the Internet home of HS track / field / CC

Front Page

Cross Country 1999

WV State Meet Preview

by Kim Nutter

This weekend's State Championship meet in Williamstown could be one of the most competitive in the Mountain State in recent years. As everyone knows, there always seem to be surprises and unexpected turns of events in a state meet. Some runners will run the race of their lives to become All State selections, while some will underachieve and not run up to their potential. Here's hoping that all the state qualifiers run the "race of their lives" this weekend. Predictions on races is always a tricky business, but I'll do my best to give a reasonable prediction on the possible outcome of this year's meet.

Let's start with the AAA Girls. For most of the season, Holly Hunter of East Fairmont dominated the competition. A loss to Susan Davis of Hampshire at the Fairmont Times Invitational a few weeks back will only strengthen her resolve at the state meet. She has, over the past several years, consistently shown extreme toughness in the "big" meets. This meet will be no different. I think Hunter has too much savvy for Davis and the rest and I see her winning close. Davis, on the other hand, will not back down from a challenge and this race could come down to a stretch run. If it does, Hunter's superior speed wins out. Giti Farudi of University has been consistent all year long and could provide a challenge. On the team side, top rated Fairmont Senior, despite a Regional loss to cross town rival East Fairmont, should take the state team crown. The Polar Bear girls have a little too much depth at the 4th and 5th spots. Look for a possible surprise finish by the Parkersburg High girls. They don't have the guns to win it all, but could make it interesting along with East Fairmont. Watch for Stephanie Hatfield of Robert C. Byrd to possibly have a breakout race.

The AAA Boys race should provide plenty of excitement. Larry Atkins of Huntington High, last year's AAA boys 1600 meter champ, has yet to lose a race to a West Virginian this year. His only loss came in Gallipolis, OH early in the season and he has improved each week.. That's not to say that an upset couldn't occur. Kenny Beerbower, a sophomore from Robert C. Byrd, caught Atkins at the Little Farm Run meet in September, but was unable to put him away. Look for Morgantown's Keith Rand to be the chief competition for Atkins. Rand, another sophomore, has run exceptionally well all year. Atkins' experience and race savvy should be enough to propel him to the individual crown. Others who could make an impact are East Fairmont's Jon Wright, Randy Melarejo of Fairmont Senior, and Jon Calhoun of Oak Hill. John Mallory of Parkersburg High has improved each meet and could be a surprise top 3 finisher as well as Hampshire's Shane Ruggles.. The only way Fairmont Senior won't win the team title is if they happen to get lost on the way to the course. They have completely dominated teams in West Virginia this year, and the race may literally be for second place. If the Polar Bears slip up, both Hampshire County and Preston have solid teams. Last year's champion, St Albans, seems to be peaking as does Cabell Midland. Don't count Morgantown out either. The Mohigans have been quietly improving and may be ready to pull a surprise.

The A-AA girls race is about Grafton and Jessica Taylor of Fayetteville. The Bearcat girls have been exceptional this year and have used solid team running to prevail each week. Sherrie Flohr, another sophomore, has been Grafton's leader throughout the year and should be in the thick of things on Saturday. The downside is that a moral victory is about all any of the A-AA girls will get with Jessica Taylor in the race. Taylor's closest race all year came on the state championship course when Flohr pushed her at the Little Farm Run. Don't look for that to happen Saturday. The only surprise will be if any other girl is within shouting distance of Taylor at the end. Williamstown could challenge Grafton, using their home course advantage.

Doddridge County has been in a class by itself all year. On several occasions the Bulldogs moved up to AAA competition and went head to head with Fairmont Senior. They'll get no such challenge from anyone at the A-AA level on Saturday and barring a complete collapse by their 4th and 5th runners, should take the crown going away Little Kanawha Conference rival Ritchie County could make things interesting. The Rebels have been plagued by injuries all year, but seem to be rounding into form for the final meet. Denny Hayes of Doddridge and Dusty Dent of Gilmer County have battled back and forth all year long. Conventional wisdom says Hayes will be the man to beat on Saturday, but Shaun Spielman of Berkeley Springs could surprise. This is another race that could provide some individual surprises. Ryan Parsons of Williamstown won the Little Farm race in front of the home crowd, turning back both Hayes and Dent, and will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday. Cole Carpenter of Ritchie, beset with hip problems early in the season, is rounding back into form as well. Don't be surprised to see Ravenswood or Sissonville produce some individual performances either. 

This Web site is maintained by 
John Dye [email protected]
Material Copyright 1998-1999-2000