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Keegan Barnette, Franklin Angelos look to lead PHS out of cross country regional

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Franklin Angelos (363) and Keegan Barnette (364), pictured here during a race earlier this season, are hoping to help lead the Parkersburg Big Reds to the state cross country meet.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg teammates Keegan Barnette and Franklin Angelos are hoping to help lead the Big Reds to the state cross country meet.

The first step in order for that to happen gets underway at 11:30 a.m. Thursday when PHS, Parkersburg South and Ripley join Cabell Midland, Hurricane, Lincoln County, Spring Valley and host Huntington at the Class AAA, Region IV meet.

Angelos is coming off his Mountain State Athletic Conference championship victory. The junior is rated second in the state by runwv.com, trailing defending state champ Josh Edwards of University and one spot ahead of Big Red senior teammate Keegan Barnette.

“We’re both happy to be able to run at all this season with the way track season started and we got shut down,” admitted Barnette, who ran a 15:54 to win the Huntington/Wayne Invite on the same course last month. “We’re just happy to have any races to run and being in the championship season is nice.”

The two Big Reds have formed a solid relationship even though they are competing for and against one another.

“I’m not mad about getting second or over ecstatic about beating him. I’m just glad we got a strong one-two up there,” added Barnette, who also has classmates Gabe Ray (115th) and Ethan Rutherford (128th) ranked.

“We both have our strong days and weak days. I’d rather go back and forth with somebody on my team than somebody else. There’s no way out of bonding with him. Since he’s got here we’ve been a lot closer and more like family than teammates at this point.”

Angelos, who finished fifth at the regional last year two spots behind Barnette, capped his sophomore season with an all-state performance.

“It looks like we may be favored for third. It’s really up to the anchors on the team and the fourth and fifth guys,” Angelos said. “If Keegan and I can go out there and get top three it’s up to the other guys to pull through and get the points they need.

“We have a really good shot at getting third (Cabell Midland is ranked second, Hurricane fifth). We have to beat Huntington and Ripley and maybe South. I’m not really sure.”

Angelos added this season has “definitely been different with COVID and everything. We haven’t raced as much and it started a little later. It’s still the same now we got regionals and states. It doesn’t feel a whole lot different.”

As far as competing with Barnette the junior noted “I don’t know if I would call it a rivalry, especially being on the same team and being able to compete together and push each other in races. We’re both up there in the top level of the state.

“That’s pretty cool. The goal is definitely to get the team out and qualify and try to get everybody to go. Trying to get first and second would be nice to get as little amount of points possible from us. Just qualifying is the goal to make sure you get it done.”

Parkersburg South’s boys are led by Aiden Blake (63rd) and Brody Cochran (66th). Blake finished 13th at last year’s regional to help the Patriots finish third and advance to state. PSHS also will be looking for solid efforts from the likes of Miciah Jones (93rd), Anthony Ott (113th) and Blake Snyder (120th).

Ripley’s Chase Pepper, who is ranked 12th in Class AAA, will lead the Vikings along with freshman Max Meadows (31st). Pepper was sixth at the regional as a sophomore in 2019.

Top-ranked Ellie Hosaflook paces the No. 2 Ripley girls, who are hoping for a strong regional to set up a clash on Halloween with No. 1 University.

The Vikings also feature ranked runners in Jadyn Casto (25th), Tori Fisher (29th), Opal Huffman (31st), Haleigh McCune (39th) and Emma Shockey (61st).

Marimo Akita has been Parkersburg South’s top runner and is currently ranked 26th. Other ranked Patriots include Desirae Caplinger (113rd), Sydney Jeffrey (135th), Hayleigh Brick (138th) and Gwen Wigal (148th).

Parkersburg’s girls are led by Abby Broadwater (82nd) and Alayna Liebau (87th). PHS also boasts Aubrey Lantz (100th), Claire Flanagan (131st) and Lily Floyd (154th).

The girls are expected to race at 12:15 p.m.

Prior to both of the Class AAA regionals, the Class AA, Region IV meet will get underway at 10 a.m.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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