Track Lady Bucs capture third-place honors in Big X Championship

GRAFTON — Head Coach Jackie Zuliani has guided the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Lady Buccaneers Track Team as they have built an impeccable resume throughout the course of the 2022 campaign. Entering the Friday, May 6, Big 10 Conference Championship track meet held in Grafton, the Lady Bucs had plenty of reasons to feel confident in their chances of bringing a conference championship home to Tennerton.  

Senior Catherine Oliveto finished fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.48 seconds, as North Marion senior Abby Masters took the conference crown with a time of 26.54 seconds. Oliveto was not finished yet as the senior also took a sixth-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 63.91 seconds.  

Freshman Samantha Shreve set a new school-record time in the 3200-meter run with a time of 11:49.05. With this blazing fast time for an underclassman, Shreve captured a third-place finish while also breaking one of the team’s longest standing records, held by Shellie Bennett Burda since 1979. Shreve’s record day was further boosted by a fifth-place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:35.90 and a fourth-place finish in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:41.82. Overall, the freshman standout put together a solid showing in her first of what is sure to be many Big 10 Conference Championship meets. 

After claiming third-place honors in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of just 17.28 seconds, junior Dezi Pugh won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.79 to claim the Lady Bucs first victory of the evening. Pugh got off an excellent start off the block, using the cushion she built in the early stages of the race to coast to the Lady Buds second conference championship of the day.  

Junior Chloe Cale took a fourth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing just a shade behind Pugh with a time of 17.74 seconds. Cale, a long jump specialist, has garnered recognition this season as one of the top competitors in the state for that particular event. The junior accomplished one of her season-long goals Friday evening as she was crowned the Big 10 Conference champion in the long jump, after successfully landing an attempt of 15’ 4.75” to capture the Lady Bucs’ third win.  

Senior Cameron Zuliani had a storybook ending to her last Big 10 Conference championship meet, as she collected the Lady Bucs fourth and final individual event win Friday evening in the discus toss. Zuliani’s throw, traveling 126’ 2”, not only beat out Preston County’s Sierra Davis second-place toss of 111’ 3” by nearly 15’, but also crushed the previous record of 114’ 6” held by Donna Shaffer since 1983. Junior Catherine Neely took third-place honors with a toss that traveled 98’ 11” to wrap up the Lady Bucs top individual placing athletes on Friday.  

ln relay action, the 4x200-meter relate team, consisting of: Pugh, Oliveto, Zuliani and Cale took second with a time of 150.60, just slightly being edged out by the North Marion relay team who posted a time of 1:48.48. These four strong Lady Buc runners also teamed up for a third-place finish in the 4 x102.5-meter shuttle hurdles relay, crossing the finish line in a combine 69.45 seconds.  

In total, the Lady Bucs captured four event victories and several other high-placements en route to compiling 84 team points, good enough to bring home third-place honors, while North Marion won the overall team title with 109 team points. Preston County with 94 team points, edged out the Lady Bucs for second-place. Fairmont Senior with 70 points finished fourth, Philip Barbour with 44 team points finished fifth, Bridgeport with 39 team points finished sixth. Elkins (27), Liberty (21), Grafton (15), Lewis County (15), East Fairmont (6), Lincoln (2) and Robert C. Byrd (1) rounded out the rest of the thirteen team field.

Following Friday’s meet, coach Zuliani took the time to offer her thoughts on her team’s overall performance at the conference championship meet, saying, “I was generally pleased with how our team ran Friday. I am particularly excited for our new school record holder in the 3200-meters, Samantha Shreve. As a freshman, she just broke one of our school’s oldest standing records. The previous mark had stood since 1979 and as held by Shellie Bennett Burda! Shellie is coaching at Elkins and got to see the race, which was a really cool full-circle moment. A final time of 11:49.05 for the freshman, I couldn’t be prouder.”


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