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Local News and Views From Area Teams & Athletes

Cross country team shows promise

Cross country coach Lauri Spencer looks forward to the season which begins for her team Saturday night. Braxton’s competition this season in the St. Marys Medical Center XC Festival will provide some firsts for Coach Spencer.
“This is the largest team I’ve had to opportunity to coach,” she said. “We have a varsity boys’ team as well as a varsity and jv girls’ team,” she added, “and this is the first night race in which we’ve participated. This should be a great experience for all of our runners.”
The 15-member team includes 11 upperclassmen----six seniors and five juniors. The most experienced individual on the team, senior Kate Golinsky has, the coach said, “strong leadership skills.” This is Golinsky’s fourth year in cross country. Another senior, Tiara Hunter, is running for the third year. Hunter, also described as “a good leader,” qualified for the state meet last season. Hunter ran in the Knights on the Run 5K in July.
Other third-year runners are juniors Seth Backus and Holden Hunter. Backus, whom Coach Spencer called “dedicated,” finished eleventh in last season’s state meet. He ran three 5K races this past summer and finished second in all three. Hunter, the coach noted, “is faster and stronger this year.” He ran in one 5K during the summer.
Three senior boys are second-year runners. Coach Spencer indicated that Cooper Brady and Ian Tetrick are both “faster and stronger this season.” About Price Beane, who also ran in the Knights on the Run 5K, she commented, “Running hills is his strength.”
Juniors Tristen Brown and Nicoletta Bonazzo are also running for the second year. The coach called Brown, who competed in one race this summer, “a dedicated, very mature athlete.” She said that Bonazzo is “probably the most improved runner from last year’s team” and added, “I can’t wait to see her race.”
One sophomore, Lauryn Jarvis, is also a second year runner. Coach Spencer said that Jarvis “has a great attitude” and noted that she expects her “to pick up where she left off last season.”
First year-runners include one senior and two freshmen. The senior, Katrina White, is an experienced, successful runner in track, and Coach Spencer expects “her success to carry over into cross country.” Two freshmen, Elainah Uldrich and Kaleb Brown, round out this season’s team. Both, the coach noted, “have great attitude and work ethic.” Brown received a taste of racing when he ran in the Knights on the Run 5K this past summer.
Enthusiasm seems to be prevalent among team members. Some of the team discussed their goals along with the overall promise for the team. As a senior, Brady, who says he “can’t wait to see what this season holds,” plans “to work toward a possible scholarship.” He also wants “to improve as a person.”
Golinsky’s personal goal is “to make the top 10 in the State Meet.” As the only four-year runner on the team, she is excited about the size of this year’s team and its potential. “We have a different team atmosphere,” she said. “I’m excited about the possibilities for all of the kids.”
Two other seniors expressed their goals. Beane wants “to beat [his] PR from last year.” He, too, has positive views of the team. “I believe we have the potential and the desire to become a great team this year, and possibly make it to the states,” he said.
Tiara Hunter says her main goal is “to run better on each course than [she] did last year.” She added, “I want to prove to myself that my senior year will be one to remember.”
About the team, she thinks “it’s bigger and better than ever” and said, “Both have the opportunity to make it to the States.”
Bonazzo said her personal goal “would be to improve [her] time through the season.”
She called this year’s team ”a very close group” and said, “I think we have great potential and can’t wait to see what the season has in store for us.”
Backus has two personal goals. He wants “to set the school record for boys’ cross country” and “make the top 10 in the State Meet.” Looking at this year’s team, he said, “It’s very talented. We have the potential to do great things.”
All six of the runners who commented are looking forward to the night race in which they are competing Saturday. While Backus said only that he thinks it will be “interesting,” most of the others anticipate that it will be exciting.
Saying she is “really excited about it,” Golinsky added, “I’ve never had the opportunity [to race at night] before.” Bonazzo thinks it “will be a great new fun experience,” and Hunter thinks it “will be awesome.” She added, “Although we’ve run this course, it will be interesting to see what it is like when the sun goes down.”
Brady “can’t wait” for the experience and said he’s “excited.” Beane noted that it’s “always a great feeling to try something new.” Adding a practical note, he added, “Hopefully, it’ll be much cooler than racing in the heat of the day,”
Although she doesn’t appear to be quite as excited about the idea of night racing, Coach Spencer is looking forward to the first meet and, of course, to the season. Regarding those two matters, the Braxton coach said, “Many of our runners have trained over the summer. Their dedication to the sport will help us have a very successful season.” The coach added, “With the improvement the girls’ team has made over the summer, I think we will surprise some people at the meet.”

BCMS fields first co-ed soccer season

For the first time in school history, Braxton County Middle School has a soccer team. Jennifer Grindo is coaching the coed group of 18---four girls and 14 boys, and feels quite optimistic about the upcoming season.
Part of Coach Grindo’s optimism is based on the fact that almost every one of her 18 players “has been playing soccer since the age of five.” She went on to say that they had not all played together since that time, but they are all experienced.
A recent scrimmage against Greenbrier East also boosted her optimism. The scrimmage ended in a 4-4 tie, but Grindo emphasized that her team was at one time down 3-0 and came back to outscore the opponents 4-1 in the remainder of the game.
Micaiah Coffman and Dominic Grindo each scored two of the Knights goals.
Team membership is divided equally with six players coming from sixth grade, six from seventh, and six from eighth.
Her team captains are Coffman and Mikayla Brown, both eighth-graders.
The starting lineup begins with goalkeeper Brown. Gavin Dennison plays right back, and Andrew McCallister will be at left back.
Mason Rollyson and Drew Duffield will play center mid, while Wylie Skidmore is at the stopper position. Midfielders are Coffman and Maggie Skidmore.
At right wing fans will see Heinrich Harmon, while Gage Triplett will be at left wing. Grindo is the striker.
The Knights’ soccer season begins Wednesday at Princeton when they take on Princeton Middle School.
Their first home game is set for Sept. 15. They will play a full schedule of 14 games.
Anticipating the season, Coach Grindo remarked, “I really don’t see any reason we can’t have a winning season. We may not win every game, but we have a chance in every one of them.”

