University’s Josh Edwards is top seed at state high school cross country meet

It’s not often you see freshman competing with – and outperforming – their upperclassman opponents. Just don’t tell that to Josh Edwards.

The University freshman has had a dynamite season on trails and courses across the state, and looks to continue that trend today at Cabell Midland during the WVSSAC State Cross Country Championships. After pacing the field at the Regional Championships one week ago, Edwards enters the state meet seeded first.

“It’s really cool. In the preseason my goal was to get Top 10  and now I’m holding myself to a higher standard now that I’m up there with the top three guys,” Edwards said. “It’s a good feeling.”

If Edwards can pull off the win, he’ll be the third Hawk in five years to capture the individual title – Seth Edwards earned back-to-back win in 2014 and 2015, while Phillip White took the top finish in 2016.

Edwards will be joined by his fellow Hawks, who punched their ticket to Ona with a first-place team finish during the regional meet. UHS will look to improve on a fifth-place finish as a team last fall and claim their first team state title since 2014. Ryan Coen, Gary Nathaniel Edwards, Alex Dean, Rocco DeVincent, Samuel Frasch, Aiden Palmer, Jacob Stupar, and Jordan Thomas will take the course for the Hawks.

“It’s been a while since the guys have won a state title,” Edwards said. “It’d be cool to have that to share together and experience.”

On the girls’ side, the Hawks look to capture their fifth-straight team title behind a trio of runners seeded in the Top 10 – Zoe Shetty (3rd), Caroline Kirby (5th), and Emma Troischt (8th). Joining them will be Isabello Balko, Taylor Bell, Erika Lerfald, Abigail Murray, Hermione Vos, and Emma Williams.

Morgantown will look to earn their third-straight state title as a team on the boys’ side. Leading the Mohigan boys’ will be junior Jackson Core, who enters the race seeded ninth. Joining Core will be Xavier Adams, Preston Core, Nathan Goldcamp, Quinn Jacquez, Brady Mudry, Charles Smith, Jackson Snyder, Mikael Virji, and Landon Young.

On the girls’ side, MHS will be paced by sixth-seeded freshman Lea Hatcher. Joining Hatcher will be Tazanna Epps, Maggie Goodwin, Amelia Haddox, Lauren Hancox, Emma Kupec, Kristine Stapleton, Bryn Tronco, Megan Weaver, and Athena Young.

The Preston girls’ will make their first appearance as a team at the state meet since 2014, led by freshman duo Allie Martin (4th) and Chloe Starks (9th). Joining them will be Alexa Gorondy, Lia Jennings, Alyssa Mullan, Cozette Ries, and Maryann Wolfe. On the boys’ side, the Knights send just one lone competitor in junior Cole Friend, who nabbed a top-ten finish in last year’s race.

In Class A, Clay-Battelle will send two underclassmen – one in each race.

On the girls’ side, freshman Ashley Chisler will make an appearance following a 13th place regional finish, while sophomore Holden Ammons will take the course following a 10th place regional performance.