It was a fun day for the Marlington Dukes boys cross-country team Saturday morning at the Eastern Buckeye Conference Championships.

The team defended their conference title and their lead runner, Noah Graham, defended his individual title with a first place finish.

The senior runner posted a time of 16:05.23. The team finished first with a score of 20 points. Minerva finished second with 68 points, led by senior Connor Shingleton.

"I knew what i had to do coming in," said Graham.

Shingleton and Graham are two of the top runners in Ohio. Graham acknowledged the effort put forth by his competitor.

"He had a great race," Graham said.

Marlington's boys team is currently ranked No. 1 in the state poll. The team wants to compete every race and leave no doubt.

"We're working real hard and seizing every opportunity that we can," Graham said. "The odds were in our favor to win, but with that being said, we knew we still had to use this opportunity."

All five of Marlington's scorers finished within the top 10, including four in the top five.

The scores were as follows: Graham (1st, 16:05.23), Colin Cernansky (3rd, 16:16.18), Liam Blake (4th, 16:32.93), Nash Minor (5th, 16:42.22) and Cohen Boyce (7th, 16:57.28).

"My whole top five had a good race," said Melissa Graham-Perkins, the boys head coach. "It helps to get ready for the post-season to have good competition within your own conference."

Their coach isn't considering the No. 1 ranking lightly, knowing anything can happen.

"We take each week at a time. Let's go work for a district title," said Coach Graham-Perkins. "Our goals are set big for the state meet, but there's a lot of good competition and we respect our competitors."

FULL RESULTS: https://www.baumspage.com/cc/northeasternbuckeyeconf/2021/High%20School%20Boys%20Team%20Results.pdf