CHARLESTON - In athletics you are either the team doing the chasing or the one being chased.
That will be the case for the Bulldogs from Doddridge County as they prepare to take part in the 100th boys and 39th girls West Virginia State Track and Field Championships which gets under way at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday.
The Bulldog boys of head coach Bobby Burnside will be looking to make it four state titles in a row and their sixth overall since the Secondary School Activities Commission created the Class A division.
"We've had some success," Burnside admitted. "And that experience helps. But we will still have our hands full this weekend."
Burnside's squad is coming off an impressive pair of victories over the last two weeks, edging out defending champion Ritchie County for the Little Kanawha Conference title and then getting past LKC rival Williamstown as well as Buffalo to take home the top prize at the Region IV championships.
"Williamstown and Buffalo will have a lot to say about who wins this weekend," continued Burnside. "They both have some solid performers and when you add in the other teams in the state, points will get spread out and you have to concentrate on where you can get the most points out of your kids."
Something Burnside has done a good job of doing over the season. And it doesn't hurt when you have athletes like Zach Cottrill, Hunter Riffle, Dyllon Hayes, Brandon Smith and Issac Britton.
"We are capable (of winning a fourth straight title), but we have to go down there and perform. Williamstown and Buffalo have athletes who will go down there and compete and we have to do the same."
Hayes and junior Jeff Myer give the Bulldogs a solid 1-2 punch in the pole vault while Britton (shot put and discus) and Cottrill give the green and gold solid contenders in the field events.
"Competing in a conference like the LKC helps and the experience of having won a state championship helps, but all that means nothing if we don't perform this weekend," said Burnside.
Looking to catch the team that has dealt it loss after loss this spring will be the Bulldog girls of head coach Craig Kellar.
"We have our work cut out for us," Kellar explained. "Williamstown handled us very well at the regional and Charleston Catholic has some quality and can make a run at both of us this weekend."
Williamstown will be attempting to join the Bulldogs as the only five-time Class A champions ever since the three-division split was made.
Zach Hall's Yellowjackets have proven to be tough to handle this season despite the loss of senior standout Andrea Chidester, who went down with a hamstring injury in the spring's first meet.
"It's not very often you lose an athlete like that and still do the things they are doing," continued the Doddridge coach. "But they have a lot of depth and they have as much quality as any team in the state."
Much of that quality surrounds seniors Brooklyn Hammer, Madelin Gardner, and twins Shealee and Cami Mossor.
Hammer will be among the favorites in the 100 meter dash while Gardner will look to continue the Yellowjackets' domination in the pole vault while battling the Bulldogs' Sarah Ferguson in the 200 meter dash and 300 meter low hurdles.
Like Burnside, Kellar believes that competing in a conference like the LKC has prepared his squad for this moment.
"You've got to be really good to survive in the LKC," said Kellar. "It's tough. There's no lack of competition on our schedule, that's for sure."
Other locals to keep an eye out for this weekend include Parkersburg Catholic's Alexis Saunders, Williamstown's Matt Zlatkind, Wirt County's Logan Kerby and Glenn McMillan, Calhoun County's Ryan Slider and Gilmer County's Nathan Stout.