Although no area team is expected to challenge for a state crown or a runner-up effort, there's still plenty on the line when the West Virginia state cross country meet gets under way Saturday morning at Cabell Midland High School.
St. Marys senior Maggie Drazba is expected to capture her third Class AA/A girls individual title and several athletes from the Mid-Ohio Valley are vying for all-state status by finishing in the top 10 of their respective division.
Drazba established the Class AA/A course record last fall with a time of 18:25.4. That was her second career title, having won as a freshman. She finished third as a sophomore.
Although Parkersburg head coach Larry Games' Big Reds qualified both the boys and girls, they aren't expected to factor at the top of the team standings according to runwv.com. The Big Red boys are expected to vie for third along with University and Ripley. The PHS girls, led by all-state hopeful Kaylee Williams, are also vying for third along with Hampshire and University.
Last year, Williams earned all-state honors by placing ninth, but is currently ranked just outside the top 10 in 12th place. The highest ranked Ripley female is Ali Cunningham, who is 19th.
The best chance for Parkersburg's boys to get an all-state honoree comes from 10th-ranked Nick Musgrave, who finished 20th last fall. Ripley's best chance is Chad Longanacre. He's currently ranked 16th.
Mid-Ohio Valley State Cross Country Qualifiers
Class AAA, Boys
Parkersburg: John Bolton, Nick Musgrave, Nic Cheuvront, Hadyn Dudley, Logan Dudley, Anthony Kist, Andrew Lyons, Brandon McIntire, Sean Snider, Logan Wooten
Ripley: Caleb Casto, Jake Casto, Ryan Gregory, Colton Holmes, Chad Longanacre, Nate Miller, Levi Phillips, Sammy Shaver, Dillon Welling
Class AAA, Girls
Parkersburg: Nicole Dent, Kayla Harmon, Chelsea Harper, Alena Klimas, Brooke McVaney, Rachel Morris, Swathi Mukkamala, Jordan Waters, JD White, Kaylee Williams
Ripley: Ali Cunningham
Class AA/A, Boys
Ritchie County: Johnny Hogue
Doddridge County: Caleb Moore, Keith Britton, Lane Eddy, Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Rebert, Ian Spencer, Caleb Thaxton, Matt Zorn
St. Marys: Jordan Whitehair, Derek Carpenter, Newt Cottrill, Trevor Cottrill, Michael Houser, Brendan Miller, Cody Wolfe
Magnolia: James Haught
Tyler Consolidated: Dylan Reynolds
Williamstown: Chandler Antill, Chris Berman, Ryder Deem, Jack Folwell, Austin Hall, Jacob Hively, Jayson Lockhart, Alec McIntosh, Dylan Stansberry, Blake Williams
Wirt County: Austin Cottrell, Jeremy Kerby, DJ Lynch, Glenn McMillan, Brady Ohrn, Shane Robinson, Hagan Root, Brad Tallman
Class AA/A Girls
St. Marys: Maggie Drazba, Katie Billeter, Sara Fetty, Alex Gorrell, Chynna Maze, Emily Strickler, Olivia Taylor
Ravenswood: Hailey Miller, Mariah Currey, Josie Hayman, Larissa Hayman, Jasmine Howard, Taylor Love, Hannah Murray, Taylor Treadway
Braxton County: Kirsten Gateless
Williamstown: Andrea Chidester, Emma Ehle, Kaitlyn Fulks, Charlotte Gray, Brianna Mefford, Cami Mossor, Shealee Mossor, Allie Robinson, Sarah Settle
Saturday's Event Schedule
10 a.m. - Class AA/A boys
10:45 a.m. - Class AA/A girls
1 p.m. - Class AAA boys
1:45 p.m. - Class AAA girls
The Cabell Midland boys, led by two-time defending state champion Jacob Burcham, are expected to dethrone defending state champion Jefferson while the Morgantown girls have been the dominating team in triple-A all season long.
Although it's just the third year for Wirt County's cross country program, the Tigers of head coach Lacey Mills qualified a team for the first time thanks to the boys taking third at last week's regional.
"I'm really proud of them," said Mills, whose boys are led by Glenn McMillan. "There are a couple teams we'd like to beat and we've set our own personal goals and hope to achieve them."
McMillan, who was 31st a year ago, is ranked 19th by runwv.com.
"He's going to have to run the best race he's ever ran, but he's not out of it," coach Mills added. "He's beat some of those kids before who are in the top 10 earlier this season. It will just depend on how he performs."
Ritchie County's Johnny Hogue has been the No. 2 man this year in Class AA/A and come Saturday he once again will be out to track down Fairmont Senior's Nick Trefz, who was about 18 seconds faster than the Rebel junior at the regional. Hogue is trying to become a three-time all-stater, having finished third last year and sixth as a freshman.
Doddridge County's Caleb Moore and Jordan Whitehair of St. Marys are the other two expected top 10 finishers from the Mid-Ohio Valley for the Class AA/A boys. Moore, who was 23rd last year, is ranked fourth. Whitehair was all-state last year after taking eighth and he's currently ranked ninth. Also of note, Bulldog Matt Zorn, who was 20th last fall, is ranked five spots ahead of McMillan.
In the Class AA/A team race, the Fairmont Senior boys are favored with Doddridge County the highest ranked area squad at fifth. The Philip Barbour girls should be able to pull off a three-peat.
Aside from Drazba, the only other MOV athlete currently ranked in the top 10 is Ravenswood's Hailey Miller. Miller missed out on all-state honors last fall by four places.
Ravenswood, St. Marys and Williamstown, which is paced by Cami Mossor (ranked 18th), could factor into the top five for the girls team race. The other best shot for an area girl to have a great race and make all-state is Red Devil Taylor Treadway, who is rated 19th.