Falkenstein earns Big 10 conference title, Lady Bucs named runner-up


KINGWOOD — Head Coach Taylor Stacy’s Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Buccaneers cross country team had high expectations entering the Big 10 Conference championship meet back on Thursday, October 15 in Kingwood. The Lady Buccaneers have consistently placed high atop the leaderboards, both individually and in terms of collective unit this season, often with senior Lydia Falkenstein and sophomore Samantha Shreve leading the way. These two once again found themselves engaged in a high-stakes duel, with both running in the lead group, setting the pace for the entire 93-runner field. In the end, Falkenstein showed off tremendous endurance in fending off tough challenges from both Shreve and Liberty’s Destiny Berryman to take home the Big 10 individual title with a time of 19:19.3. Berryman finished a close second, crossing the finish line just over 30 seconds behind Falkenstein, finishing with a time of 19:54.5, good enough to secure runner-up honors. Shreve has a very bright future in cross country, as the young distance runner showed in Kingwood, securing a third place finish overall with a time of 20:06.1.

In recognition for their outstanding bodies of work this season, both Falkenstein and Shreve were named First Team All-Big 10 performers. Senior Jessica Williams was the third highest placing Lady Buccaneer on the day, turning a time of 21:38.2 to finish eighteenth. Junior Mia Sappey didn’t finish far behind Williams, earning ninteenth place overall with a time of 21:51.9. Both Williams and Sappey also earned the well-deserved honor of being named Second Team All-Big 10 performers. The final scoring Lady Buccaneer of the day, junior Miah Reger finished just outside the top twenty, claiming twenty-first place overall with a time of 22:00.5. Three more non-scoring varsity Lady Buccaneers competed in Kingwood, with junior Brianna Dalton leading the way with a thirtieth-place finish with a time of 22:50.2. Sophomore Pressley Bowers delivered a solid showing, finishing in thirty-eighth place with a time of 23:34.9, with senior Malia Bowers claiming a fifty-fifth place finish with a time of 25:02.3 to round out the Lady Buccaneers results on the day. 

Despite placing two of the day’s top three individually, Coach Stacy’s Lady Buccaneers narrowly missed out on claiming the Big 10 Conference team title. Ultimately, the Preston Knights, led by Ella White’s fourth-place overall finish with a time of 20:16.9, managed to edge out the Lady Buccaneers, ending the day with 60 team points, just two-points ahead of the Lady Buccaneers who took runner-up honors with 62 team points. Fairmont Senior claimed a distant third-place finish with 106 team points, while both Philip Barbour and Liberty tied with 153 to round out the day’s top five finishing teams.

While the Lady Buccaneers couldn’t quite repeat as the Big 10 Conference champions, the Lady Buccaneer are still very much a team to watch in the regional meet, as they seek a bid to states. With four All-Conference honorees, the Lady Buccaneers are poised to control their own destiny on the road to states.

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