2011 AA-A Cross Country Preview

Philip Barbour Ladies Favored to Repeat as State Champions


On the girls’ side of things in the AA-A classes, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is Sarah McCauley graduated and will be running at WVU this fall. The bad news is that Philip Barbour returns the other six runners that blew the away the second place Shady Spring by 58 points at the state meet.


The Colts may have another runner take home the individual crown. Last year, then-sophomore Briana Waybright finished fifth and freshman Katie Mahoney finished ninth.


However, when talking about the individual title, the conversation starts with St. Mary’s Maggie Drazba and Charleston Catholic’s Sami Harris. Drazba swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs at the state meet. she is also the individual state champions from 2009 in cross country. Harris picked up a pair of second place of finishes in track and was runner-up to McCauley in cross country.


Maggie Drazba of St. Marys


Charleston Catholic’s Sami Harris


Other young ladies to watch in the AA-A classification are Frankfort’s Katie Jan, Weir’s Alexis Virtue, Herbert Hoover’s Erica Walker, Doddridge’s Bethany Carroll and Shady Spring’s Sarah Phillips.


For the first time since 2008, a runner not named Drew Woodford will walk away from Cabell Midland High School as individual boy's champion of the AA-A state meet.


Over the last two years, Woodford has cruised to the title while helping Grafton win back-to-back team championships, but now he and a number of Grafton runners from their championship teams have graduated. The individual title appears to be up for grabs as a number of runners that finished inside the top ten returns this season.


Rising Richwood senior Andrew Shaffer is the top returning finisher from a year ago. Besides finishing second to Woodford in cross country. Shaffer won the A 1,600-meter run at the state track meet in May.


Will Shaffer, a rising junior at Scott High, finished third last year at the state meet and was just 10 seconds behind Andrew Shaffer.


Andrew Shaffer of Richwood (L) and Will Shaffer of Scott


A pair of Magnolia seniors-to-be, Alec Hinerman and Bill Feeney are strong candidates to walk away as individual champions as well. Although they didn’t make the state meet last year, Magnolia will lean on Hinerman and Feeney all year to get to Ona and subsequently make a strong run at the team title.


Alec Hinerman of Magnolia


Ritchie’s Johnny Hogue had a strong freshmen campaign last season and finished sixth at the state meet. It will be interesting to see if he can avoid the sophomore slump and challenge for the title.


Others runners that could compete for the individual title in AA-A are Westside’s Cameron Davis, Philip Barbour’s Wes Anderson, St. Mary’s Derek Bayless and Charlie Drazba and Buffalo’s Evan Childers.


With Grafton losing four of their top seven from their title team, it’s tough to see them repeating as champions.Philip Barbour loses just one runner from a team that finished just 18 points behind Grafton. St. Mary’s nearly beat Philip Barbour out for second place a year ago. Losing by just one point to the Colts. St. Mary’s will return everybody from their third place team. Doddridge will bring back five of their top seven from a team that finished fourth and just four points behind St. Mary’s