Going into Saturday’s AA-A girls’ race, all anybody wanted to talk about was the showdown between Charleston Catholic’s Sami Harris and St. Mary’s Maggie Drazba. After the race, people were talking about Drazba’s complete domination of the Cabell Midland course.
2011 West Virginia State AA-A girls start. Maggie Drazba , in the middle of the picture, going to the front. (Photo by Lance McDaniel)
At the first mile, the two juniors crossed in 6:06--well ahead of third place--Katie Jan, who crossed in 6:22. The next runners were the Philip Barbour duo of Katie Mahoney and Brianna Waybright. They crossed in 6:30. Weir’s Alexis Virtue and Kristen Mastrantoni came through in 6:32. The next pack of runners included Shady Spring’s Sarah Phillips, Oak Glen’s Kelsey Chambers and Oak Hill’s Kali Striker came through shortly behind them.
Maggie Drazba and Sami Harris Battling in 2011 XC West Virginia State Championship (photo by Lance McDaniel)
As the runners made their way up to the 4-H extension building--about 1.2 miles in-- nothing had changed among the leaders. As Drazba and Harris approached the two-mile mark, Drazba had opened up a 10-15-meter lead on her rival.
At the two-mile marker, Drazba had opened a considerable lead, coming across in 12:10. Harris was solidly in second, crossing in 12:24. Jan was still in third but had several runners hot on her heels. She came through in 13:09. Mahoney and Fairbanks crossed together in 13:14. Phillips had passed Virtue and Mastrantoni, She crossed in 13:22, followed by the Weir combo in 13:25.
As she entered the track, it was The Maggie Drazba Show, the only question left to answer was whether she would break the course record held by former Elkins standout Letitia Propst. Drazba finished the race with a time of 18:25, breaking the course record by four seconds.
Maggie Drazba's 18:25 Sets New Course Record (Photo by Lance McDaniel)
Harris cruised in for second with a 19:11. Jan held off Mahoney for third. Jan ran 19:59 and Mahoney finished in 20:00. Her teammate, Waybright ran 20:07 to round out the top five. Phillips, Virtue, Mastrantoni, Chambers and Striker completed the all-state first-team.
2011 A-AA West Virginia XC All-State Girls (photo by Lance McDaniel)
The day was all about Maggie Drazba. She had a strategy and stuck to it. “I was just trying to stay with (Harris) through the first mile, then I knew when I had to make my move and I did it,” Drazba said. “Whenever I came to the turn at the two mile, I knew she was pretty far back.” According to Drazba, the course record was never really thought that ran through her head. “When I was coming around the softball field (about 800-meters out) I could hear the PA announcer saying I had a chance to break the course record,” she said.
Besides the Drazba-Harris storyline, the team race appeared to be tight between St. Mary’s and Philip Barbour. It lived up to the hype. The Colts were able to put three runners between Drazba and St. Mary’s number two runner, Jenny Brewer. Coming into the day, the concern about Philip Barbour was whether they had a tight enough pack to defeat St. Mary’s. Even though, the times may have not been where the Colts would’ve liked, they did just enough to defeat St. Mary’s 67 to 80.
St. Marys 2011 West Virginia State AA-A Runner-ups (Photo by Lance McDaniel)
Philip Barbour was able to defend their title from 2010 and became the first AA-A girls team to win back-to-back championships since Grafton in 1999-2000.
Philip Barbour 2011 West Virginia State XC Champions (Photo by Lance McDaniel)