Weekend of September 7 - Brafford Runs US#5 at Chick-Fil-A (New!)

GW’s Matthew Brafford Runs US#5 at Chick-Fil-A Invitational



George Washington’s Matthew Brafford blazed his way to a US#5 clocking Saturday in Mineral Wells.

The senior finished first in the big school race at the Chick-Fil-A Invitational, posting a time of 15 minutes, 17.4 seconds on the 5,000-meter course. Junior Tanner Harding of Caldwell (OH) finished 59 seconds back.

"I really felt good," Brafford said after his race. "The conditions were just right. I knew if I was going to get the course record I had to get out to a quick start.”

Brafford, in fact, tied Wesley Smith of Hudson, Ohio, for the overall course record and bettered the West Virginia course record by Justin Simpson of Oak Glen by three seconds. Smith and Simpson set those records in 2002, the same year that both Smith and Simpson qualified for Foot Locker Nationals at Balboa Park in San Diego. Smith was the runner-up to former U.S. 10,000-meter record holder Chris Solinski, while Simpson placed 22nd.

“My plan was to try and run 15:10, that way I would have about seven seconds to play with,” Brafford said. “I came through the mile in about 4:43 and the two mile in 9:33. At that point I pretty much tried to hold it there.

“When I rounded the last turn, I heard the announcer say that the record was going to be close and really had to kick the last 200 meters to finish. As I crossed the line, I heard the crowd gasp. I gave it all I had, thinking that I just came up short."

At season’s end, Brafford could become just the sixth boy from West Virginia to qualify for the Foot Locker Nationals. Steve Taylor of St. Marys did it in 1981 and 1982, while Brian Redman of Keyser also qualified in 1982. Mikey Cox of Athens qualified in 1994, while Oak Glen’s Simpson (2002) and Morgantown’s Cody Pelliccioni (2010) are the most recent to race in the national event.

Colin Radabaugh of Preston was third Saturday in 16:51, while Winfield’s RJ Weiford placed fourth in 16:53 and Nic Cheuvront of Parkersburg fifth in 16:53. The rest of the top 10 included Capital’s Marshall Sharp (17:11), Winfield’s Braxton McMillion (17:14), Parkersburg’s John Bolton (17:17), teammate Logan Wooten (17:22) and Ripley’s Jake Casto (17:29).

The course was ran entirely on grass and was a combination of gently rolling hills and flat areas that provided for some very fast times.

There were 13 full teams and 154 runners in the AAA boys’ race, with Parkersburg just edging Winfield, 53-65, to take team honors. Hampshire placed third with 120 points followed by Caldwell (138), Ripley (143), Preston (162), Capital (163), John Marshall (193), George Washington (205) and Parkersburg South (276).

Brafford will next compete at the Knights Crossing XC Invitational this Saturday at Green Hill Park in Salem, Va. He will face the current US#1 runner, Ian Midler of Mount Tabor, N.C., and Morristown-West (Tenn.)’s Quintin McKinnish, who finished 13th at last year’s Foot Locker Nationals.



Calhoun Invitational R
Calhoun County
Mt. Zion, WV
09/03 Coaches Classic Invitational R
Gallia Academy
Gallipolis, OH
09/03 Independence Invitational
Independence Senior
Coal City, WV
09/03 Stormin' the Castle R
Tyler Consolidated
Sistersville, WV
09/04 Keyser, Tucker County, Hyndman Tri Meet R
Keyser, WV
09/07 Ben Queen Photography-Indian Run Invitational
Bridgeport Senior
Bridgeport, WV
09/07 Brunswick Invitational
Brunswick High School
Brunswick, Md
09/07 Chick-Fil-A Invitational

Flash Summary: Matthew Brafford of George Washington defended his AAA event title and tied a course record in the process. His 15:17.4 matched the effort from 2002 by Hudson (Ohio)’s Wesley Smith, a runner-up in the 2002 Foot Locker Nationals. Brafford was almost a minute ahead of the runner-up in the field of 154 runners.

In the boys’ team standings, Parkersburg was on top with 53 point to Winfield’s 65. Nic Cheuvront paced the champions in fifth at 16:53.

Capital sophomore Peyton Panger claimed her second invitational title in as many weekends, clocking 18:47.4 to the 19:26.4 for Kaitlyn Workman of Preston in AAA. The top six bettered 20 minutes over the 5,000-meter layout.

In the team race, Winfield collected the girls’ title with 56 points, while Hampshire was second with 90. Brittney McMillion led the way for the Generals with a fifth-place finish in 19:33.5, while Hampshire's Ashley Martin was next at 19:41.5.

In AA-A girls, Grafton's Alicia Parsons topped Oak Glen’s Kelsey Chambers for her first varsity invitational win. The freshman reached the finish in 19:49.5 to the 19:56.2 by Chambers. 

The team battle was just as tight as Williamstown slipped past Ravenswood, 100-109. Ravenswood had three in the top 15 and ahead of Williamstown's second runner, but the Yellow Jackets claimed the title as Nos. 3-5 were separated by just 48 seconds.

Johnny Hogue of Ritchie County won a tight battle in the AA-A boys. Hogue covered the distance in 16:23.9 as the top five placers were separated by only 22 seconds.

Fairmont Senior claimed the team title with 99 points to Williamstown's 148. The champions had four in the top 26.

Mineral Wells, WV
09/07 Great Meadow Invitational
Mountain View 
The Plains, VA
09/07 Run By The River
Proctorville, OH