By Steve Keenan
Former Oak Hill High cross country standout Wes Stowers will be among those in the field at the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Championship meet at Lock Haven (Pa.) University this Saturday, Nov. 9.
Two weeks ago, Stowers was fifth with a clocking of 27 minutes, 9.34 seconds on an 8-kilometer course in the Mountain East Conference men’s cross country championship at Pipestem. He was also the MEC’s freshman of the year.
“I was ecstatic with placing top 5,” Stowers said recently. “I knew coming in that I had a good shot at 1st team, but wanted to see what I could really do. Someone had mentioned freshman of the year early on, but I had completely forgotten about it by the time conference rolled around. I was just focused on racing. Receiving the award was a great feeling and accomplishment.”
“I felt good during the race,” he continued. “I had been battling a few bumps and bruises the week prior but felt 100% Saturday morning.
“I was in 10th place for about the first mile and a half of the race. (Wesleyan) Coach (Jesse) Skiles preached to us all week about how important the middle of the race was. He said 8-20 minutes is when we needed to go. That’s when I made my move and opened up and it helped me pick off a lot of guys.
“Sure, not winning as a team was a disappointment, but we have had a great season so far, and we’re ready to go into regionals and make a statement that we’re good enough to race with the best.”
“Wes Stowers is a tremendous addition to our program, and a very deserving rookie of the year winner,” said Skiles. “He is a great student, a respectful and driven young man.
“He has a bright future ahead of him as a collegiate runner.”
Led by Luke Holubeck’s front-running performance of 25:55.5, Wheeling Jesuit captured the men’s crown with 27 points, followed by Wesleyan (46) and Concord (92).
Other local finishers included Fairmont’s Scott Treadway (28th, 29:26.32), Fairmont’s Lucas Gardner (42nd, 30:46.11) and Concord’s Tony Tredway (48th, 31:25.79).
On the women’s side, Wesleyan dominated, scoring 20 points to easily beat Wheeling Jesuit (55) and the rest of the field. The Bobcats’ Naomi Underwood (24:14.56) captured the individual title, and Skiles was coach of the year.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org