Friday, May 18, 2007

Outdoor Track - May - 2007

We sent out requests to all the top runners in the state to send us their thoughts leading up to the State meet. We tried our best to contact as many people as we could but there were still many good runners that we had no contact information for. If you're ranked in the top 10 in your event then we want to hear your thoughts so be sure to e-mail us so your voice can be heard along with the others. We haven't gotten everyone's response yet, but I'm going to go ahead and put up what I have, and then we'll add to it later, as we get more in, so keep checking back in for updates. Thanks to all those who participated and good luck this weekend!

Ryan Beabout (#1 ranked AAA runner with 9:18 3200 and 4:23 1600m from Wheeling Park) "I am very pumped for the state track meet . This meet means a lot to me this year not just individually but for the team. I am going go run every race to my best capability to score points for the team. I am very anxious for the meet and cant wait for Friday and Saturday to roll around. I have had some good workouts this week, my legs feel great, and I'm ready to roll. Hopefully the outcome Saturday evening will be a team state championship."

Kaylyn Christopher (Fastest female runner in the history of the state from Preston)
"It's really hard to believe that this is going to be my last state meet, but I'm really thankful for all the opportunities I've had in the past few years. It's incredible how far running has come just recently, and I know States this year is going to have the performances to prove it."

Josh Feathers (4:30 1600m and 9:46 3200 runner from Preston)
"I'm really excited for the state meet and I can't believe it's already here. This year is a lot different than last year, everyone has gotten so much better. Beabout is going to be strong and so will Eric F. and a lot of the other guys and I think we are all anxious to race. I wish everyone the best of luck and see you guys at states. "

Emma Berry (5:17 1600m and 11:29 3200m runner from Morgantown)
"I can't wait for States this weekend! I'm really excited to run against some great competition in both the 4x8 and 3200. Our 4x8 is pumped and ready to post a great time. My plan for the 3200 is just to stay relaxed and focused. Watching Saturday's races is also going to be fun and exciting because there are so many girls running strong right now. It's going to be a great State Meet."

Darby Mullen (#2 ranked AA 1600m and 3200m runner from Logan)
"I am so pumped for states! I have trained really hard, and I feel that I am physically and mentally prepared for my races. Cross country didn't go well for me this year, so I had to really get it together in order to come back. I had some iron problems, but I am back and ready to have some great runs. Not only am I excited to set some PR's, but I also can't wait to see everyone else run. There are some great runners this year, and I am amazed by all of the talent every time I watch the races. Good luck to everyone this weekend!"

Rachel Buser (AA state record holder in 1600m and 3200m from Berkley Springs)
"I am really pumped up for states this weekend!!! I think this state meet is going to be better than last year's as far as all my races go. I feel a lot healthier this year and I am running a lot better. I'm excited for our whole girls team because we have a shot at being up at the top with Winfield again. Our team will definitely be ready for next weekend; we have all trained hard."

Corey Hampshire (9:55 3200m runner from Jefferson)
"Going into the state meet this week, I would like to be relaxed and have easy practices. My goal for states would have to be break into the 9:40s or get All-State."

Dee Dee Winningham (Mid-distance star from Cabell Midland)
"The State Meet is extremely important. It's where you can show how hard you've worked all season. People from all over are going to be watching the results, so you want to do your best. I'm not really nervous, but more scared because I know what I need to do and if I don't pull through I'm just wasting time and letting the team down. Track is probably the only way I'll get to college, so I'm just scared of not being recognized and respected for how much I've worked for this. This season hasn't been as good as last year, so I know I need to work harder next year if I'm ever going to get college scholarships."

Eric Frohnapfel (#2 ranked AAA 3200m with a 9:46 from University)
"I think this state meet, in terms of guys AAA, has very good potential to be one of the more exciting state meets to watch since 2004 (for distance). While the times in the events may not be as fast, there is much more depth in terms of everyone running similar times. The 800 and 1600 are going to great races. Just looking at the best performances list off of RunWV; the top 7 runners are under 4:33 the fastest being Beabout (of course). But while Beabout has been the fastest thing to come from WV in the 3200 since Walsh and Lukowski in '02, I still wouldn't put Feather out of contention for a good race in the 1600. After seeing him turn it on at Regionals last Friday night, after running the 3200, 4x800, 1600, then to out kick 4 or more guys with 200 to go finishing in'yea...the boy has some wheels. I think Beabout will run away with the 3200 while Feather, Tennant, and myself battle it out for the all honorable 2nd place. As for myself I am just getting my body ready and trying to heal and relax as much as possible. Obviously my big race is going to be the 3200 and I am just trying to think how I want to run my race when I line up Friday night."

