Cabell Midland continued it's decade-plus of dominance in the boys race. Knights senior Jacob Burcham cruised to his fourth individual MSAC championship with a time of 15:47.20, and the team captured its 13th consecutive conference championship.
Burcham and George Washington's Matthew Brafford paired up and jumped to the front of the pack early in the race before Burcham started to pull away near the one-mile mark. From that point it wasn't a question of who would win, but rather what time the Midland senior would put up.
"I tried to stay pretty even about the race," Burcham said. "I was aiming somewhere between 15:30 and 15:45. It felt pretty smooth and I wasn't straining or anything, so it was a good workout before reiongals and states."
Brafford finished second with a time of 16:15.80 with Midland's Avery Campbell taking third in 16:41.20.
The Knights placed nine runners in the top 15, but as nice as it is to win that many consecutive conference championships and place that many runners that high, it presents somewhat of a problem for Midland coach Chris Parsons.
Each team is only allowed seven runners at the regional and state meets, which means Parsons has some decisions to make.
"Honestly the conference meet, for us, is more about trying to determine our top seven," Parsons said. "We have got 15 very good runners that have run 18 minutes or better. We're always happy to win the conference, but the most important thing is the outcome of what happened with the teammates. They were more or less racing each other. They were also helping each other, but they're all trying to make it in to that top seven."
Parson said Brafford, a junior, presented the biggest challenge to Burcham at this meet and also gave his top runner the chance to see where the rest of the field stacks up.
"Going up against Brafford, which I think is probably the No. 2 runner in the state along with [Jefferson's Ryan] Graf, it kind of let Burcham know where everyone is," Parson said. "He looked so in control today. The goal with him is to get through regionals next week and then not only win an individual title, but also lead the team to the team title."
Parkersburg took second place and was followed by Ripley, Hurricane, George Washington, Huntington, Winfield, Capital, St. Albans, Riverside, Princeton and Woodrow Wilson.
Reach Tom Bragg at tom.br...@wvgazette.com.