Running with the Herd

South’s Herring joins Marshall

Parkersburg South cross country runner Abby Herring, flanked by her parents Karen and Jeff Herring, signed her letter of intent to run cross county with Marshall University at Parkersburg South High School in February.

PARKERSBURG — Unsure if she would be continuing her running after high school Abby Herring will keep her cross county career alive, but only after a strong showing her senior year.

Herring will continue to run cross county, signing with Marshall University at Parkersburg South High School in February.

During her final campaign at South, Herring finished 12th place with a time of 20:02.47 this past fall at Ona, WV during the Class AAA cross country state meet.

She raced at Ona three out of her four years. Her best finish coming as a freshman where she made all-state in fourth place.

Already a track and field athlete, Herring started running cross country her eighth-grade year at Blennerhassett and quickly fell in love with the sport.

“I’m definitely more of a cross country person, I like long distance and the scenery. I do not like running around in circles,” Herring said with a laugh.

Not sure that she wanted to continue running at the college level, it wasn’t until a couple of college coaches started reaching out,

Herring thought about running at the college level.

“Continuing to run is a great opportunity and being part of a team again would be nice, but I wasn’t really sure. I started thinking more about it when talking to some coaches”

Placing sixth with a time of 20:18 at the St. Mary’s Medical Center XC Festival at Cabell Midland in September, Marshall assistant head coach Caleb Bowen came up to Harring after the meet and the recruiting process started right there.

Herring texted Bowen and set up an official visit to campus during the fall.

“Since it was an official visit, I got to stay over the night at Marshall. The coaches toured the campus, it was really fun and I met with some of the team,” Herring said. “Dr. Landry then gave us the tour of the nursing program, the simulation lab, and the classrooms. That was really awesome.”

Two of the biggest reasons why Herring chose Marshall was that they could offer both an experienced coaching staff and nursing program.

Experience is what head coach Small has, serving as both the head cross country and track coach at Marshall since July 1995.

Under Small, Marshall cross country runners have earned 18 All-Conference USA honorees for performances in the top-21 at the conference meet since joining the conference in 2005.

Prior to that, from 1989-1995, Small was an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s track and field coach and head cross country coach for the University of South Carolina.

In cross county, Small coached one NCAA qualifier, five all-region, four All-SEC, and 15 All-Metro Conference selections.

While assistant coach Bowen competed in cross county for Small from 2011-2014.

Taking a few health science classes in high school and also wanted to help people out, Herring plans to be majoring in nursing.

“I kind of like all of that stuff, I’m inspired to take the path,” said Herring. “Their nursing is really good, their passing rates for their exams after graduation is around 95-96.”

Herring thanked longtime coach Brian Blanc for helping her reach this point.

Blanc has been coaching her in some form since she began running as a Bobcat.

He was the distance coach for South’s track program, he then became the cross county coach during Herring’s senior year.

“Brian has definitely been pretty much through it all, he has helped me get better every year,” Herring said.