Making a run at states

A trio of veteran runners has guided a young Elkins High School boys’ cross country team this season.

Now the squad will look to advance to the next level at Thursday’s Class AAA, Region II meet at Hampshire High School in Romney.

Other schools competing include Buckhannon-Upshur, Lewis County, Hampshire, Hedgesville, Jefferson, Martinsburg, Musselman, Spring Mills and Washington.

Four of those teams – Jefferson, Elkins, Hampshire and Musselman – are rated in the top 10 in the power rankings.

If all 10 teams field complete squads, four will qualify for state competition. If not, only three will receive bids.

Seniors Austin Hamrick and Remington Knight, along with junior Matt Wallace, give Elkins three runners with state-level experience. Hamrick, rated fourth in the state, has qualified for the past three state meets.

Hamrick and Wallace are among the favorites for the individual title, along with Jefferson’s Andrew Milliron and Jackson Jacobs, and Musselman’s Shane Rigsby.

A talented group of freshmen runners will look to help the Tigers return to states after they missed the cut for the first time in four years in 2012.

Dalton Hamrick, the younger brother of Austin, Ben Huffman, Brendan Wallace and Will Gongola have improved each race after gaining valuable experience at the varsity level.

The EHS girls, meanwhile, will be looking to return to states for the first time since 2007.

Leading the Tigers will be junior Hannah Gongola, who just missed qualifying for states last year as an individual.

Monica Rossi, Kathlyne Simmons, Sophie Hummer, Jaycee Saseen, Katy Ross and Emily Chewning round out the unit.

Jefferson, Hampshire and B-U are among the favorites. The Bucs finished second to Philip Barbour in the Big 10 Conference Championship meet.

The favorites for the individual title are Jefferson’s Abby Colbert and Hampshire’s Morgan Roach.

Only three girls’ teams are expected to advance to state competition, while the top 10 individuals in each race also qualify.

The meet will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday with the girls’ race, followed by the boys at 4:45 p.m.

The state meet will be held Nov. 2 at Cabell Midland High School.