SHADYSIDE - Not even weather better suited for ducks than thinclads could slow down the Martins Ferry girls and Linsly boys Saturday at Fleming Field.
The 41st annual Shadyside Relays took place in a steady stream of rain, but the Purple Riders and Cadets persevered through it all to head home with the top prizes.
''We had a feeling all week about what the weather would be like,'' Martins Ferry coach Rich Materkoski. ''We just told our kids they had to suck it up and run, and I didn't hear one complaint all day even through being at the track for about eight hours. I am definitely proud of the effort all of our kids put forth.''
The Martins Ferry girls cruised to the hardware with 122 points as Materkoski wanted his squad to leave no doubt.
''We always point to this meet as a gauge for our season,'' Materkoski said. ''It's basically the midway point and it's a good chance to see a lot of the teams we'll see in the OVAC (in two weeks). We always want to have a good showing at the Shadyside Relays. It's one of the premier meets in the area.''
The message came across loud and clear as Ferry's depth and individual talent took over. The Purple Riders won seven events as they now turn their attention to trying to win their first girls' Buckeye 8 track title Tuesday at Nelson Field in Bellaire.
Sophomore Nikki Allen got the Purple Riders going when she skimmed 10 hurdles in 17.21 to claim the high hurdle crown.
Classmate Sarah Applegarth continued her brilliant campaign in the 400-meter dash. She circled the oval in a solid 61.84 for the gold.
Junior Sunshine Wrenn - one of the Purple Riders' most versatile competitors - continued to shine in the 800-meter run, winning the two-lap title for the second straight weekend. She posted a 2:28.71 for the victory.
''We refer Sunshine as a hybrid runner,'' Materkoski said. ''We can put her in anything from the 100 to the 1,600 and you'd never tell the difference. She had a really good meet.''
Sophomore Ashlei Ray got things rolling for the Purple Riders when she won the long jump with a mark of 15-foot-5.
The Purple Riders cemented their victory thanks to victories in the 800 meter relay, 3,200 meter relay and shuttles.
The 800 relay team of Applegarth, Allen, Wrenn and Taylor Jenkins ran two laps in 1:52.12.
The 3,200 relay team, which consisted of Jamie Truchan, Alyssa Smith, Brenna Becca and Wrenn ran a 10:29.54 for the gold.
The shuttle team sent the Riders into the lunch break on an up note when the squad of Courtney Crolley, Allen, Ashley Griffith and Rikki Allen posted a solid 69.93 for the hurdle relay title.
Jenkins, while she didn't win an open event, still put forth enough points to claim the meet's high-point award on the track. Along with her leg on the 800, she also finished second in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
''We were able to score a lot of points in a lot of places,'' Materkoski said. ''We're a pretty balanced team with a variety of points.''
St. John Central finished with 32 points in the meet and 18 came off the talented legs of freshman standout Fallon Doyle.
For the second straight weekend, Doyle needed to use her furious kick in the final 150 meters of the 1,600 meter race to prevail. She tracked down Shadyside junior Tara Tollett and went on to post a 5:11.66 for the victory. She also finished second to Wrenn in the 800.
Bridgeport's girls claimed two individual titles almost in back-to-back races.
Sophomore Cheyenne Flowers captured the 300 meter low hurdles in 52.65, while freshman speedster Brianna Massey pocketed the 200 title in a solid 27.47 clocking.
The host Tigers' lone victory came in the first running final of the day. Tollett smashed the meet record in the 3,200 meter run with a time of 11:05.82. Her effort for eight laps was almost 24 full seconds better than the mark set last season by St. Clairsville's Jamie Perzanowski.
Barnesville's lone victory came in the high jump. Senior Amy Wahl soared 4-10 to claim the high jump crown.
St. Clairsville, which sent a limited lineup to because it was prom night, was led by junior all-Ohioan Alyssa Robinson. The shot putter remained unblemished in the event with a put of 42-1, which broke a meet record that had stood since 2000.
Weir earned the final victory when the team of Chantelle Harper, Shelva Burns, Kayla Lemley-Raiford and Raven Young posted a 4:36.86 to win the 1,600 relay.
Steubenville Central claimed the 400 relay when the foursome of Michaela Gotta, Monica Rigaud, Maria Boston and Taylor Zapolnik passed the baton around the oval for time of 55.07.
The Linsly boys have speed and track is the ultimate speed sport. It worked out quite well, but it was a little bittersweet in the process.
The Cadets scored 98 points, won four events, had the meet's high scorer on the track, but they also appeared to have lost talented senior sprinter Ricky Jordan. In the 200 meter final, Jordan, who'd just returned to the Cadets lineup last weekend at Monessen, Pa after a hamstring injury, pulled up lame in the half-lap dash.
Senior Chris Stephens had an impressive meet, sweeping the 200 and 400 meter dash en route to the high-point award. He posted times of 22.89 and 50.59, respectively.
The Cadets' 400 team of Mark Dodd, Jordan, Akil Blount and Chinelo Oparanozie posted a 46.38 for the gold. The 800 relay team of Oparanozie, Robert Felton, Stephens and Jordan ran a 1:34.99 for the title.
Martins Ferry was sparked to its runner-up finish thanks to a double victory in the weight events.
Junior strongman Sean McGee won the discus to get the day started with a twirl of 141-7, which was better than 15 feet further than the runnerup.
In the shot put, McGee launched the iron ball to a mark of 51-9.5.
McGee's double gold earned him a piece of the high-point field. He shared it with Buckeye Trail sophomore Austin Carleton, who won both the high and long jumps.
The Purple Riders' only individual victory on the track came in the 110 high hurdles where senior standout Richie Padyjasek posted a 15.14 to win the crown.
The Purple Riders' shuttle team of Padyjasek, Jack Fitch, Brian Styles and Travis Jenkins ran a 63.93 for the hurdle relay title.
St. Clairsville's lone victory came thanks to sophomore speedster Jaylon Brown who beat Jordan in the 100 meter dash final. Brown posted an 11.09 for the title, which was seventh hundredths of a tick quicker than Jordan.
Barnesville's Brandon Stephens prevailed in the 800 meter run, circling the oval in 2:03.95 for the title.
Bridgeport senior ace Cody Frey was especially impressive in winning the 300 intermediate hurdle crown. Attacking every hurdle, Frey ran a 40.05, which was better than a full second faster than the runnerup.
Magnolia's lone victory came in the final event. The Blue Eagles' 1,600 team of Nick Blatt, Kage Rohde, Drew Estep and James Haught posted a 3:44.55 for the gold.