Stephanie Caruso (#1 runner in A with 5:16 1600m and 11:20 3200 from Wheeling Central)
"I am really excited for states! I can't believe how fast this season has went. I'm pretty nervous but still pumped. I'm most excited for the 3200. I am going to try to break the A record in that, but we will see. There is going to be some awesome competition this year at the state meet and I can't wait to watch everyone run."

David Bias (#1 ranked AAA 800m runner with 1:59 from Cabell Midland)
"The State Meet is the most important race in the season. My mind is set to do the very best I can in the 1600m, 4x800,4x400 and the 800m. My goal is to help lead my team to a first place finish. Coming into this meet I'm concentrating on doing every little detail right, work really hard, and get my mind set for this state meet. Hopefully the outcome will be a first place finish for my team."

Ben Miller (#1 ranked AA 800m runner with a 1:58 from Ravenswood)
"The week of the State Meet is my favorite time of they year. Nothing gets me more pumped up than watching my teammates, and other runners giving it their all and leaving it all on the track. Leading up to one of my races I am usually a combination of nervous, anxious, and pumped. I usually like to get a good warm-up in and envision in my head the way I think the race will play out. After this I usually put my spikes on and do a few striders. Before every race I also say a prayer; our relay teams will huddle up and say the lords prayer together.A race to me is one of the best things in all of sports. It's just you head to head with the rest of the field. You have no one else to blame if you don't perform well. This is why I think people get more nervous in running sports than in team sports."

Zach Tennant (4:31 1600m and 9:55 3200m runner from North Marion)
"Well, I think there is going to be some tough competition after distance really stepped it up this year. I know with the way my training and everything has went these past 6 months, that I am just as conditioned for this as anyone out there and hopefully I'll pull off some fast times. As a sophomore that really just got thrown onto the scene this year, I just hope to be with the pack in both the 3200m and 1600m. But if anything the 1600m has most of my focus."

Dustin Hall (#1 ranked A 3200m runner from St. Marys)
"My biggest concern is how my team will do. We haven't won a championship in a while and it would be nice to claim it my senior year. The 3200m and 1600m will both be great races, depending on how Levi Grandt is feeling. I'm pretty pumped that he's back and hopefully we will push each other to a pretty low time in the 3200m. The 1600m will be a great race. Chad Henson and I have raced all season and he seems to have a better kick than I do, but you never know what could happen at states."

Trey Beckett (4:35 1600m and 9:58 3200m runner from Cabell Midland)
"I'm really excited about the State Meet this year, being my first and all. I'm not used to running with the top guys in the state after my bad Cross Country season last year, but I'm pumped. I think a lot of good times will be produced and some strong performances too. Its been a while since so many guys have had such fast times, and all within a stride of each other. Good luck to everyone running this weekend and tear it up."

Brittney Powell (800m runner from Doddridge Co.)
"I am pumped and determined for the state track meet this Friday and Saturday. I don't think any team goes to the state track meet not wanting to win. We, the Doddridge County Lady Bulldogs, are not just a team, we are a family, and we are going to work together to achieve and accomplish our dreams. I am not worried at all about the outcome of the State Meet, as well as the 4x800. We are all determined and excited to run this weekend. No matter what the outcome, we will leave with our heads held high and legs tired."

Adam Woodruff (2:03 800m and 4:32 1600m runner from George Washington)
"I am not as nervous this year as I have been in the past. I'm really ready to run. We did our final workout today and I killed it, so I'm pretty confident heading into Friday and most of all Saturday. There are a lot of good runners in the mile this year, and its going to be a dog fight to the end. I feel like I could find myself up there with a chance for a top 3 finish at the end, but anything can happen. As for the 800, I am just ready to get out there and run it. The only person I have gotten to run against towards the end here, that has run a good time, is David Bias. I feel like I could go a lot faster than 2:03 in states because of all the competition. I know it is just a 4x800 split, but I went 2 flat at Gazette's, so I feel pretty good. Either way, how everything turns out, I should be satisfied with it because I feel like we have better runners overall this year than we've had as a majority in the past."

Levi Grandt (# 1 ranked A 1600m runner with 4:39 from Doddridge Co.)
"This time it's just mostly for my team because we have a chance to be the first Doddridge boys team to repeat as team champions. I'm just hoping to do the best I can and get in the top 3 in the two events I'm running. I'm pretty excited because its fun as always, but I'm also a little nervous because I don't know how well I'll even place.

