PARKERSBURG - It all comes down to today for cross country runners in the Mountain State as eight regionals take place to determine which teams and individuals will qualify for the state meet on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Cabell Midland.
Both of Parkersburg's cross country teams could advance out of Region I in Class AAA. A year ago, head coach Larry Games' Big Reds were in Region IV with Ripley, which is now in Region III and runs today at George Washington.
"We have to run well and University is picked to beat us," coach Games said of his boys, who start at 4 p.m. this afternoon at Wheeling Park.
Three teams are expected to qualify from Region I while the top 10 runners in every region advance to the state meet.
"We've got four ranked (boys) teams and three will get to go. We have to run well to advance," Games added of the runwv.com state rankings.
The Big Reds feature three expected top 10 finishers in Nick Musgrave, Sean Snider and Nic Cheuvront. The PHS girls, led by Kaylee Williams, are likely to be battling University and Preston for the final two qualifying spots behind expected champion Morgantown.
- Region I - at Doddridge County Park, 4:30 p.m. (boys/girls)
- Region II - at Frankfort
- Region III - at PikeView
- Region IV - at Nicholas
- Region I - at Wheeling Park, 4 p.m. (boys/girls)
- Region II - at Elkins
- Region III - at George Washington
- Region IV - at George Washington
"Morgantown is way out there and just a lot better than anybody else," said Games, who noted Big Reds Nicole Dent and Rachel Morris as well as Parkersburg South's April Kirk have at least outside shots at making the top 10.
The Ripley boys, expected to be paced by top 10 efforts from Chad Longanacre, Caleb Casto and Jake Casto, are favorites to win the regional. The Viking girls are hoping to make it out as a team. Ali Cunningham is ranked second in the region and teammate Melissa Hughart is vying for a top 10 spot.
Little Kanawha Conference boys and girls champion Williamstown is expected to qualify without problems from Class AA/A's Region I meet, which gets under way at 4:30 p.m. today with the boys race at Doddridge County Park.
The Yellowjacket girls and St. Marys should be two of the four teams advancing as Blue Devil Maggie Drazba will participate for the last time locally as a prep cross country athlete. Only the expected champion Drazba along with Williamstown teammates Cami Mossor and Andrea Chidester are ranked in the top 10 of the region by runwv.com.
For the WHS boys, they will be challenged by the host Bulldogs and East Fairmont for the regional runner-up crown behind expected state champion Fairmont Senior. No Yellowjacket boy is rated in the top 10 of the region, but the entire team will advance if they are one of the expected four qualifying squads.
Polar Bear Nick Trefz is the runner everyone is chasing in Region I and that includes potential top 10 placers Johnny Hogue (Ritchie), Jordan Whitehair (St. Marys), James Haught (Magnolia) and Bulldog teammates Caleb Moore and Matt Zorn.
Expected champion Hailey Miller should lead the way for Ravenswood in the Region IV meet for Class AA/A at Nicholas County. The Red Devils are likely to make it as a qualifying team. For the boys race in Region IV, at least three teams should qualify for state, but that number could be four. Ravenswood is the top area candidate to make it as a team, but Wirt and Roane County are also capable.
Wirt County's Glen McMillan and Ravenswood Luke Sadecky are the only expected top 10 finishers from the LKC for Region IV.