Throughout the cross country season, teams and individuals tend to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Those that separate themselves from each other go into the state meet as favorites. As is with the case with just about every race that will be Saturday a handful of individuals and teams will be favored in every race except the AA-A boys race. Nothing should be assumed or predicted in this race. It appears to be the wild card of all the races on Saturday. Cross country will get a special treat because it will be the last race of the day.
Starting with the individual race. Scott High senior Will Shaffer owns the faster time in the class with a 16:28. He posted this time in early September at the Chick-fil-a Invitational in Mineral Wells. However, a handful of other young men have broke the 17 minute barrier this season. In terms of time, Magnolia senior Bill Feeney is next with his 16:31 at the OVAC Championship in the earlier part of the month. Ritchie sophomore Johnny Hogue is next with a 16:43 at the Magnolia Mudhole Invitational followed by Buffalo’s Evan Childers with a 16:47 at Chick-fil-a. Magnolia’s Alec Hinerman rounds out the gentlemen that have broken 17 minutes with a 16:50 at the OVAC Championships and Richwood‘s Andrew Shaffer with a 16:55 at his conference meet. St. Mary’s Charlie Drazba ran exactly 17 minutes at his regional meet.
Andrew Shaffer from Richwood and Will Shaffer from Scott 2010 XC Championship (File Photo)
Alec Hinerman from Magnolia 2010 XC Championship (File Photo)
Evan Childers from Buffalo at the Outdoor State 3200m Championship (Lance McDaniel Photo)
Cameron Davis from Westside at the Outdoor State 3200m Championship (Lance McDaniel Photo)
Since the state meet is on Cabell Midland’s course, it’s probably important to note how each one did at the Geico Classic on the first weekend of September. Will Shaffer won AA-A with a time of 17:00. Hogue was the next West Virginia runner with a 17:22. Drazba ran 17:45 and Childers ran 17:59. Hinerman and Feeney have not run the course to my knowledge. A few other runners to keep an eye on Saturday will be Westside’s Cameron Davis. He was able to beat Drazba and Childers at Geico. Drazba’s teammate Jordan Whitehair finished right behind him at Geico and has a season-best of 17:04. Oak Hill’s West Stowers, Doddridge’s Caleb Moore and Shady Spring’s Tyler Kosut have all broke the 17:30 barrier this season
The team race seems to be about as congested as the individual race.
In the team rankings, St. Mary’s holds the top spot according to wvrunners.com followed by Doddridge and Oak Hill. Philip Barbour and Magnolia round out the top five.
Oak Hill has three guys that have broken the 18 minute barrier--Stowers, Hayden Thomas and Lucas Gardner. St. Mary’s and Doddridge have two guys that have broken the 18 minute barrier. Both have virtually the same gap from one to five. St. Mary’s is 1:31 and Doddridge has a 1:32 gap, while Oak Hill sits at 1:43. If Philip Barbour gets a strong performance from their 5th runner, they could become a major player in the team race. Of the four teams they have the tighest gap through four runners, but their fifth, sixth and seventh tail off considerably.
Magnolia has the more fire power at the top than any other team in the state--Hinerman and Feeney could potentially be in the top five. Magnolia’s third runner, James Haught, has broke 18 minutes this season, but things get really sketchy for Magnolia after that.
Oak Hill, St. Mary’s, Doddridge and Philip Barbour all should be familiar with the pressure they face Saturday. At the state meet last year, the four teams went two through five in the team race and were separated by a mere 13 points.
It appears the weather will not play a major factor in the day’s event. The Ona weather for Saturday is calling for a high around 60 and sunny.