I think I'll be a little more ready for the State Meet mostly because I know what to expect. I'm able to run a little bit now, so my fitness will come back to me quickly just by doing anything. Not the kind of shape I would have been in, but enough to place, because that's all I'm really looking for"

Kylee Boring (Mid-distance star from Doddridge Co.)
"Nerves? Excitement? Pumped? This state meet has it all for me. I have been to the state meet two times and this is the only time that I can say that I am really scared. I am scared at how well our team will do, but I am more afraid of how my injury will do. I have been battling a quad injury for over half of the season. It was really bad at the regional meet and I am just hoping that I can get through the pain to survive one more meet. The "Big One" as they say. As much as I hate to say that I am hurt, I won't let it bring me down. I will do everything in my power for the team. The state meet is very important to me and I want to do well for myself, but most of all for my team. I am excited because I know that our team could possibly win another state title (the one for the thumb). We are all going to have to give it everything we have. As a team, we will find the strength in each other to overcome any obstacles that we may face. I am proud to be a Lady Dog and I am ready to try and earn another victory. The competition is going to be close, but we have what it takes and We Want This Championship!"

Metcalfe wins Kip Keino Mile.
WVU National Champion Megan Metcalfe won the highly elite Kip Keino Mile this past weekend in NY. She ran 4:38 in very windy conditions while training partner Jenn Davis (also a former WVU runner) was close behind in 4:46. Be sure to check out the link where you'll find a recap, results and video of their great race.

Andrew Benford has successful outdoor.
I can't believe we let our Benford coverage slip through the cracks this outdoor. This guy has been running great all spring and hasn't been getting the press that he deserves. We did an interview with Benford during the indoor season when he was having some breakthrough races on the track. It's one of our goals to follow the progress of former WV high school runners as they take their running to a new level in out-of-state schools, but we kind of slacked off. So here's a quick recap:
- finished 3rd indoor at A10 Championships in the 3K with an 8:35
- followed that quick time up with an 8:28 outdoor at Duke
- ran 1:58 for the 800m at UNC
- lapped the field in his first ever 5K on the track with a 14:46 the Legacy Inivte
- Just last weekend he finished 1st in the 5K at the Georgia Tech Inv.

It looks like the Georgia Tech meet may be his last meet of the year unless he plans on running Jr. Nationals later this summer. Whatever the case Congrats to Benford on a phenomenal freshman year at Richmond.

Tyler and Ben help Tennessee win SEC.
University of Tennessee's mens team won the SEC Outdoor Championships this past weekend with the help of WV runners Tyler DeVault and Ben Lukowski, leaving Zach Sabatino quite jealous. Ben went 31:07 in the 10K and then came back the next day to compete in the 5K on dead legs to try and score some extra points for the team. Tyler got through qualifying rounds of the 1500m to finish 5th in the final race with a time of 3:47. Just like Ben he came back to run the 5k but the all out effort of his earlier races had obviously taken it's toll. Rumor has it that Tyler was given a new Cadillac Escalade for his role in the meet and Lukowski walked away with a restyled El Camino. They certainly do spoil you down there.

Wheeling Jesuit hosted one of it's annual home track meets and the WVU ladies went up to participate instead of taking their usual excursion to ECACs. The fields weren't very big but there were some pretty good times. The highlight of the meet was the women's 800m which saw WVU runners Raeleen Hunter and Keri Bland both going 2:11. Right on their hills was freshmen standout Marie-Louise Asselin in 2:14 and hometown favorite Karly Hamric at 2:15 who rounded out a solid field of WVU ladies in the race. The women's 1500m saw Wheeling Jesuit star and WVIAC Champion Erika Rucker take the win in the 1500m blasting a 4:46, just a few ticks off her own school record. She laid the hammer down on a slew of WVU runners participating in the race including Mandy McBean, Jamie Cockley and Nicole Dorinzi. They combined the men and women's 3K and Jay Dolmage didn't pass up this unique opportunity to crush some girl runners as he went 8:24 beating all the sissy girls by over a minute and a half. Rebecca Stallwood was the top female (and 2nd overall in the race behind Jay) in the race with a with a 10:00 just a second ahead of super shuffler Clara Grandt. Josh Simpson was noted with a DNF and rumors from the meet have him dropping out with 50 meters to go after he got passed by Clara Grandt when she unleashed her kick.

Bias buries competition.
Region 4AAA is the other top region in the state with schools like Cabell Midland, Parkersburg, Hurricane, and Huntington High bringing some top talent. Jennifer Cooperrider of Nitro is a veteran middle distance runner and her experience showed as she came away with the win in the 800m. running 2:21. The race was loaded up front with 4 girls making it out of the region and Cabell Midland star Danielle Winningham missing out by a mere .01 of a second. Hurricane freshman Josie Crouch is going to be one to watch out for this State Meet as she also ran a 57 in the 400m. She has the talent to be one of state's top stars over the next few years. Ellen Kist of Parkersburg won the 1600m while Midland runner Alicia Thomas made it out in the 1600m and 3200m by finishing 2nd in both races. Alex Dent or Hurricane (daughter of WV legend Bubby Dent who has held the state meet record in the 800m since 1984) brought home the victory in the 3200 and capped off a pretty good day for the Hurricane distance runners who look to make a big impact at the state meet.On the guys side it looked to be the David Bias show as he completely controlled the 800m by running 1:59, pulling Nitro's John Dorchinez and St. Albans freshman Andy Bailey along for the ride. Bailey's 2:01 is rolling for a freshmen and he looks to have the competitive spirit to make him a star in this state. He's definitely a talent to keep your eye on. In the 1600m it was more of the same as Bias once again took the top spot. Another St. Albans runner, Zach Messanger, came speeding in just behind the leader outdistancing himself from Trey Beckett of Cabell Midland who was 3rd. Bias was not seen in the 3200m leaving him open to run the 4x800 and 4x400 at the state meet, but surprise winner Brian Blanc of Parkersburg South was there to fill in his shoes by running 10:01. Trey Beckett snagged his spot without expelling too much effort while St. Albans runner Lance Wheeler snagged 3rd. Midland and St. Albans got their 4x800's out without much problem as well and they'll both look to be up front in the mix this weekend.

Woodruff barely makes it out of Region.
Region 3AAA saw George Washington star Adam Woodruff making it out in the 800m and 1600m. He may have struggled with the stiff competition, but he still managed to overcome against all odds to win his races. Also wanted to give props to David Caldwell of South Charleston who won the 3200m. and he's coached by former Marshall runner Jason Redman (state champion in the 800m - only because he dropped down to AA to dodge me at the state meet his senior year).Congrats to Chelsea Jarvis of Capital for qualifying in the 3200m and Hannah Henderson of Nicholas Co. for earning a spot in the 1600m. Both of these ladies were at the WVU Cross Country Camp last year and they've taken what they learned to propel themselves to be State qualifiers in their events. Ok, maybe we can't take credit for the hard work they've done, but we certainly taught them how to excel in things like Rock Climbing and Badminton which will surely come in handy some time in the future.

Boening shines for Jefferson.
Jefferson is way off in one of the panhandles and nobody in the state would even know that this high school even existed in WV if it wasn't for the State Meet where they finally decide to come down and run with the rest of the state. It's hard not to snub our collective noses at them but when they have stand out runners like Brooke Boening and Corey Hampshire it's our responsibility to give them our full attention so we'll cover a little bit of the Region 2AA meet. Brooke has been dominating most of the year and continued to do so in her region where she easily won the 1600m and 3200m and was a member of the winning 4x800 team. She'll be going up against the most ridiculous field of women's distance runners in the history of the state, but she has the credentials to be one of the top performers.Mussleman High school (home of former State Champion and my old roommate Kenny Campbell - which is all I really know about it) has some up and coming stars in Devon Davis who won the 800m. in 2:03 (he's run 2:02 this year) and Louie Talbott who was 2nd in the 1600m with a 4:42. It's good to see them taking the first step in putting Mussleman on the distance running map (because I can't find them on a regular map). Alex Zurbach of Elkins was the top dog in the 3200m running under 10 min. while All-State Cross runner Corey Hampshire was 2nd. John Binotto of Hampshire stole the spotlight in the 1600m as he won with a time of 4:41 and earning the top qualifying spot to the state meet.

The best region in the state.
Region 1AAA is by far the most stacked region in the state for both girls and guys. Pretty much all the qualifiers who got in on fast times came from this region. Not only do you have powerhouses like Preston, Morgantown and University but you also have Wheeling Park bringing their top runners down as well. All in all it made for a great regional meet.Both Kaylyn Christopher and Amber Riley were absent in the 3200m. leaving the race wide open for the rest of the Preston crew. Jordan Hamric of Preston took the win with University runner Hallie Portner close behind. Ashley Teets and Ari Kasprowicz of Preston came in just after Portner and it looks like Preston will be scoring some big points in the 3200m, even without Kaylyn running it. The 1600m was the most stacked event with 7 people going under 5:20. It's hard to think that the top 7 at the state meet won't all be from this region save for maybe Brooke Boening of Jefferson. The 800m. was much of the same as 7 girls were 2:26 or better. Many of the main runners got in but there were a few surprises like freshman North Marion runner Cassy Menas who snuck in in the 800m.

The guy's races saw standout Wheeling Park stud Ryan Beabout controlling the 3200m and 1600m. He led way with a 9:47 finishing just ahead of University's Eric Frohnapfel, Preston's Josh Feather and North Marion standout Zach Tennant who all ran under 10 min. The 1600m was the most stacked event as some fresh-legged runners looked to take advantage of those who just finished the 3200m. Eric Frohnapfel was a victim of this as he slipped out of contention as the pack ran away (he did manage to qualify on time though). Ryan Beabout led the charge with a 4:34, while surprise finisher Craig Pritt came in just ahead of teammate Josh Feathers. Zach Tennant once again took the 4th spot while University's Chris Cole hustled in at 5th. By the time the 800 rolled around it seems most runners were too tired to make an impact. Not so for Josh Feathers as he pulled in Zach Serian of North Marion who was running a gutsy race up front. Feathers managed to get away from University's Mack Triplett and Ryan Beabout over the last 200m winning the race in 2:03.

