CHARLESTON - Just how close will this weekend's Class AA boys race at the 100th W.Va. State High School Track and Field Championships at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field be?
Well, the experts at RunWV.com has the meet ending in a 65-65 tie between two-time defending champion Ritchie County and Little Kanawha Conference rival Roane County.
"I think we're well within the mix," Rebels head coach Rick Haught said. "It's going to be tight. Both Roane and Keyser have been ranked high all season and Fairmont Senior and Bridgeport are coming off nice showings at their regional meets."
But to be the best, you have to beat the best and for the last two seasons its been the Rebels from Ritchie County.
Making that task a little more difficult to accomplish is the return of senior Johnny Hogue and junior Jayden Allender. Hogue placed third in the 3200 meter run (9:51.94) and fourth in the 1600 (4:30.03) while Allender was a three-event placer finishing runner up in the high jump (6-0), fourth in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles (41.51) and fifth in the 110 meter high hurdles (16.0).
Both will again be key this weekend.
"We need to make a lot of hay on Friday," continued Haught. "That's when a lot of the events that we need to score well in happen."
Ritchie isn't the only team that will be counting in an outstanding individual. Roane County's Troy Fisher is listed as one of the top competitors in four events.
The junior is the top-rated athlete in the long jump (20-11.75) and 400 meter dash (49.77), second in the 800 meter run (2:00.01) and fourth in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles (40.82).
"He (Fisher) is as good as there is in West Virginia," said Haught. "The state meet is like no other meet you run. Points will be spread out so having one or two individuals that can score big points can be just enough to push your team to the title."
Other locals to keep an eye out for this weekend include Ritchie's Austin Garrett (pole vault), and Clayton Satterfield (110 HH, 300 IM), and Roane's Caleb Pell (pole vault), Grant Hardman (high jump), Ryan Bates (300 IM) and Alex Pavalok (200).
The Rebels could be in contention for a trophy in both divisions as the Ritchie County girls are projected to be in a tight battle with North Marion, Oak Glen and Roane County for the runner-up trophy. Region II champion, and top ranked Bridgeport is expected to run away with its first-ever state track and field title.
Both teams met at the Region I meet at Chuck Schofield Memorial Stadium last week with the Huskies coming away with a one-point, 108-107, victory over Oak Glen with LKC members Roane County (92) and Ritchie County (89) placing third and fourth. RunWV.com has the three teams separated by less than four points.
Individuals worth keeping an eye on this weekend include Roane's Josie Raines (100, 200, long jump), Caity Hudnall (high jump), Shania Lloyd (pole vault), Kylee Goodson (pole vault), and Kaitlin Bush (shot put), and Ritchie's Janessa Adams (100 HH, 300 LH), Anna Cokeley (300 LH), Olivia Vanoy (high jump), Kylie Gump (high jump), Sarah Cokeley (pole vault), and Mikayla Little (shot put, discus).
Action gets under way at 2 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday.