WELLSBURG – According to University coach Ed Frohnapfel, freshman Josh Edwards is “kind of a big deal.”
He certainly showed why that’s the case Thursday evening, as he paced the field at the WVSSAC Class AAA Region 1 Cross Country Championships at Brooke High School. Edwards took first-place finish with a time of 15:42.
“He broke 16:00 – I think he’s one of only three in the state to break that time. ]Ronnie] Saunders from Wheeling Park beat him at the OVAC championships, but Josh beat him by 28 seconds today,” Frohnapfel said. “To come back – you’re getting closer to the state meet – and to improve against your competition that much says a lot.”
Edwards was ecstatic following the performance, and expects it serve as a boost headed into the Class AAA State Meet next Saturday at Cabell Midland.
“It was a really good feeling. That time is really just going to push us all into the state meet and motivate me,” he said.
Hawks junior Zoe Shetty also nabbed a first-place finish in the girls’ race, completing the clean sweep for UHS. She crossed the line with a mark of 17:51, just in front of her teammate, sophomore Caroline Kirby, who took runner-up honors with an 18:03.
“I’m happy with how both of them ran. Basically, I think their performance helps aim the rest of the team for a state title,” Frohnapfel said. “If you’ve got two girls running up front for you, that means if you can hold up on your end, you have a pretty good chance. It’s a pretty proud moment.”
The Hawks’ top five on the boys’ side was rounded out by senior Nathaniel Edwards (16:24) in fifth, freshman Rocco DeVincent (16:53) in eighth, sophomore Aidan Palmer (16:54) in ninth, and senior Ryan Coen (16:57) in tenth.
For the UHS girls, the top five finishers behind Shetty and Kirby were junior Emma Williams (19:29) in seventh, junior Emma Troischt (19:36) in eighth, and senior Abigail Murray (19:41) in tenth.
Both squads’ performances were good enough to capture the Class AAA Region 1 Team Championship in their respective races. Edwards talked about the mentality on the team entering the race, and what they wanted to achieve with the showing.
“We just wanted to show the other teams who we were and what we were capable of. I think it will give us a good position headed into states,” he said. “The team is feeling really good right now. Pretty much everyone on their team ran their best times ever.”
Now, according to Frohnapfel, it’s time for the Hawks to set their sights on the grandest stage in the state – the championship meet.
“On both teams, one through seven all ran great today. Everyone was real upbeat and looking forward to next week at Cabell Midland,” he said. “They know they have their work cut out for them but they’re ready to go.”
Morgantown also came through with a strong performance on the day, notching multiple top-ten finishes on both side. The MHS girls nabbed second-place as a team on the back of freshman Lea Hatcher, who finished in third-place individually with a mark of 18:05. Morgantown junior Athena Young (19:13) also nabbed a top-five finish.
On the boys side, junior Jackson Core paced the Mohigans with a 16:18 and third-place finish as the team finished third overall.
Preston freshman Allie Martin (18:10) and junior Cole Friend (16:23) each finished fourth in their respective races, as the Knights’ girls finished third overall and the Knights’ boys’ finished fourth.