"I think Jefferson is looking good judging by their performances so far and they'll be favored this year as well," Crawford Jr. said of the Cougars boys squad. "Cabell Midland will be right on their heels. Jefferson and Buckhannon-Upshur look like top teams [in girls Class AAA] and Gahanna, Ohio, they're always very competitive. They have good sprinters and relays."
Doddridge is likely to be tough to beat as well, as the boys come No. 1 in RunWV.com's power rankings and the girls are listed at No. 2.
While the meet offers a large field, Crawford Jr. admitted it is a little harder to attract an abundance of Class A teams, although the ones that do make it tend to be the cream of the crop.
"It's hard to get a whole lot of Class A teams here, but there ones that are here are the ones that will be in contention in the state meet," Crawford Jr. said. "They get a good idea before regionals about what they're looking at around the state."
Inevitably, some coaches won't show off everything this weekend and instead will hold out some premier competitors.
This strategy may be good in terms of rest, but Crawford Jr. said those who miss this weekend's event lose a key opportunity to take part in a state-like meet against state-like competition.
"I think it's important because it's so different from the one-day, regular format that most meets usually follow," Crawford Jr. said. "The running events with trials and finals, that's a big thing to get used to in addition to the runners and competition."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.