St. Marys' Drazba gets third AA-A cross country crown
ONA - A third individual championship in four years, a course record and covering the field by a wide margin - sure Jacob Burcham did it, but St. Marys' Maggie Drazba did it first, and maybe in even more impressive fashion.
The senior left everyone in her wake, besting runner-up Katie Jan of Frankfort by over two minutes in capturing the state Class AA-A girls cross country crown Saturday at Cabell Midland High School.
Drazba also won in her freshman and junior years. Her time of 17:17.89 Saturday set a course record for girls and was a personal best.
"That's what I was hoping to do," Drazba said of her day. "I got a little worried when I heard it was going to rain because if the course would've been not solid it would've been rougher, but it was really good. The course was dry and it's just a light sprinkle. It was nice."
Drazba broke the record set last year by Samantha Nightingale of Missouri by just under 15 seconds.
While winning her third title was important, the record was something that Drazba admitted was on her mind all day.
"I knew this record so I really wanted to get that and I'm really happy I got it," Drazba said. "I just knew what I needed to run time-wise in the miles and so I made sure I was on pace. People were saying I was close and I was thinking, 'I have to get that.' "
Drazba and Burcham's combined efforts made for a historic day in Ona, something not lost on those heavily involved in the sport.
"What West Virginia witnessed today was the two fastest female and male athletes to ever perform [in the state]," Midland boys coach Chris Parsons said. "What they did on this course today, no one in history can match on West Virginia soil. The people that didn't get to see this missed quite a show and the people that did get to see it got more than their money's worth."
Unlike Burcham's heroics, Drazba's record run had no impact on the team standings. Pre-race favorite Philip Barbour eked out a 6-point win over Frankfort for the team crown.
It was the third straight state crown for the Colts, who were led by top-10 finishes from Brianna Waybright (3rd), Allison Villers (5th) and Marissa Long (6th).
North Marion's Emma Harrison (4th), Weir's Kristen Mastrantoni (7th), Wayne's Kylie Rutherford (8th), Bridgeport's Morganne Phillips (9th) and Frankfort's Julianna Butcher (10th) also earned all-state honors by virtue of finishing in the top 10.
On the boys side, Fairmont Senior's Nick Trefz took full advantage of his school's drop in class, building upon a fifth-place finish in last year's Class AAA run and earning an individual championship in Class AA-A on Saturday.
Trefz crossed the line in 15:52.2, a little over 12 seconds ahead of Doddridge County's Caleb Moore.
The senior said last year's solid finish was huge for his success this year.
"I had a lot of confidence after that," Trefz said. "I was predicted ninth and I finished fifth [last year], so that was definitely a big confidence boost."
Trefz's big day lifted the Polar Bears to the team title as Fairmont Senior (92) outpointed Frankfort (111) by 19 points.
Trefz wasn't the only Class AA-A athlete to bring his prep career to an impressive close.
Buffalo senior Dylan Rich came in with a No. 13 ranking according to runwv.com, but far exceeded that with a fourth-place finish and all-state honors.
"They had me predicted 11th but I kind of looked at some of the guys in front of me and I thought I could stay with them," Rich said. "My plan was to stay with them until around the 2-mile marker and just kick the last mile, because I'm really strong on downhills and straights."
Ritchie County's Johnny Hogue (3rd), Charleston Catholic's Marcus Black (5th), Webster County's Brettley Harris (6th), Scott's Will Shaffer (7th), St. Marys' Jordan Whitehair (8th), Bridgeport's Abe Merinar (9th) and Frankfort's Shane Ickes (10th) rounded out the all-state team.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.