stowers run

Wesley Stowers is shown competing for Oak Hill last week. Stowers and his OHHS teammates will participate in the state cross country championships this weekend.

George Smith hopes a somewhat relaxing week ends on a high note.

Smith, the third-year Oak Hill High cross country coach, will lead his Red Devil boys into the state cross country competition Saturday at Cabell Midland High School in Ona.

The Devils punched their state ticket by earning runner-up status behind Richwood at the Region 3 meet last week at PikeView.

In preparation this week, a couple of Oak Hill runners have battled illness, says Smith, and he has tried to keep practice light so as not to overburden the runners.

“We’ve had a couple of fun runs; we’ve had a good time that way. There’s not much you’re going to change this close to the meet anyway. The kids are really looking forward to it.”

As to the sickness, he said, “As long as they’re healthy by (Thursday) and we can get a day in before the meet, I think they’ll be OK.”

The Red Devils will run in the boys Class AA-A portion, which is slated to begin at about 1:30 p.m.

Oak Hill qualifiers are Lucas Gardner, Matt Holliday, John Neal, Wes Stowers, Bobby Striker and Scotty Treadway.

Treadway, the lone Oak Hill runner with state cross country meet experience, placed 53rd in the 2008 meet with a clocking of 18 minutes, 52 seconds as a sophomore. He says the Devils have improved as the season wore on.

“We didn’t have a full team at first, but we got more runners out and started improving,” said Treadway.

He says the Ona course isn’t as hilly as most of the ones Oak Hill competed on this year. “It’s a different course. It’s not very hilly. (You need to have) a pretty good kick.”

And he said he enjoys the atmosphere. “There are definitely a lot more people you’re running against, and a lot more people watching, too.”

Treadway says he hopes his team can meet or surpass its predicted eighth-place finish. And, he says he hopes the team’s top four runners can approach the Top 20 individually.

The meet begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with the girls Class AAA race. That will be followed by the triple-A boys event at 10:45 a.m. and that classification’s awards ceremony at about 11:45 a.m. The Class AA-A girls will leave the starting line at about 12:45 p.m., followed by the boys at about 1:30 p.m.

To follow the cross country action Saturday, visit www.wvcrosscountry.com.

— E-mail:

skeenan@register-herald.com

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