Tough day for WC, VHS, St. Al runners

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2000

Warren Central’s Chase Grogan came within a second of beating his biggest rival for fifth place, the highest finish of a Warren County runner, at the Vicksburg Bankers Association/Ready Mix Concrete Invitational at Memorial Stadium Saturday morning.

On an unseasonably cool, breezy morning, Grogan took sixth with a time of 16:43.85, nearly 30 seconds behind the top finisher, Robert Stevenson of Pearl.

“They were really strong today,” Grogan said of Pearl, which recorded the top three boys finishers en route to a dominating team victory. “I knew (William) Drinkwater and Ben Pendarvis of Clinton would be strong.”

Grogan has had an ongoing battle with Pendarvis in the last few years and said he would get him on another day.

“I could have worked a little harder,” Grogan said. “I turned it on a little too late … but I’ll keep working.”

Grogan fell behind by about 10 yards on the backstretch down the VHS track and just couldn’t make up the distance in time.

WC’s Chase Koestler finished 19th overall at 18:18 and Matt Leavell took 24th as the Vikings took third overall with 99 points.

St. Aloysius’ Mack Henry finished 12th overall with a time of 17:38, and teammate Phillip Hattaway placed 25th as the Flashes took fifth overall in the three-mile boys run. The girls’ run was two miles.

Vicksburg High’s Willie Powers placed 26th, the highest any Gator finished. Vicksburg finished seventh in the 10-team boys division.

Allison Horn, a St. Aloysius freshman favored to win the meet, stepped awkwardly off the pavement less than a half-mile from the finish line.

She was, at the time, battling near the front of the pack, but was unable to finish the race.

“I was upset about what happened to Allison,” VHS coach Eric Solis said. “She’s a great athlete and was doing great. I know she’ll be back next week. Hopefully, this will give her more incentive to come out and say, I know I can do it.’ ”

Jackie Rentschler, who Solis had said would be Horn’s toughest competition, was first at 12:32, 55 seconds ahead of St. Andrew’s Laura Martimer. St. Andrew’s took the girls team title, however, by edging Pearl by six points.

Warren Central’s Wendy Thomas took eighth with a time of 14:05 as the Lady Vikes captured fourth out of seven teams.

“She was fast, but Keri would have beat her,” Thomas said of record-setting VHS runner Keri White, who is a freshman at Southern Mississippi, “by a lot.”

Thomas’ teammate, Megan Woleban, was the second Lady Vike to finish, at 23rd, with a time of 15:38.

Carley White, of Vicksburg High, finished 20th with a time of 15:03, but the Missy Gators finished last overall.