ST. MARYS, W.Va. - West Virginia has long been known for its beautiful mountains, its sparkling streams and its abundant coal and natural gas.
Now, add long distance running to that list.
Seniors Jacob Burcham from Cabell Midland High School and St. Marys' Maggie Drazba have not only been making a name for themselves while competing in championship meets around the country, but have turned the spotlight on their home state.
Those successes earned them another honor as the duo have been named the Male and Female recipients of the McCoy Award as the state track athletes of the year, presented annually by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. Burcham and Drazba will be honored by the WVSWA at the 67th Annual Victory Awards dinner in Clarksburg on May 5.
"Honored and humble," said Drazba, who has been running since the seventh grade. "I am really honored to receive this award."
Drazba, who finished second in last year's balloting, topped runner-up Emily Godwin from Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Rounding out the top four vote getters were Martinsburg's Jasmyn Hosby and Frankfort's Bria Welker.
Finishing second to Burcham was Wheeling Park's Errin Baynes, followed by Dante Price from Jefferson and Brandon Franklin from Liberty Harrison.
Burcham, who finished second to WVU's Tavon Austin for the Hardman Amateur Athlete of the Year award, became only the fourth male athlete to be the recipient three times and joined only St. Marys' Steve Taylor (1981-83) as winner of three consecutive McCoy Awards. Olympic gold medalists Randy Barnes (1985, 1988, 1990) and James Jett (1989, 1991, 1992) were the other two three-time winners.
Drazba, the repeat Gatorade state cross country honoree, will enter her final track season with the Blue Devils as the defending state champion and record holder in the Class A 800-meter (2:20.35), 1,600 (4:56.23) and 3,200 (10:59.09) runs as well as anchoring the team's record-setting 4x800 relay squad (9:48.85).