Cross country season begins today in West Virginia with the Bobcat Kickoff Classic in Buckhannon. For several area teams and individuals, it makes the start of a long run potentially to the state meet.
Cabell Midland finished second behind Jefferson at last year's state meet but returns one of the top running talents in the country in senior Jacob Burcham.
In addition to his dominance during track and field season, Burcham returns for 2012 as the defending Class AAA individual cross country state champion. Burcham and senior teammate Jeremy Waugh and junior Eric Wooten form the core of what should be one of the favorites to win the state title.
The Hurricane High girls finished fourth in Class AAA at last year's state meet with a team of underclassmen. Junior Tori Dent finished seventh at the state meet last year with returning senior Baylee Summers (22nd) and junior Ally Lawhon (23rd) also placing in the top 25.
Individually, several runners from the area enter 2012 looking to better or equal results from 2011.
On the boys side, George Washington junior Matthew Bradford returns after an eighth-place finish a year ago while in the girls meet Capital freshman Peyton Panger came in 10th.
The Patriots and Cougars begin their seasons a week from today at the Autumn Classic hosted by St. Marys. Cabell Midland, which will host the state meet on Oct. 27, also hosts the GEICO Classic to open its season on Sept. 1.