Trying to keep up with the Jones.
Stewart Jones of Weir (recent Athlete of the Week) showed that he's ready to Rock and Roll this weekend at the state meet after getting through the Region 1A. He went unchallenged in the 1600m and 3200m, easily winning the races and qualifying for the state meet. Ben Wise and Kurt Gray of Ravenswood gave a good effort to knock Jones off his top spot in the 1600m but they both came up just short. Ben Miller of Ravenswood was up to the task though as took the victory and spotlight from Jones in the 800m. But that was to be expected because Miller has the fastest time in the state this year in that event.

Skyler is the Real McCoy.
Even with rumors of an injury (after being spotted with an ankle brace) Skyler still came through at the Region 3AA meet in order to qualify in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m. Having a weak region that you can cruise through doesn't hurt either. When he's running in top form Sklyer is nearly unbeatable. He's been turning heads ever since last year's state meet when he knocked off some awesome times. Here's hoping that he's 100% healthy and ready to battle it out with the big dogs this weekend. It would certainly make things more interesting to see him in the mix

Roach toasts competition.
Leonard Roach of Berkley Springs easily tore through the competition in order to qualify for the state meet in the 800m, 1600m and 3200m. at the Region 2AA meet. He's going to be one of the heavy favorites in the 3200m and 1600m this weekend as he has pushed Zac Noel to the line a few times this year. 800m runner Josh Gray of Liberty shows why he's one of the best runners in the state with his 1:58 800m which blew everyone away by over 6 seconds. But like Roach, Josh is going to have his hands full this weekend as he'll be going head to head with favorite Ben Miller of Ravenswood. There will be some good battles in AA.Rachel Buser, who's name is synonymous with greatness on the track, made it through in all her events as well. She'll be chasing after her own state meet records that she set in '05.

The Zac Noel show.
Another runner who benefited from a weak Region 4AA was Zach Noel of Winfield who got a chance to rest his legs while most other runners were fighting for their lives to earn a qualifying spot. I guess being one of the best runners in the state has its perks. Zach took it easy in all his races and still managed to finish first easily making his way to the state meet in all his events.

Henson and Hall battle it out.
Region 4A had the best runners in A going head to head against each other. On the men's side this meet looks to be a prelude of what we'll see at the State Meet (with a little Levi thrown into the mix). St. Mary's Dustin Hall was able to get through the 3200 without much problem, but he met his match in the 1600m when he went up against Tim Henson of Williamstown. Henson (who has been running well all year) had complete control of the race and won by 7 seconds. Hensons happiness didn't last very long though because he had to go up against Charleston Catholic's Robbie Sherrard ,one of the top ranked 800m in the state. Robbie had a huge race knocking off his fist ever sub 2:00min 800 and putting him as the top dog in single A.

Region 3A.
Here are the results from Region 3A which I have no comment on. I'm just hoping they were all resting themselves so they'll have a break out at the State Meet.

Levi granted permission to run.
It looks like Levi Grandt of Doddridge Co. got the go-ahead to run at the Region 2A meet this week after being sidelined due to a stress fracture most of the season. Levi won the 3200 and came back to finish 4th in the 1600m but still managed to qualify based on his time. It's certainly good to see him running well but will he have enough to compete against standouts Dustin Hall and Tim Henson?On the women's side....Doddridge Co. That pretty much sums it up.

Caruso cruises through Region.
Heavy single A favorite Stephanie Caruso of Wheeling Central managed to get through her Region 1A without really breaking much of a sweat. She easily won the 3200m and 1600m and finished just behind teammate Lauren Bauer in the 800m. She also ran on Wheeling Centrals 4x800 which looks to make an attack on topped ranked Doddridge Co. at the state meet.On the men's side Wheeling Central once again dominated all the distance races. Cameron Koehler and Jordan Palmer went 1-2 in the 800 while teammate Ryan Herron won the 1600m quite easily. Robert Bonenbereger and Sean Droginske, also of Wheeling Central went 1-2 in the 3200.

Let's get this thing rolling again.
Sorry about the lack of updates this past week. I just got back from NY and didn't have access to a computer to make changes on the webpage. I know we've been lacking on interviews the last few weeks and that is mainly due to me moving places and then going to NY and Josh being really busy with finals at WVU. Now that school is out there will be plenty of time to put up some interviews. I know track is ending but we can still talk to some people over the summer and see what they're doing to get ready for Cross Country in the fall. We can also catch up with some other runners who are finishing up high school and entering into college and find out how they're dealing with the transition. I'm still going to do the prediction contest as well and people can start submitting on Sunday after all the Regionals are over. I'll have more on that hopefully later tonight or tomorrow. - But it will consist of Distance races only (4x800 - 800 - 1600 - 3200) and you'll be picking the top 3 for each race. I'll update the page later with all the rules, scoring info, and prizes.

