Track and field enters regional phase

PARKERSBURG -Following an obliteration of the field at last week’s Little Kanawha Conference Track Meet in Ellenboro, the Williamstown girls track team still has unfinished business before it seeks to secure a possible third straight Class A state title.

The Yellowjackets join nine other schools at tonight’s Region IV Meet at Erickson All-Sports Facility. Field events begin at 5 p.m. with running events scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Not only did Williamstown lap the field in the LKC team standings, but the Yellowjackets also wrapped up half of the 14 all-league selections with Andrea Chidester leading the charge after finishing in a tie for second place in the individual high-point standings. Also earning All-LKC honors for Williamstown were Cami Mossor, Carly Ellison, Brooklyn Hammer, Madelin Gardner, Lincoln Postlewaite and Jessie Kerns.

“I thought we were going to win the LKC, but I didn’t think it would be like that,” Williamstown girls coach Zach Hall said after his squad piled up 186 points compared to 90 for runner-up Doddridge County. “We’re peaking at the right time.”

Competing in the 400 for the first time this season, Chidester turned in the state’s best time in Class A at 59.84 during the conference meet.

“Andrea only runs that event at big meets such as conference, regional and state,” Hall said. “This year, she has had hamstring problems and now she is having shin splints.”

An injury also has hampered Gardner, who runs with a broken bone in her foot.

“Madelin doesn’t care – she runs anyway,” Hall said.

Gardner will make her impact in the hurdle events. Another member who has made a strong impression for the Yellowjackets is Mossor. The junior needs to shave just six seconds in order to break the school record in the mile.

Doddridge County figures to create plenty of noise on the girls side. Especially when you have a D’Andra Swiger in your hip pocket. The senior won three titles and finished second in a fourth event to claim high-point honors at LKC. The plan remains the same this week as far as competing in the long jump, high jump, 200 and 300 hurdles.

“D’Andra has a lot of ability,” Doddridge County coach Craig Kellar said. “She could do anything from a 100 to a 5K. I think we have her in the events where she is happy.”

Teammate Sarah Ferguson is another force after taking first in 100 hurdles, second in the 300 hurdles and long jump, and third in the 100 at LKC.

“We just want to get our kids to Charleston,” Kellar said. “That’s the main thing, along with getting them in the right heats.

“Williamstown has way more depth. They have quantity and quality. We’re not very deep, but our other kids are coming along and chipping in here and there.”

After being switched to a new region in the offseason, Doddridge County has competed in three different regions in a span of six years.

“We’re kind of a team without a region,” Kellar said.

While Williamstown is heavily favored to wrap up the girls regional title, the chase for a championship on the boys side is much more involved. The field includes the top four teams according to – Doddridge County, Williamstown, Buffalo and Charleston Catholic.

“This region is loaded,” Doddridge County boys coach Bobby Burnside. “There are a lot of good athletes and relays across the state, but we are in a region which is very strong.”

The Bulldogs are coming off a runner-up finish at the LKC Meet. Providing the leverage for the Bulldogs’ strong showing was Dillon Muhly-Alexander, who placed third in the individual high-point standings at conference. The senior has tied the school record in the high jump at 6-6 and is about an inch shy of setting the LKC record in the long jump.

All-LKC members Caleb Moore and Isaac Britton provide depth for the Bulldogs.

“We’re banged up a little bit,” Burnside said. “We have a few relay kids injured that we need to get healthy.”

Class A, Region I

WESTON -The farewell tour continues for St. Marys distance runner Maggie Drazba, who has dominated the state in Class A.

Magnolia possesses a solid distance runner as well in Christa Harshberger, but Drazba competes at another level and will showcase her ability today at Lewis County High School.

Also on the girls side, Tyler Consolidated should cause damage in the relays, while Silver Knights’ Haylea LeMasters is a force in the pole vault and long jump.

St. Marys looks to pick up valuable points with Laura Taylor in the throws.

In the boys division, three potential races to watch are the 100, 200 and 400 with Tyler Consolidated’s Alex Doak and Magnolia’s Stephen Rogalski. Doak won high-point honors at LKC.

The Silver Knight’s also have a threat with Hunter LeMasters, especially in the pole vault where he won a state title last year in Class AA.

St. Marys’ Dylan Fetty and Jordan Whitehair also figure to challenge for several state berths.