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Saturday, November 7, 1998 -- Charleston
West Virginia Cross Country Championships

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [Results]
Pictures: [Age 11-12] [Age 13-14] [Boys 15-16] [Girls 15-18 & Others]

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Ken Beerbower on his way to recording the fastest 5K
In years past the West Virginia Cross Country Championships seemed to always bring with them brutal weather that ranged from bitter cold to early winter snows. The 1998 Championships were an exception and came along with excellent weather and cool temperatures in the mid 50's. The sun even made appearances as it often found its way through partly cloudy skies.

The course was in beautiful condition with a mixture of hills, fields, and wooded trails carved through the scenic Coonskin Park located on the outskirts of Charleston. The stage was set for the races that would decide who would qualify for the AAU National Championship and the USATF Regional Championship. The top twelve finishers in each of the age groups would be eligible to compete in these races.

The racing began at 10:00am with the Bantam Boys (10-Under) and Midget Girls (11-12) covering a distance of 3000 meters. The fastest girl in the group was Elizabeth Bruner, of Charleston, who crossed the line at 14:03.2. Jon Godwin, of Morgantown, recorded the overall fastest time with a 12:50.9. The next heat was for the Midget Boys (11-12) who also set out on the 3K course. Nick Dent, of Glenville, raced to the finish first in 11:34.2.

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Ryann Metheny leads the women on her way to a 5K win
The next group of racers, Youth Boys and Girls (13-14), had the distance increased to 4000 meters. Stephanie Hatfield, of Clarksburg, was the fastest female of the bunch and completed the 4K in 17:10.4. The overall best time for this distance was set by Christopher Snell, of Ravenswood, who came across the line at 14:50.3.

The following heat was for the Intermediate Boys (15-16) who again had the distance increased to what was now a 5000 meter course. This race was a battle between Ken Beerbower, of Fairmont, and Shawn Green, of St. Albans. Beerbower was chased most of the race by Green, but he maintained his slim lead all the way to the finish. Beerbower's winning time was 17:04.7, just a second ahead of Green whose time was 17:05.9.

Next up was the Intermediate Girls (15-16) and the Young Women (17-18) who also were racing the 5K distance. The fastest in the group was Intermediate Girl Ryann Metheny, of Elkins, with a finishing time of 20:46.8. The fastest runner from the Young Women's group was Ashley Shepler, of Tornado, with a time of 22:02.0.

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What are the benefits of running...
...Michael Barker reminds us of one
The final heat for the day was the Young Men (17-18) who raced the 5K distance along with the Open Class (19-Over). Larry Atkins, of Huntington, racing in the Young Men's division, proved to be the man to beat. He crossed the finish first with a time of 17:26.5.

With the weather being so agreeable for an early November day, it was a great run for all who participated. Coonskin Park was a perfect backdrop for showcasing the best of West Virginia's cross country runners. Best wishes go out to all the participants in all their future runs and especially the upcoming Regionals and Nationals.