St. Albans stepping it up.
The St. Albans distance runners have been having a huge breakthrough over the past few weeks, and look to turn some heads at the state meet. Coached by Jason Henley (who has a knack for turning his runners into champions) this small group of guys have slowly been cranking things up this season. Taking their cue from senior Zach Messenger (who stepped it up earlier this year when he ran 4:35 for the 1600m) teammates Andy Bailey and Lance Wheeler have started to cut their way through the competition at big meets. Lance Wheeler won the 3200m over Trey Beckett at the Conference meet, while freshman Andy Bailey won the 800m at Gazettes. When you combine their talents they form the backbone of one of the strongest 4x800's in the state. If all of these guys continue the roll that they are on then they'll definitely be a threat at the state meet.

Big Action at Little Kanahwa.
The Little Kanahwa Conference was packed with some exciting action. Any time you throw the Ravenswood squad into the mix you're sure to come out with some solid distance races. Doddridge star Levi Grandt (considered by some to be the top male distance runner in the state) was once again absent from competition. Levi's no-show left the distance races wide open and Chad Henson, Ben Miller and Dustin Hall wasted no time on capitalizing on this opportunity. Ravenswood's Ben Miller has become nearly impossible to beat in the mid-distance arena and once again proved why he has earned this reputation by dominating the 400m (50) and 800m (2:00). Miller managed to take down Chad Henson of Williamstown who came across the line in 2:03. Although Chad may have been a little tired from winning the 1600m earlier that day in 4:40. It looks like he had to use a lot of energy to get away from Ravenswood's Ben Wise (4:41) and St. Mary's Dustin Hall (4:41) who pushed him all the way to the line in that race. Wise and Hall got a second chance to battle it out after the 1600m as they both toed the line in the 3200m. The more experienced Hall pulled away for the win (10:03) while Wise came across the line 10 seconds later.

On the women's side the always strong Doddridge crew seemed to be in the mix in every distance race. Jennifer McFarland of St. Mary's and Roane's Jessica Roberts tried their best to break up the pack of Dawgs. Roberts won the 3200 with a 12:09 finishing just ahead of Brandi Bowen who ran 12:13. The same duo battled it out in the 1600m as well but this time Jessica McFarland was in the mix. Bowen ended up with the win this time in a time of 5:34 outsprinting Roberts (5:37) and McFarland (5:43). McFarland came back with a vengeance in the 800 as she took down both Bowen and Roberts by running a 2:32. It's kind of weird to see the same girls race against each other in three different races only to have a different winner each time. I guess they each have their specialty event. Also of note were Ritchie runners Rachel Cokely and Ali Carpenter who had a great Conference meet and came away with some pretty good times.

OVAC Conference Championship.
Ok first let me get this off my chest. It's not called the OVAC Conference Championship. The O.V.A.C. stands for Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and it just doesn't make sense when people call it the 'Ohio Valley Athletic Conference' Conference Championships. It's way too repetitive. It's like saying the same thing twice. It's just way too repetitive. Ok, I feel better now...haha.OVAC's has finished up with the A results and AA results which took place on Wed. and Fri. Unlike most other Conference's in the state the OVAC is not a WV only meet. If you see some names and schools that you don't recognize then they're probably from Ohio. The absolute star of the meet from WV was Stephanie Caruso of Wheeling Central. She's been running like a crazy possessed woman all year. If you haven't been paying attention (and no one really pays attention to panhandle teams - they don't really count as being from WV) then you may have missed her 11:20 solo run in the 3200. earlier this season. She topped that off with a 5:19 a few weeks later showing that she's one of the top stars in the state. During the conference meet she managed an 11:36 3200 and came back with a big PR in the mile running 5:16. Stephanie always seems to end up in no man's land when she's racing. If she had some people at her level to compete against then there's no telling what she could do.AAA hasn't quite finished yet.

They run a Thurs. and Sat. session so results from that won't be up until later but we have been updated on the success of WV's rising star (and recent Athlete of the Week) Ryan Beabout. Reports have him going out in 4:34 in the 3200 and hanging on to win with a sensational time of 9:18. He's leading the charge with bringing WV up to the level it needs to be at, and you can see other people in the state beginning to respond. Weir High's Stewart Jones has had to raise his game in order to compete against Beabout and in the process ran a 9:38 Thurs. night. Stewart took almost 15 sec. off his best time in the 3200 making him the top ranked stud in the AA. We'll bring more updates when we find out what happened in today's races.

