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Cantley claims fifth 2-mile title

August 20, 2011
By DAVE POE ( , News and Sentinel Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG -Tyler Cantley has a confession to make.

Although he won the 2-mile race for the fifth straight year on Saturday, Cantley said he wasn't the better man or the fastest runner in the competition.

That distinction, said Cantley, belonged to his recently-graduated Ohio University teammate, Ridge Robinson. Robinson jumped out into the lead and seemingly had Cantley on the ropes. But the former Warren High School runner rallied, crossing the finish line in 9 minutes, 40 seconds, 1 second off the record pace he set last year.

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Two Mile Start

Cantley's win continued Warren High School's incredible streak of producing the 2-mile winner for 11 straight years. Former Warrior Jason Linton, who also went on to run for Ohio University, won the race six consecutive times. Cantley now has won the last five.

"This is always a special week,'' Cantley said while receiving congratulations from his competitors. "I think about all it all week. Linton set a mark that is hard to beat.''

A mark that Cantley can tie by winning the race next year.

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Tyler Cantley won the 2 Mile Race for the fifth time.

"I will be here next year,'' said Cantley, who will be a senior at Ohio University this fall, where he will compete for both the track and cross country teams.

When the runners passed the News & Sentinel office on Juliana Street, Cantley wasn't in his accustomed spot in front of the pack. Rather, he was in second place, several steps behind Robinson. Even to see Cantley running behind anybody at any time in this race is a stunning sight, considering his total domination of the event.

"He went out hard,'' Cantley said of Robinson. "He went out faster than I like to go. He was on a pace to run 9:15 or 9:20. He pushed me hard."

Robinson didn't cross the finish line. Instead, Matthew Michno of Athens finished second in 9:48 while 19-year-old Phillip Dakhnovets of The Plains, Ohio was third in 9:57.

Tyler wasn't the only Cantley in the field. Younger brother Colton, an eighth grader, competed as did Cantley's mother, Terry, who registered under her maiden name, Terry Ledbetter. His other two brothers are involved in soccer rather than running, but they maintain the athletic tradition of the Cantley clan.

Cantley said although he long has thought about Linton's six-race win streak, he knows he has to take each year's race one at a time. That never was more evident on Saturday, when his teammate was within reach of knocking him off.

"I try not to let the pressure get to me,'' Cantley said.

Cantley is a popular runner with the local racing community. When it was announced he was in the lead coming down Market Street, a cheer went up at the finish line.

When the crowd saw that familiar figure break they tape, it broke into applause.

When Cantley arrives at the race next year, he should have a diploma from Ohio University and perhaps even a job in his chosen field of physical therapy.

It will be a big year for him, both personally and athletically.



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