The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 26, 2012

Local teams get ready for Class AA-A championship

By Steve Keenan
For The Register-Herald

— Led by Region 3 girls champion PikeView, several local teams have qualified for the Class AA-A state cross country championship meet Saturday at Ona.

In Class AA-A, Richwood coach Rocco Milanese says of senior Breanna Mazzella, who captured the Region 3 girls individual title last week with a 22-minute clocking at Gardner: “She worked a lot harder over the summer. She’s running more relaxed and she’s got a lot more confidence.”

“Last year she had a disastrous state meet, probably her worst race in two years,” Milanese continued. “We don’t know what happened. I think that’s fueled her efforts this year. She’s a different runner.”

Seventeenth in the most recent individual runner rankings, Milanese feels Mazzella has an outside chance to crack the Top 10 Saturday, which would earn her all-state designation. “She has the tools and the potential to be in the Top 10.”

Richwood (35 points) was runner-up to Pike View (26) in the Region 3 girls team race. After Mazzella and Sherman’s Amelia Sebok (23:02), the Panthers had four of the next seven finishers: Katelyn Odle (3rd, 23:24), Sophie Klein (4th, 23:44), Kaylin Kessenger (7th, 25:49) and Kayla Blake (9th, 27:07). Rounding out the PikeView scorers was Raelynn Smith (15th, 30:28).

Richwood’s other scorers were Millie Sark (6th, 25:33), Ruby Rogers (10th, 27:44), Ashley Burgess (16th, 31:05) and Brandi Lough (17th, 31:54).

Liberty’s Katie Cantley (8th, 25:50) advanced as an individual qualifier.

PikeView sophomore Jason Weitzel enjoyed a dominating race to claim the Region 3 boys crown Thursday. Weitzel, sixth in the rankings, covered his 3.1-mile home course last week in 17:32, nearly two minutes ahead of runner-up Thomas Bowles of Sherman (19:14). Weitzel, the lone PikeView qualifier in 2012, was 13th in the 2011 state event.

Richwood will be represented in the boys race by John Bard, who placed fourth (19:22) in the Region 3 meet. Wyoming East had two individual qualifiers: Joseph Cornett (6th, 19:27) and Michael Hayworth (8th, 19:38).

Sherman claimed the team title with 43 points, while Westside (45) and Liberty Raleigh (84) also qualified full teams.

For Westside, scorers were: Cameron Davis (5th, 19:25), Austin Gibson (7th, 19:35), Nathaniel Evans (12th, 20:39), Brandon Cochran (14th, 20:54) and Jacob Cline (17th, 21:02).

For Liberty, scorers were: Tanner Cantley (9th, 19:52), Austin Lyons (10th, 19:54), Devin Acord (23rd, 21:40), Ryan Delaney (26th, 21:53) and Chris Kincaid (27th, 22:05).

Out of Region 4, the host Nicholas County girls scored 65 points to placed third and move on in the team chase. The Grizzlies were led by Aidan Payton (5th, 23:37.05), followed by Sophie Kiser (8th, 24:03.64), Kinly Coleman (12th, 24:30.95), Erica Logar (13th, 24:41.89) and Dina Coccari (44th, 32:26.8).

The AA-A boys race at 10 a.m. begins Saturday’s state event.

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