Jacob Burcham and Amelia Paladino Set New State Marks
It was a record setting day at the West Virginia AAA High School Cross Country Championships at Cabell Midland High School in Ona, West Virginia on Saturday. Running in a drizzle under gloomy skies, Morgantown girls and Cabell Midland boys teams each set new records for average team time, shattering the old marks in the process. Individual winners Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland and Amelia Paladino also set new individual marks in what host coach Chris Parsons remarked was the fastest state meet in West Virginia high school history.
AAA Champ Jacob Burcham- Record setting 14:58.04 - Rollie Jacobs photo
Amelia Paladino - AAA state champion in AAA record time of 17:47.32- Rollie Jacobs photo
The Morgantown girls repeated as State Girls AAA Champions using an impressive combination of depth and speed to easily outpace second place University. Led by senior Brynn Harshbarger, the Morgantown ladies placed five runners in the top ten with an average team time of 19:02, a new state record. Following Harshbarger (2nd; 18:23.44) to the finish were teammates Allison Lynch (6th; 19:04.43), Andrea Petit (7th; 19:10.67), last year’s champion Victoria Cooke (9th; 19:14.22) and Sydney Pineault (10th; 19:14.47). Morgantown scored just 35 points to easily secure the Girls AAA title.
Morgantown- AAA Girls State Champions - Rollie Jacobs photo
Second place University was led by junior Amelia Paladino who raced ahead of the field to break the 18 minute barrier with a time of 17:47.32. Paladino’s time easily earned her the individual AAA girls’ crown and set a new girls’ AAA state record. Paladino was the second girl on the day to break the 18 minute mark as Maggie Drazba of St. Mary’s ran a superlative 17:17.89 to win the A/AA championship earlier in the day. Joining Paladino in the top 10 was Abbey Harrison who finished third in a superb 18:45.52. Freshman Sarah Wills provided key support to the team by finishing 17th with a time of 19:48.39. Rounding out University’s top five finishers were Katherine Warner (36th; 20:51.11) and Sydney Dotson (21:02.11). University finished with 90 points.
Finishing third on the day was up and coming Hurricane. Emily Schwendiman (16th; 19:38.64) and Joie Johnson (19th; 19:52.45) each broke the 20 minute mark in leading the team. Also scoring for Hurricane were Tori Dent (22nd; 20:02.24), Abbie Short (34th; 20:47.10) and Baylee Summers (39th; 20:55.12). Hurricane finished the day with 116 points to outpace fourth place Parkersburg (128 points).
Other schools also contributed to the top ten All-State podium. Preston’s Kaitlyn Workman ran yet another strong race to finish 4th and was the last runner to break 19 minutes on the day with a time of 18:50.22. Jefferson’s Abby Colbert was the fastest freshman girl on the day, finishing fifth with a time of 19:01.66. Peyton Panger of Capital rounded out the girls’ top ten, finishing eighth in 19:12.26. With only Brynn Harshbarger graduating this year, next year’s race for the girlsindividual title should be a challenging and exciting event!
AAA Girls All-State - Rollie Jacobs photo
Burcham Best Ever
In the boys’ championship race, it was Cabell Midland strength and depth that carried the day. With three runners in the top ten and 5 in the top 15, Cabell Midland easily outpaced second place University 37 points to 75. As expected, senior Jacob Burcham led the way for Cabell Midland. Burcham sprinted out to an early lead and never looked back, leading wire to wire to win in a new course and State Championship record time of 14:58.04. With this win, Burcham has established himself as the best boys’ Cross-Country runner in State history.
Nevertheless, Burcham did not win the team championship on his own as he was backed by an excellent team. Cabell Midland set a new average team time state record of 16:06. Avery Campbell broke the 16 minute mark with a 15:57.28 to seize third place. Joining Campbell and Burcham in the top ten was Mason Dino. Dino’s time of 16:18.98 was good for tenth on the day. Freshman Andrew Short (14th; 16:32.52) and Brian Lawhon (15th; 16:36.23) each finished in the top 15 to round out Cabell Midland’s impressive performance.
Cabell Midland - AAA Boys State Champions - Rollie Jacobs photo
The University boys’ ranked 3rd in some rankings coming into the day but pulled off the upset over defending champion Jefferson. Andy Paladino led the way for University with an eighth place finish in 16:14.24. Paladino’s teammates came through with strong performances to secure their place on the podium. Tristan Harvey (13th; 16:29.63) and freshman Seth Edwards (14th; 16:31) ran great races as each placed in the top fifteen. They were supported by Alex Minor (23rd; 16:49.72) and Reed Phares (33rd; 17:01.66) as University scored their well-earned second place finish. University finished with a strong and secure 75 points and a place on the podium.
Defending Jefferson was thought by many to be at least a top two team coming into the race. It was not to be on this day as a flu outbreak passed through the team in the week leading into the meet. Sophomore Andrew Milliron led the way for Jefferson, placing fourth in 15:59.82. Ryan Graf fought through illness to finish in the top twenty (18th; 16:36.71). Rounding out the scoring for Jefferson were Zach Wiberg (21st; 16:42.10), Jackson Jacobs (24th; 16:50.25) and Matt Royster (60th; 17:57.18). Jefferson finished with 111 points just ahead of fourth place Morgantown (121 points).
George Washington junior Matt Brafford ran a terrific race to finish second in the Championship. His time of 15:42.10 would have placed him first in 2011. Following Brafford and also earning All-State honors were Preston’s Brody Born (5th; 16:01.83), Oak Hill’s Wes Stowers (6th; 16:09.49), Greenbrier East’s Levi Snedegar (16:10.89) and Huntington’s Jack McGee (16:18.42). Of this year’s All-State performers, Brafford, Milliron, Snedegar, and Paladino are all juniors and will challenge for the individual champion title next year. They will challenged by a wealth of talented freshmen, sophomores and juniors finishing in the top 25.
AAA Boys All-State -Rollie Jacobs photo
Overall, both the girls’ and boys’ races were run at an incredible pace. This was true not only amongst the highest finishers but extended deep into each race, especially on the boys’ side. Last year the race was run under very similar conditions, but results were much different. Jacob Burcham’s winning time last year would have been good for only third this year. The All-State/Top Ten cut off last year was 16:38.62. That would have been good for only 20th this year. Sub 17 minute times went eleven deep last year; this year they went 31 deep!
The girls’ results were similar. Victoria Cooke’s excellent 19:02.7 last year would have been good for only sixth this year. The All-State cut-off for the girls last year was 19:36.7 which would have been good for only 16th this year. Sub 20 minute times for the girls went to 14th this year while last year they went to 20th.
When you add in Jacob Burcham setting a new meet record in beating his own winning time last year by 50 seconds and Amelia Paladino also setting a AAA meet record in beating last year’s winning time by 1:15, it all adds up to one of the greatest West Virginia AAA Cross Country Championships in history.
Congratulations to the Morgantown girls and Cabell Midland boys and record setting individual champions Jacob Burcham and Amelia Paladino for their 2012 West Virginia AAA Cross Country Championship victories. And while they very much deserve their congratulations, every runner who competed should be proud of their accomplishments. It takes incredible discipline and dedication to compete at this level. Well done to all!