ONA - Three teams and two individuals will make the four-hour trek to Cabell Midland High School on Saturday for the West Virginia Prep Cross Country Championships.
Magnolia's boys, along with Weir's and Oak Glen's girls, will compete in the Class AA-A races slated for 1 p.m. (girls) and 1:45 p.m. (boys).
Tyler Consolidated sophomore Dylan Reynolds will compete as an individual in the boys' race, while Cameron's Sarah Smith will represent the Dragons in the girls' event.
Magnolia’s Bill Feeney will be one of the top contenders in the Class AA-A boys’ race on Saturday.
File Photo by Seth Staskey
This is the second time in three seasons Coach John Holliday's Magnolia boys will compete.
The Blue Eagles are led by the powerful 1-2 punch of seniors Bill Feeney and Alec Hinerman.
''They are both big meet runners,'' Holliday said. ''They both really come through when the chips are down. Whatever they earn there will be well-deserved.''
Hinerman and Feeney finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at last season's state meet. This year, the duo has been consistently in the top 10, and in most cases the top 5, of every meet.
''They set great examples for hard work and they let their teammate see that hard work pays off,'' Holliday said.
James Haught, Kenny Headley, David McIlvain, Kyle Lancaster, Mikal Raber and Dylan King round out the Magnolia contingent.
McIlvain's father, Chuck, was a member of the Blue Eagles' state championship squads in the late 1980s.
''James Haught has really developed and matured into the sport,'' Holliday said. ''And Headley who has really come around to break into the top 5 on the team. He ran track last year and made himself stronger.''
Weir's girls return to state after a third-place showing last October.
''I'm very happy,'' Red Riders coach Jeff Lewis said. ''Two straight years is quite an achievement.''
Weir returns behind the tandem of juniors Alexis Virtue and Kristen Mastrantoni.
''These two are the dynamic duo,'' Lewis said. ''They are both great kids. And not only are they best friends, they truly compliment each other and push each other.
''The neat thing is they're very similar in running styles. But their main goal is they want to make each other the best they can be.''
While Virtue and Mastrantoni grab most of the headlines, Lewis said the team wouldn't had advanced without the rest of the squad. That group consists of Ella Jennings, Shawnee Jenkins and Allyson Martin.
''The true payoff for these girls will be Saturday and they thing will be having fun, running lose and hard, and if they do all that they will be winners no matter what happens.''
Oak Glen is back at state hoping a healthier group this season will make for better results.
''They know what to expect and their taking things as business as usual,'' Golden Bears coach Adam Howell said.
''Last year we were pretty banged up. This year, the goal is to run as well as we possibly can. We've talked about finishing higher than last year.
''Anything goes at the state meet.''
Kelsey Chambers leads the squad.
''Last year she finished 12th as a freshman and she's definitely ready to go,'' Howell said. ''She wants this badly.''
Casey Baird finished right behind Chambers at regionals.
''We have some girls peaking at the right time and Casey is one of those,'' Howell said.
The rest of the Golden Bears squad includes Jennifer Ferguson, Lacy Pearson, Natali Ramsey, Kayla Swiger and Amy Webster.