Simply the Greatest Music Video ever.
I'm going to keep dragging this video out because...well...I think it's the greatest thing ever. Plus I wanted to do a little experimenting and see if this works on the webpage. Check it out.

Penn Relays Extravaganza!
Penn Relays is where the action was at as many talented runners from WV went to compete in the open races. Things started out on a good note as high school superstars Amber Riley and Kaylyn Christopher blazed to fast times in their races. Amber finished a stellar 6th in the High School Mile, with a time of 5:01 throwing down a huge kick on the last lap. Kaylyn Christopher faired well in the High School 3K as she ran a very impressive 9:53 for 4th place. Both races had a lot of runners which led to some congestion and bumping. Kaylyn and Amber were both at a disadvantage in their races because neither one of them are used to running in packs. They usually just blow everyone away from the front. Not long after the high school girls raced the college women took to the track and Keri Bland of WVU got things off on the right foot in the College 3K. She controlled her race up front and ended up running away from a highly elite field with a blazing 31 sec last 200 to finish 1st place in 9:34. Winning a race at the Penn Relays is a huge honor and she got to take home the highly coveted Penn Relay's watch for her effort (only to find out it doesn't work). Clara Grandt of WVU continued the success in the College 5K by once again running a huge PR with a 16:31(officially running faster than I did in high school). Marian Brooks of Marshall University represented the Herd well as she finished with a time of 17:31 in the same race. A few days later former WVU track runner Jenn Davis competed in the Elite Women's Mile in front of a crowd of over 30,000 spectators. She gave the fans something to cheer for as she fought her way to a 4:42 mile.Although the ladies are stealing all the headlines, they weren't the only ones in action in Philly. WV Track Club runners Josh Simpson and Jay Dolmage paired up to run the Olympic Development 5K. Josh ran 14:20 which was good for 6th place behind a bunch of Kenyans, while Jay hammered out a 14:40. Former St. Albans stud Ben Lukowski was in the College 5K and ran right near his all time best with a 14:34. Also of note was former WV Wesleyan runner Pat Reagan who continues his success at Slippery Rock with a very impressive run in the 5K with a time of 14:28.

Fast times at the Gazette Relays.
The Gazette Relays (A results - AA results - AAA results) has long been considered the Pre-State Meet with it's two day schedule and high level of competition. If this meet was any indication then we're in for a good show when the state meet rolls around. The Preston girls kicked off the meet by running the fastest 4 x 800 in the history of the state with an unbelievable 9:32!!! Of course they had help from Kaylyn Christopher who hurried back from the Penn Relay to compete with her teammates. Kaylyn teamed up with Jordan Hamric, Ashley Teets, and Ari Kasprowicz to defeat a very strong Morgantown contingent who came away in 2nd place with a 9:48. In the Men's 4 x 800 Cabell Midland ran away with it as David Bias got them off to a good lead with his 1:59 lead off leg. St. Albans and George Washington gave chase but didn't have enough time to cut down on the Midland lead. Midland finished off 1st with an 8:21 while St. Albans was 2nd in 8:30 and G.W. in 3rd at 8:31. In the AA Boys race the always strong Ravenswood boys teams didn't have any trouble getting away from rest of the field as they cruised to an 8:20 which was the fastest time of the day. Of course when you have Ben Miller anchoring your relay, what can you expect.

The 3200 was definitely set up as the premiere event on Friday. A lot of big showdowns took place resulting in some fast times and surprising performances. In the girls AA race it was veteran Rachel Buser looking like her old self again as she opened up a huge gap on Logan's Darby Mullen mid-race to finish off in an eye-popping 11:17. Darby trailed at 11:32 with the next closest runner over a minute back. In the girls AAA 3200 it was Jordan Hamric and Ashley Teets leading the way with Hallie Portner stuck to them like glue. Jordan wasted no time getting things going and once she made her move the others had no response. She ran away with the race and a huge PR of 11:13 (which is one of the fastest times in the 2000's). Teammate Ashley Teets held on strong to run 11:21 while University's Portner was just behind her in 11:26. In all 8 athlete broke the 12 min barrier. Usually in the past the 12 min mark is a big goal for female runners but with the times being run now 11:30 looks to be the new standard at which excellence is set.

In the guy's AA race Zac Noel once again put on a good show. But this time he had to dig deep on the last lap because Leonard Roach of Berkley Springs was not giving him an inch. If there's one thing everyone knows about Noel it's that he's one tough nut, and he once again proved that by throwing down a vicious kick over the last 200 m. to give him the win in 9:48. Roach was just a tick back in 9:49. In the AAA boys race it was Midland's David Bias and Trey Beckett going up against Preston's Josh Feather and University's Eric Frohnapfel. It looked to be a close race until just after the mile mark when Feathers and Frohnapfel started pushing the pace and got away from the Midland duo. The two battled it out over the next few laps with Frohnapfel getting a step on Feathers. Feathers responded with a solid kick but it just wasn't enough to take down Frohnapfel who took the win with a 9:46.

