Sanders catches history, sets course record

May 13, 2023


Kitzmiller (finally) wins women’s title

* 2023 results (PDF)
* Aging & Family Services of Mineral County on Facebook
* Conquer the Dam 5K results: The early years
* Top Conquer the Dam performances (entering 2023): Men’s Top 25Women’s Top 25

ELK GARDEN, W.Va. — On a particular Saturday in May 2022, Anthony Sanders came within 0.4 seconds of matching Gavin Caupp’s Conquer the Dam 5K course record.

On a particular Saturday in May 2023, Sanders not only caught history, but put it in his rearview mirror.

The 20-year-old from Ridgeley, W.Va., led all but the opening strides in the 12th annual Conquer the Dam 5K run/walk on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Jennings-Randolph Lake in Elk Garden, W.Va. Sponsors cover the event’s cost so 100 percent of entry fees benefit the Meals on Wheels program operated by Aging & Family Services of Mineral County. Participants enjoyed — or tolerated, depending on perspective — a temperature in the mid-60s with gray skies that let fall a steady rain at different points throughout the 3.1-mile distance event.

Sanders stopped the clock in 16 minutes, 23.2 seconds in the 12th running of the event — obliterating the previous course record of 17:31, set in 2015 by another former local distance standout, Gavin Caupp. He averaged 5:16 per mile on the out-and-back, down-and-up course that finishes with a steep climb.

In 2022, Sanders’ winning time of 17:31.4 was just a hiccup or two off Caupp’s standard and was the second-fastest time by a male in event history. Sanders’ effort on Saturday is likely to endure for quite some time. Sanders, a Frankfort High School graduate and currently a sophomore cross country and track student-athlete at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, now owns two of the top three times in the Conquer the Dam 5k’s 12-year history.

Jeff Maule, 42, of Mountain Lake Park, meanwhile, ran into the record books himself as his runner-up time of 20:15.2 is good for 13th fastest by a male in event history. Brigham Lott, 17, of Fort Ashby, earned the final spot on the podium with a time of 20:28.

Ashley Kitzmiller, meanwhile, chased a little history of her own. The 41-year-old from Oakland worked to a sixth-place overall finish in 23:37.4, a pace of 7:36 per mile and good for first place in the women’s field. Kara Riggleman, 40, of Petersburg, W.Va., was second (eighth overall) in 25:50.5 while 10-year-old Torrah Miller, of Burlington, edged out Zoe Pifer, 20, of Keyser, for third place. Miller crossed the line in 30:59.8, only two seconds ahead of Pifer.

Kitzmiller entered Saturday’s event with four of the top 25 fastest times by a female in event history — but secured her first win. Kitzmiller placed third in 2012, second in 2013 and fourth in 2014. This time, she left no doubt. No one but spectators could be seen behind Kitzmiller as she completed her final strides to the finish line atop the hill overlooking the Howell Picnic Area.

Anthony Sanders

Ashley Kitzmiller

Runners at the start after co-race director Louie Kitzmiller fired off the starter’s pistol.





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