first entrance into Wal-Mart, across from Applebee's.

The runners will then run in the upper portion of the parking lot before circling down past Staples and Goody's, before moving back onto Emily Drive.

Runners will then go into the second entrance toward Wal-Mart with the finish line beside the Wal-Mart Garden Center.

Final registration will be held from 7-8:15 a.m. at Lowe's. The race is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. A CENTRA shuttle bus, running from Wal-Mart to Lowe's will be in use.

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444.

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