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Wednesday, July 4, 2001 -- Wheeling, WV
Heritage Trail Freedom Run (iPO Event Id#: 2969)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Awards]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

A fine morning to play outside in Wheeling, WV
The West Virginia 5 Mile championship raced through Wheeling on the morning of July 4th. While it was no surprise to see Ricky Moore lead the race wire-to-wire, the women's race was a battle to the finish. In the end it was 17-year-old Katrina Jones out-kicking all her rivals to take the win.

Moore made sure there was not too much excitement at the front of the race as he simply led all challengers out and then held them off at a comfortable distance. The Wheeling Jesuit runner also races for Hole-n-Run in Wheeling and simply said "I felt good out there." Good enough for a 25:54 5-mile time, the overall win, and the honor of being West Virginia's 5-mile champion for 2001.

His nearest challenger, Ben Bolock, who will be a freshmen runner for Alderson-Broaddus College this fall, did his best to keep it close. "I thought I was closing on him at the turnaround (3-miles), but he sure made it up the last mile!" said the second place finisher. His time of 26:33 was a full two minutes ahead of the rest of the field.

Race Pic
Heading through Wheeling to the Heritage Trail
The rest of that field was led to the finish by Wheeling Jesuit's Dustin Meeker and his friend Dennis Delbert, a veteran coach of 17 years for St. John's Track and XC in Belaire, OH. With Delbert setting the tempo, the tandem paced themselves through the field for the first four miles. With maybe 600 meters to go, Meeker was running in third with Delbert hot on his trail. At the finish it was Meeker at 28:41 for third and the 43-year-old Delbert at 28:45 for the masters title.

The battle for the title of West Virginia's 5-Mile female champion for 2001 was waged from start to finish with the top four crossing the line within seconds of one another. At the beginning it was 17-year-old Katrina Jones satisfied to follow the fast early pace set by 41-year-old Sabina Kane from New Brighton, PA.

Meanwhile, Becky Droginske and Kathryn Bogard-Stevens were in a rhythm of their own as they had Tom Rownd and Walter Seamon helping them out in a steady chase. They're patience paid off as the two leaders finally came back to them, but not until mile 4.5.

1st O/A Female
Katrina Jones shows a strong finishing kick
The foursome began to jockey for position as a sprint finish was almost unavoidable. Gaining a short gap before the finish were Jones and Droginske as they raced down the Heritage trail toward the finish. With the finish line in sight, Jones launched into a beautiful finishing kick to grab the win at 32:37. "She ran a tough race," said the second place Droginske (32:39), "but it all felt pretty doggone good... It'll make my 4th!"

Jones was obviously quite pleased with her race and commented, "This will really help my confidence going into the 2001 XC season." It is certain that her teammates at Martins Ferry High School will be glad to have her back for her final season.

The racing wasn't over as Kane and Bogard-Stevens raced to settle who would take third place. Bogard-Stevens moved into third as the finish approached, but with just 200 meters to go Kane made the final move. "I saw the bridge and I knew I was almost there... and I took off," was how Kane remembered it. Her move held as Bogard-Stevens' best effort couldn't counter even though both were given finishing times of 32:40.

#1 Fan
Just a lot of fun for everyone
While all the the runners were finishing their 5 miles, the walkers were hitting the line after a 5K race. Steve Bence and Kathy Campbell each put the hammer down on their fellow 5K walkers by posting times of 25:53 and 30:53, respectively.

Everyone who participated enjoyed the course and was treated to a generous supply of food, drinks, awards and prizes. And all indications are that the Heritage Trail Freedom Run will be back bigger and better than ever in 2002.