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Yellowjackets’ Ella Hesson claims two-mile race

August 17, 2019
By Josh Hughes - Sports Reporter , News and Sentinel Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG -When the 2019 Parkersburg News & Sentinel Half Marathon races began, the 2-mile race was one in which the field was rich with contenders. The men's race featured a close finish between bright local runners, but the women's race somehow upped the ante.

Another interesting feature of the women's race was that Williamstown High School and Middle School were heavily featured at the top of the leaderboard.

The defending state Class A girls cross country champs used this event as a warm-up to a season full of expectations, and it showed.

Article Photos

Photo by Madeline Scarborough
Williamstown’s Ella Hesson cruises through the tape after a tough battle with Alyssa Sauro in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon two-mile women’s race.

The biggest battle of the day was between the multi-time state champion junior Ella Hesson, and seventh grader Alyssa Sauro.

The two trotted neck-and-neck throughout the two miles, as Hesson narrowly bested Sauro around the 11:56-mark by less than one second at the finish line. Hesson was excited for the win, but she was even more excited for the future of her school's cross country team.

"Well, it felt pretty good," the winded Hesson said after the race. "I had my teammate (Sauro) there right beside me, pushing me. She's doing really well. We've got a lot of people coming out, and our team works so hard. I'm really looking forward to this season and seeing how everybody does."

The significance of Hesson's performance was not lost on WHS cross country coach, Larry Cassady.

"Well, she did really good, today," he said. "She had a really good start, and right before the mile marker, her and (Sauro) pushed each other around the course right there at the end. They both had the same work ethic. Ella's helping the other girls show what it takes, and it showed today."

Williamstown's Jillian Johnson finished 3rd at the 13:43-mark, and Yellowjacket sophomore Natalie Sawin came in 4th at 13:09. Another sophomore williamstown runner place to round out the top five, as Chloe Lightfritz clocked in at 13:20. Parkersburg's Payton Harvey broke up the Williamstown party and placed 6th at 13:27.

Ellie Hines, Harvey's fromer teammate at Hamilton Middle School, finished 7th at 13:29. Victoria Combs got the city of Wiliamstown back on track with an 8th place finish at 13:32. Reagan Ortiz slipped in just behind Combs, as she scored a 9th place finish at 13:33. Parkersburg's Allie Felker closed out the top ten when she crossed the finish line right after Ortiz.

With the 2-mile races coming to a close, the 2019 women's race was one full of exciting finishes and memories that are sure to last.

Contact Josh Hughes at



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