The 2008 Mountain State Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship meet went according to form Wednesday afternoon at Cabell Midland High School.
Hurricane's girls, ranked No. 1 in the RunWV power rankings, had the top two finishers in Alex Dent and Josie Crouch and won the championship with 26 points. The Redskins had five runners place ninth or better, and Dent's time (19:30) was an MSAC record. Runner-up was 2007 champion Cabell Midland with 64.
"You hear the time, but don't pay attention to it," Dent said. "You want to go across first. I'm proud of my time. I always try my hardest. I'm real proud of what everybody did."
Cabell Midland's boys added another title to their collection. Trey Beckett took second overall (17:19) as the Knights wound up with 28 points. They also had their top five finish ninth or better. St. Albans was second with 72.
"The big thing is how closely they came across," Cabell Midland coach Chris Parsons said of his top runners. "Power of the pack. That's our strength."
South Charleston's David Caldwell, ranked No. 3 in Class AAA, was the top individual (16:31). He was six seconds away from the meet record.
"I thought I ran slow," said Caldwell, who ran by himself for most of the 5K race. "My goal is 16:25 or better. I'm happy I won, but I can do better."
Next up is the West Virginia Class AAA Region IV meet next Thursday at Teays Valley Park (Hurricane's home site). The finale is the State Meet on Nov. 1 at Cabell Midland.
The top 10 runners Wednesday made All-MSAC. Those in 11th through 20th made second team.
"The first of three," Hurricane coach Bill Posey said, referring to the MSAC, regional and state meets. "When you see Alex and Josie go past, you yell a few things. Seldom do I see them finish. I'm at the back watching the other girls, but they know how to close."
Dent said the Redskins have made quite a push in one year. They were fifth in the state meet in 2007.
"From fifth to where we are now. That's a big boost to our confidence," Dent said. "We've made a big leap. If we didn't have coach Posey, we wouldn't be where we are today. We didn't peak last year. Our focus is on the state this time."
Crouch made a big push down the homestretch to pass Capital's Chelsea Jarvis to take second.
"I had one more gear in me," said Crouch.
Crouch and Dent were two key performers who helped Hurricane win the Class AAA girls track championship last spring. For Crouch, this is her experience with cross country in the fall. She's played soccer the past two years.
"It's gone well," she said of the transition. "We have the motiviation. Coach is so smart in everything he does. He gets us ready."
"They're the team to beat," Parsons said of Hurricane. "They're a strong team and well deserving of the ranking."
Beckett said he's used to chasing Caldwell.
"He's one of the guys who goes after it right out of the gate," Beckett said. "If he's not up front, he's not having a good race."
A bright spot for the Knights was Nolan Queen. He placed fifth.
"He ran a breakout race," Beckett said. "It shows the kind of depth we have."
"He made a big push," Parsons said of Queen, who's been battling injuries. "He's just now getting back into form."
Source: The Herald Dispatch