Doddridge County Park is the place to be today for anyone who is a high school cross country fan. That's because the Little Kanawha Conference championships will take place there starting at 4:30 p.m.
I've never been to the Doddridge County Park and I'm anxious to check out the venue and see how the competition plays out.
Bulldog head coach Craig Kellar said the true 5K course is a little different than what the teams ran on during the Doddridge County Invitational earlier this year.
"We're not going up what we call big bertha," Kellar said. "It's a pretty narrow path and it's not in too good of shape anymore.
"We're running a different hill and we're not going through the creek because it's too dangerous this late in the season."
St. Marys standout Maggie Drazba, who is heavily favored to win the LKC girls title for a fourth consecutive year, is always a treat to watch. Assuming things go as expected and Drazba wins again, the Blue Devil senior will become the first LKC athlete, boy or girl, to ever claim four straight crowns. At least that's believed to be true since the newspaper - thanks to Jim Butta - has records dating back to 1990.
Only Clara Grandt (2002-04) and Aaron Nichols (1993-95), a pair of former Doddridge County star runners, have ever won three LKC crowns apiece.
According to St. Marys head coach Glenda Cottrill, it appears Drazba pretty much has her choice of going to just about any school in the country to continue her career as a student-athlete in college.
"I get letters in the mail for her all the time," Cottrill said. "She can pretty much do what she wants. I know she went to Syracuse and she's looking at WVU. Academically she does well and she's going to do something that will help her future.
"Yale and Harvard are recruiting her. She's a goal setter and a good kid. We're definitely going to miss her when she leaves. It will be interesting to watch her move into the bigger fields and go on to college."
While the LKC will be over soon enough, things are heating up in Ohio as the Tri-Valley Conference championships are set for Saturday morning in Wellston.
The Belpre boys are the defending TVC Hocking champions and head coach Jim Cunningham's Golden Eagles are hoping for another solid showing.
"We expect to do well when we are out there," said Cunningham, whose team has gotten a big boost from freshman Cray Sistrunk.
Aside from Sistrunk, who has been Belpre's top finisher this season, the Golden Eagles also return three other runners who finished in the top seven at the TVC Hocking race last year in sophomores Kyle Windland (third) and Kennley Wolfe (seventh) along with junior Matt Davis (fifth).
"Cray is a real likeable kid and has high expectations for himself," said the coach. "Cross country runners are a different breed of kid and we just have a lot of fun."
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org