ELKINS — With Ryan Graf and Andrew Milliron running 1-2 at the Class AAA, Region II cross country meet staged in Elkins, the Jefferson High boys team successfully defended its region championship from 2011 and started its preparation for Saturday’s state meet at Cabell Midland High in Ona.
Graf won the 5K race by 34 seconds over younger teammate Milliron. The senior was timed in 17:24.52 as he completed the hills and crossed the narrow stream on the course well enough to guide the Cougar effort back to the state meet.
Jefferson is the defending state champion, having beaten Cabell Midland on the Knights’ home course in Ona in 2011.
Milliron, a junior, was eight seconds quicker to the finish line than third-place finisher Austin Hamrick of Elkins.
The first 10 individual finishers all qualified for the state meet regardless of whether their team did or not.
Casey Feezle (Hampshire) was fourth, followed in order by Shane Rigsby (Musselman), Jefferson’s Jackson Jacobs (18:27.03), Jefferson’s Zach Wiberg (18:32.59), Matt Taylor (Hedgesville), Jefferson’s Rhett Zillinger (18:44.33), and Austin Jenner (Musselman). Those were the 10 individuals qualifying for the state meet.
Jefferson’s meet-winning point total was 25. The other two schools qualifying their entire teams for this weekend’s state meet were Hampshire (64 points) and Musselman (84 points).
The other team totals had Hedgesville (123), Washington (129), Elkins (142), Martinsburg (160), Lewis County (228), and Buckhannon (246).
Washington’s Joe McCormick was 13th in 19:23.85 or nearly two minutes behind Graf’s winning time. Camden Connell was 19th in 19:49.07.
Cabell Midland, leading with prohibitive individual favorite Jacob Burcham, is the pre-race team favorite. None of the four regional results changed that perception.