Area cross country teams to begin seasons today

ELKINS – The Elkins High School cross country teams will begin the season today at the St, Marys Autumn Classic.

The EHS boys will be looking for a return trip to the Class AAA state meet to be held at Cabell Midland High School in November.

Senior captain Matt Wallace will pilot the Tigers. He finished 12th at last year’s state meet, and heads into the season ranked fourth individually in Class AAA.

A strong group of runners will join Wallace. They include senior Daniel Crawford, juniors Walter King and Dominic Cunningham, sophomores Dalton Hamrick, Ben Huffman, Brendan Wallace, Will Gongola, Devan Ricottilli, Jacob Earle and Andy Helmick.

Freshmen include Mason Clark, Joseph Schmidlen, Hayden Long and Jacob Lewis.

Hamrick was a first team All-Big Conference performer last season for the Tigers.

The?EHS girls are led by a veteran group of seniors, which includes Hannah Gongola, Kathlyne Simmons, Monica Rossi, Jaycee Saseen and Taylor Currence. Juniors include Skylee Watson, Elizabeth Burgess and Nora Gorasabel, while the sophomore class consists of Megan Broschart, Sophie Hummer, Emily Chewning, Olivia Underwood and Cambrie Currence. Freshmen Taylor Maynard and Leanna High compete the roster.

The Lady Tigers’ last state meet appearance came in 2007.

Shellie Burda and Matt Lewis are serving as coaches.

A highlight on the EHS schedule will be the annual Mountain State Forest Festival Invitational, which will take place Sept. 13 at Davis &?Elkins College.

BUCKHANNON-UPSHUR

Seniors Joseph Smith and William Williams will lead the Buckhannon-Upshur boys this season, while juniors Laura Dean and Hallie Williams, along with senior Gillian Ross will anchor the Lady Bucs.

B-U will travel to the Knight Night Relays at 8 p.m. today at Preston High School. The West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcat Inviational is slated for Aug. 30.

PHILIP?BARBOUR

The Philip Barbour girls will be gunning for a fifth straight Class AA-A state championship this fall.

The Lady Colts made history in 2013, becoming the first girls team to win four consecutive state titles.

Senior Haley Truman, junior Marley Dib and sophomores Brianna Williams and Cara Kirk all participated on that record-breaking squad.

The PB boys also have high hopes this season after finishing runner-up at last year’s state meet to a powerful Bridgeport squad. Expected returnees from that squad are seniors Trevor Matko and Tyler Baldwin and junior Bryce McGee.

The Colts, under the direction of Melissa Kaiser, will compete in today’s Knight Night Relays.

TUCKER?COUNTY

Junior Marcus Mason will lead a young group of Tucker County runners this season as the roster includes just one senior – Devon Anderson.

The Lady Mountain Lions, however, return senior Madison Mullenax and juniors Taylor Ambrose, Madison Reall and Kaylee Nedrow.

The Tucker County boys will take part in today’s Knight Night Relays, while the girls will begin the season next Saturday at the Cabell Midland Invitational.

John Eye and Melissa Mullenax will serve as coaches for the Mountain Lions.