The next day was just as action packed as the first and saw many of the same people going against each other in the 1600m. Darby Mullen exacted her revenge on heavy favorite Rachel Buser in the AA girls 1600m race. Buser didn't stand a chance as Darby ran away from everyone to win in a time of 5:22. Buser crossed the line in 2nd with a 5:28. In the AAA girls 1600m Jordan Hamric, who definitely had one of the best weekends ever, crushed everyone by running a stunning 5:12. She ran away from teammate Ari Kasprowicz who ran 5:17, a time that would've won most state championships in the past (a sign of how the girls are taking running to a new level).

The AA boy race once again saw Noel and Roach going head to head and once again the outcome was the same. When it comes down to a kick Zac always seems to pull something out to get the win. They both ran impressive with Noel winning in 4:35 just a half second ahead of Roach in 2nd. In the Boys AAA race saw Josh Feathers in familiar territory at the front of the pack in a race that he was state champion in just a year ago. University's Chris Cole (who has been coming on strong all year) made a good effort to topple the former champion but came up just short. Cole did manage to inch out teammate Eric Frohnapfel who finished up 3rd. Trey Beckett of Cabell Midland came away with a nice PR (4:38) which was good enough to get him 4th.

The final distance race of the meet was the 800 and it was an event not to be missed. Especially the AAA girls where Kaylyn Christopher and Amber Riley squared off against each other (which is always a good show). Both girls were worn out from traveling back and forth from Penn Relays to Charleston, but they certainly didn't disappoint. Kaylyn ended up powering away with the win and ran a huge PR of 2:14 (which is the 2nd best time ever by a female). Amber used her sub 60 sec. 400m speed to keep close on her heels and ended up coming away with a new PR of 2:16. These two have been pushing each other to unbelievable times over the past few years and it's only going to get better over the next few weeks as we approach States.

Ben Miller was the top performer from the state in the AA Boys race as he ran 2:00 to take down Josh Gray of Liberty who has been running impressive all year. In the AAA Boys race unknown Andy Bailey from St. Albans took a few scalps as he outgunned some big names to win in 2:03.

The Ryan Beabout beat down.
Ryan Beabout is the talk of the state after his great race at the Mars Invitational this past weekend. He popped off a 9:25 3200m hammering from the front all alone. He went out in 4:38 and if he would've had some competition it's very likely that he could've dipped under 9:20. He also came back to help his teammates run the fastest 4 x 800 in the state with his 2:00 min opening leg. Backed up by teammates Travis Beihl, Jason Bennett, and Adam Carter they managed to run an 8:15 which puts them 6 seconds ahead of #2 Cabell Midland.

WVIAC Conference Showdown.
The runners in the WVIAC finished off their season at the Conference Meet in Wheeling this past weekend. On the women's side WV Wesleyan's Amanda Griffith ran just about every race and won them all. Of course this should come to no surprise to those that have been keeping track. Amanda has had a phenomenal senior year and has yet to meet her match against other runners in the conference. She won the 10K the first night in 39 min over 20 seconds ahead of 2nd place Amanda Maxwell from AB. The next day she ran won the open 5K with an 18:59 and then came back to win the 3K in 10:45. Rachel Ciplolat made an emotional return to the Steeplechase where she mustered up enough energy to win in 12:22. She won the race as a freshmen and has battled more than 6 stress fractures in the years in between her two wins. Being able to battle through so much frustration is quite an inspiration and it was good to see her get this final victory of her college career. Ericka Rucker of Wheeling Jesuit pulled the upset of the meet with her win over heavy favorite Nicole Teeter in the 1500m. Ericka blazed to a 4:46, outdistancing herself from the rest of the field by over 7 seconds. Rucker met her match in the 800 though as Charleston's Erin Dilley broke her own Conference record with smokin 2:17. Rucker was just behind in 2:18 to finish off a very impressive meet.Concord's Scott Grose left his stamp on the conference meet by winning 3 events. He was the lead man in a Concord quartet that swept the top four spots in the Steeplechase. He came back the next day to outkick everyone in the 5K (15:57) and 1500m. (4:04) leaving all competitors in his wake. Woody Snoberger managed to shake off his competition in the 10K to come out with the win running 33:20. Teammates Rico Greenhowe and Ryan Johnson battled it out to the line with near identical times of 1:58. They gave Rico the nod however but everyone knows it's only because he was from Capital. The 800 was a pretty close race though with the top 5 guys within a second of each other.