Lincoln hands Braxton Eagles 33-6 loss in first game of football season

Regarding his team’s loss to the Lincoln Cougars last Friday night, Braxton coach Bill Haddox said, “They may not have done as well as I thought we could have” and continued to name some of the problems he saw.
“Our kids played really hard,” the coach noted, “but they made a lot of mistakes, and that was our biggest problem.” He continued to say that many of those mistakes were in the process of decision making and added, “We don’t do the little things that we need to do, the little things that are a part of the game.”
Emphasizing that he would be going over those mistakes and the problems with decision making,
Coach Haddox returned to the team’s playing hard. “I think they’re making mistakes because they’re trying too hard. They’re trying to do too much, to do their jobs ad someone else’s,” he explained. “They have to learn control, self-discipline. If they do what they do in practice, they’ll be alright,” he concluded.
Commenting on the fact that the Lincoln players were bigger and older than the Eagles, Coach Haddox said, “We should have be able to take care of that. Yes, they were bigger and older, but it’s our job to [overcome] that.”
Statistically, Lincoln had 307 total yards of offense compared to Braxton’s 207. The Cougar’s quarterback, Koble Carpenter, completed 15 of 23 passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception. Braxton’s four quarterbacks combined completed six of 17 passes for 65 yards.
Heath Cottrill, was 4 for 11 in passing for 59 yards, threw one interception. The leading receiver was Tayton Stout with two receptions for 52 yards.
Leading the Eagles’ ground game, freshman Blake Withrow, who scored Braxton’s only touchdown as time ran out in the game, garnered 60 yards in three carries. Lincoln’s rushing leader was Andrew Lopez.
Defensively, middle linebacker Seth Arnold led the Eagles with 10 tackles. Levi Jarvis with eight and Bruce Wayne and Tayton Stout with five each were also among the defensive leaders. Ben Fincham also had an interception.
The Eagles face longtime rival Clay Friday night at Clay. Looking toward that game, Braxton’s head coach said, “We’ve got to play smart. We didn’t do that against Lincoln.”

Golf team has busy week with some improvement in team scores

Golf team has busy week with some improvement in team scores
“We’re playing okay, just not shooting well enough to win,” Eagles’ golf coach Jerry Frame said of his team’s losses on three different days last week. Braxton played at Gilmer, Clarksburg Notre Dame, and Grafton without winning.

They did, however, see improvement in their team scores.
Monday’s outing at Gilmer saw Braxton finishing in third place at 204 strokes behind Gilmer and Webster.

In that match, Cam Long shot 47, Gavin Triplett 48, Clay Vincent 53, and Gage Vincent 56.
Playing at Clarksburg Notre Dame Wednesday, the team lost but managed to bring the teams score down three strokes to 201.
Notre Dame finished at 178. Long finished at 45, Gage Vincent 50, Clay Vincent 51, and Hunter Drake 55.

Going under 200 for the second time this season, the Eagles lost a 194-197 game to Grafton Thursday.
In that match, Long and Clay Vincent both shot 46.Triplett had a 48, and Drake 57.
Explaining some of the team’s problems, Coach Frame said, “We’re really struggling at chipping and punting because we have no facilities to practice that part of the game.”
Braxton has only one match this week. They play against Lewis County Tuesday.


Soccer team experiences satisfying week

Playing without starting goalie Leslee Coffman, who is suffering from a concussion, the Lady Eagles finished 1-1-1 last week.
Coach Justin Whitford explained what he and assistant coach Jarren Morlan faced in Monday’s practice. “On Monday we learned that goalie Leslee Coffman had a concussion, so we had to make some quick changes during Monday’s practice. We had to change the complete lineup because of the goalie situation,” Coach Whitford explained.

Those changes began with Jessica Beckett stepping up to play goalie, and she did an admirable job last week even though she hadn’t played that position since the last game of the 2013 season,” the coach said.
Tuesday, Fairmont Senior defeated Braxton 4-0 to start the week. After coaching that game, the two Braxton coaches decided to make additional changes. On Wednesday, Coach Whitford said, they “made a whole other change.”

That change evidently paid off because Braxton outscored Oak Hill 2-1 in Thursday’s game. “The girls played very well,” Whitford said, “but we were still adjusting.” Kendra Houghton scored both goals against Oak Hill. The first came with three minutes to go in the first half, and the second came seven minutes into the second half. Ironically, the Eagles would have had a shutout, but Oak Hill scored with two-tenths of a second left in the game.
The 1-1 tie came at North Marion Saturday. Makila Carr scored Braxton’s goal in the 22nd minute of the game on what Coach Whitford termed “a perfect pass” from Bethany Riffle.

North Marion scored with 7:30 left in the game. “I was hoping we’d be able to hold them,” Braxton’s coach said, “but we were playing on turf and it was really hot.” He went on to say, “We had only three subs while they had at least 12 so their players were fresher.
Nonetheless, the Eagles’ coaches were satisfied with the tie. “North Marion has been one of our biggest opponents,” Coach Whitford said, adding, “They’ve dominated us in every game until Saturday.” He continued to say that North Marion had knocked Braxton out of the playoffs last season. “We were excited to see how far we’ve come,” he said.

The Eagles have two home games this week. Tuesday they host East Fairmont, and Saturday they go against Ravenswood. The coaches indicated that both should be good games.

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