(PRINCETON, W.Va.)---West Virginia Conference championships will be up for grabs on Saturday when the league\'s men\'s and women\'s cross country teams gather at Pipestem State Park. Local favorite Concord and traditional power West Virginia Wesleyan are the teams to beat on the men\'s side, while Wesleyan, Charleston, and Alderson-Broaddus are the favorites in the women\'s meet.
Charleston\'s Rebekah Daniel (Sr., Beckley, WV) and West Virginia Wesleyan\'s Amanda Griffith (Sr., Cumberland, MD) have been dominant in 2006, combining to claim five of six conference weekly honors. Daniel earned a title at the Rio Grande Invitational earlier this month. Griffith was a winner at the Elkins Forest Festival.
West Virginia Wesleyan, who nipped Alderson-Broaddus by a mere two points for the women\'s title last season, also hopes to get strong finishes from Sarah Rosier (Fr., Grafton, WV) and Allison Teter (Soph., Washington, PA). Alderson-Broaddus\' Amanda Maxwell (Sr., Tunnelton, WV) is the top returning finisher from last year\'s meet following a fourth place spot in 2005. Ashley Varian (Sr., Montrose, WV) also is an all-conference returnee for the Battlers. Hope Noland (Jr., Parkersburg, WV), who finished sixth last year, is another Charleston runner with high hopes.
West Liberty\'s Kallen Weaver (Soph., Wheeling, WV), a West Virginia University transfer, is another contender. Seton Hill rookie Andra Sanders will strive to become the first Griffin to earn All-WVIAC honors. SHU and fellow WVIAC newcomer Pitt Johnstown will have individual competitors and are eligible to win honors, but will not be included in the team scoring.
In the men\'s race, #9 Concord and #10 West Virginia Wesleyan are included in the latest East Region rankings. The Mountain Lions field one of the region\'s deepest squads. Chris Snell (Jr., Ravenswood, WV), who qualified for the 2004 NCAA Division II nationals, is among the strong CU contingent. Chris Herron (Sr., Glen Daniel, WV), Michael Smutko (Jr., Madison, WV), Adam Coon (Jr., Comfort, WV), and rookie Scott Grose (Fr., Marietta, OH) also should make strong showings for Concord.
West Virginia Wesleyan pins their hopes on sophomores Eric Cooper (Culloden, WV), Pat Reagan (Masontown, PA), and Michael O\'Flaherty (Freehold, NJ). Defending champion Alderson-Broaddus returns Jed Perko (Sr., Bellaire, OH), last year\'s sixth place finisher at the league meet. Ryan Skotnicki (Soph., Morgantown) took second last year for A-B and hopes to keep the Battlers atop the league.
Charleston\'s Corey Mehl (Soph., West Liberty, OH), a two-time WVIAC Runner of the Week, also ranks among top contenders. Joel Turley of Davis & Elkins (Jr., Summit Point, WV) and Seton Hill\'s Julian Florina (Jr., Murrysville, PA) each look to bid for all-conference honors.
Saturday\'s action starts with the women\'s 6K race at 10:00 a.m. The men\'s 8K race follows at 11:00 a.m. An awards ceremony is slated for 1:00 p.m. A junior varsity race takes place on Friday.
WVIAC Cross Country Championship
Pipestem State Park; Pipestem, WV
Friday, 10/20: Women\'s JV Race 4:00 p.m., Men\'s JV Race 4:45 p.m.
Saturday, 10/21: Women\'s Race 10:00 a.m., Men\'s Race 11:00 a.m., Awards 1:00 p.m.