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AMS cross country sends two to state

October 22, 2009
By J.T. Whitehouse
“Its not uncommon to have one decent cross country team,” said Austintown Middle School coach John Savage. “We’ve got two.”

Both the boys and girls teams will send representatives to the state meet Oct. 25 in Columbus.

Eighth-grader William Mellott could be heading to Malone College for the meet. He is the top AMS runner on a boys team that started the season with a first-place win at the McDonald Billy Goat Invitational, Aug. 24.

The guys continued their season Sept. 5, placing sixth at the Malone Invitational. They were runners-up on Sept. 12 at the East Palestine Invitational, placed sixth out of 48 teams at the Spartan event in Boardman and finished third in the Suburban League meet at the Canfield Fairgrounds. They were runners-up in the Mahoning County Meet, placed third at the Minerva Invitational, were first at the Mahoning Valley Championships at McDonald, and they finished their season last weekend by placing fourth at the Sim Earich Invitational in Trumbull County. Savage said the boys could have done better, had the team been at full strength.

“We were missing our top two boys because of illness,” he said. “One was Mellott. I hope he gets better in time for Columbus.”

The girls dominated this season also, placing second at McDonald, fifth at Malone, first in East Palestine, fourth in the Boardman meet and first in the league championships out of 17 teams. They also placed first in the county meet, third at Minerva, sixth at the Mahoning Valley Chapionships, and sixth at the Sim Earich. Savage said the girls could have improved their spot, but had to participate with their number two girl absent.

But it was the school's No. 1 runner who has made a name for herself this year. Coach Savage said Carissa Jenkins has constantly proven she is at the top of her game.

“This is my 36th year coaching and teaching,” he said. “You don’t get a kid like her very often. She would be fast no matter who is coaching her.”

At the Malone Invitational, Jenkins placed second out of 235 runners, but she didn’t stop there. She competed at East Palestine and set a new course record by running the 1.75-mile course in just 10:30. At the Spartan Invitational, she came in first and set another new record of 13:01.

At the Suburban League Championships, Jenkins continue to set the bar high by cracking a course record of 12:25 for the two-mile. She went on to set another new record at the Mahoning County Meet on her home course at Austintown Township Park where she ran the 3,100 meters in just 12:20. Minerva brought another new record of 12:17 on the two-mile event. The Oct. 13 Mahoning Valley Championships saw yet another new record of 12:23 for the two-mile course at McDonald.

At the Sim Earich Invitational, Jenkins added her ninth record-breaker by coming in first with a time of 12:50 to set a new two-mile course record. She poured on the heat in spite of the 29 degree temperatures that day. Savage said she is a natural who is displaying great talent in her rookie year.

“She is new to cross country,” he said. “In the spring I saw her run track. I asked what she was doing in the fall and she replied nothing, so I invited her to try cross country and she has proven to be a natural.”

At the state middle school meet, Jenkins will face a strong opponent from Wadsworth, who beat her by 5 seconds in a past race.

Savage said the way Jenkins has continued to break course records, she could very well be a contender for state and could give the Wadsworth girl a run for her money.

In any event, Savage said Jenkins will definitely be one to watch in the coming years after such a strong first-year perfomance in the sport.

The boys ended their season with an overall record of 152-21 and the girls posted a 133-21.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Carissa Jenkins, Andrea Precurato, Jayne Ritchie, Madison Hefner and Erin O’Brien take five during last Thursday practice session at Austintown Township Park. The girls are eighth-grade members of the AMS girls cross country team.



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