The Dominion Post  

Hawks, Mohigans in big XC meets this weekend

Created on:   Thu, Sep 28, 2017   8:46 PM

Last modified:   Thu, Sep 28, 2017   8:46 PM

For The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — It’s been a little over a month since cross-country season started for both Morgantown and University High, and, seemingly in the blink of an eye, the postseason is almost here.

With conference championships on the schedule for the next week-and-a-half, both the Mohigans and Hawks have big meets planned this weekend in Pennsylvania — MHS at Lehigh University, UHS in Carlisle. Both trips will serve as great litmus tests for each team ahead of the start of the postseason.

“It’s the level of competition” at Carlisle, UHS head coach Ed Frohnapfel said. “The depth of the competition has always been awesome. It encourages our kids to run that much harder. I always get a pretty good judge of where they are. That’s why I like to go back to Carlisle.”

“This is where the plot is thickening,” MHS head coach Mike Ryan said. “It’s starting to get exciting. This is what I look forward to, this run over the next few weeks.”

Both teams have had their fair share of success this year. The Mohigans’ varsity runners performed well in limited competition, running in meets in Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio.

The boys’ team finished second, the girls’ side third, out of over 30 schools in the Red, White and Blue Classic, Sept. 9, in the Steel City.

“We’re pretty excited to get the varsity back on the course this weekend at Lehigh,” Ryan said. “It’s a big course. There’s going to be a good chance for exposure.

“We’re going to run up against four of the top eight teams in Pennsylvania on the guys’ side. We get some big out-of-state competition, and on a fast course. We’re looking for some fast times.”

The Hawks have dominated their competition this year, claiming team titles left and right. The girls’ team has gone undefeated so far this fall, a streak that will certainly be challenged this weekend.

“There are girls up there that are national qualifiers,” Frohnapfel said. “We’ll be running against them and against teams that are ranked in bigger states, like Pennsylvania. That’s always good incentive to get them to run harder. Hopefully, we can get them on a positive mental note before we head into the [Ohio Valley Athletic Conference meet) and the state meet.”

In the end, apart from experience, exposure and building confidence, the main focus this weekend for both Ryan and Frohnapfel will be the clock.

Each coach sees the course his teams will run as comparable to ones coming up in the final stretch of the year, especially the state meet, in Ona, at Cabell-Midland High.

“Lehigh’s course is fast,” Ryan said. “We’re going to have a couple fast races, and then we’re going into some really tough courses for [the Two Rivers Athletic Conference] and regionals. It should prepare us pretty nicely to run the course down in Ona.”

“Carlisle isn’t nearly as fast as OVACs,” Frohnapfel said. “It’s not exactly the same as Cabell-Midland as far as the course itself, but, time-wise, it’s similar.”

Morgantown will compete at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sept. 29, while University’s meet at Carlisle will take place Sept. 30.