The Knights know their rivals from up North - Morgantown and University - want to crash the party along with new Region IV rival Parkersburg. Cabell Midland has gone 7-for-7 in meets this season with wins over Parkersburg in five. Two wins were in the Mountain State Athletic Conference meet and Class AAA, Region IV meet last week on Huntington High's new course.
"Morgantown and University are good, solid teams," Cabell Midland coach Chris Parsons said. "We have to try to run our best race of the season. That's what it will take."
Cabell Midland won the regional with 30 points and Parkersburg took second with 46. The Knights had four runners in the Top 10 led by champion Coy Smith.
"We have a tough region," Smith said. "When you see all the times, that's a good sign. That makes us work. We have experience. We have to keep things going. Coach Parsons gets us ready for the state. It's up to us to come through."
Cabell Midland is No. 1 in the www.runwv.com team rankings followed by Morgantown and Parkersburg. Morgantown won the Region 1 meet and had five runners in the top 10. Jefferson prevailed in Region II and had four in the Top 10. Woodrow Wilson also had four Top-10 finishers in winning Region III. In individual rankings, Woodrow Wilson's Chris Barbera is No. 1, but he placed 13th in the regional. No. 2 is George Washington's Jacob Birurakis, who won the regional and won races in Huntington and Cabell Midland early in the season. University's Phillip White is No. 3 followed by Austin Jordan and Smith for the Knights.
Cabell Midland won the state last year followed by University and Morgantown.
In Class AAA girls, Region 1 powers University and Morgantown come in ranked Nos. 1 and 2. Parkersburg, which joined Region IV this year after realignment by the WVSSAC, is third and Cabell Midland fourth. Hampshire's Hannah Lipps is ranked No. 1 followed by University's TaShala Turner. Parkersburg's Olivia Collett and Madison Trippett are Nos. 4 and 5. Cabell Midland's top runner is Jessica Salmons at 19th.
Collett, a sophomore, won the regional and Trippett, a freshman, placed second. Ellie Dario, another freshman for the Big Reds, placed fourth.
"I had a rough start to the season, but I'm running better now," Collett said. "We know what we have to do at state."
An at-large entry in Class AAA is Winnie Mayes, a senior from Huntington High. She placed third in the regional, her best showing of the season.
"Super great," Mayes said of how she felt after the race. "I gave it everything I had at the finish."
"A great job by Winnie," Highlanders coach Justin Cox said.
In Class AA-A boys, Bridgeport is No. 1 followed by Winfield and East Fairmont. Winfield's returned to Class AA/A after spending the past four years in Class AAA. The Generals have the top-ranked runner in Aaron Withrow, who won the regional. East Fairmont won Region I and placed four in the Top 10. In Region II, Bridgeport came out on top and had three in the Top 10. Nicholas County topped the field in Region III and had three Top-10 placers. Berkeley Springs is defending champion.
On the AA-A girls side, 2015 winner Berkeley Springs is No. 1 with Fairmont Senior next followed by Winfield. Philip Barbour's Jessica Melvin is the top-ranked runner and teammate Kierra Hodge is No. 5. Stephanie Golden of Berkeley Springs is fourth. Philip Barbour won Region I and had three in the Top 10. Bridgeport won Region II and had five placers in the Top 10. Nicholas County won Region III with three in the Top 10.
Tri-State at-large entries in Class AA/A are Makenzie Moran of Huntington St. Joe and Katie Napier of Wayne.
There will be two additional Team Awards this year. The top two Class A teams in boys and girls will get trophies. This is being done on a trial basis with the hopes of getting more Class A schools to field teams to they can have a separate division.
Source: Herald Dispatch