"It hasn't been like that for the first few weeks of the season. That's where we have to be. We have to have those give guys, three through seven, firing together."
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AS THE HURRICANE squads raced to excellence, so too did the Charleston Catholic girls team. The Irish, ranked No. 4 in A-AA, finished second overall, ahead of several AAA programs, including fourth-ranked Hampshire and Capital.
"They measured pretty well," Catholic Coach Scott Welch said. "I still think they're capable of running better. I think we have very strong potential with our girls team and I'm looking forward to see us run at Ripley (Saturday), the regional course. I'm real curious to see how they do there."
Sophomore Payton Mullen paced Catholic at Elkins with a ninth-place finish. Freshman Hannah Gacek (14th), sophomore Peyton Keener (15th), freshman Lia Preston (20th) and senior Annie Crockett (22nd) also performed well in an impressive showing for the Irish.
The meet marked just the second time this season Welch had his full team at disposal as several top runners also play with the Irish soccer team. With just one senior in the top seven and many runners new to distance running, Welch said some of the team's success is lost on its youngest members.
"They don't know what they're doing well enough to fully understand the significance of beating a AAA team that's good," he said. "The freshmen are learning how to run a 3.1-mile course, the soccer players are rookies too. They're learning on the fly and so far, they're doing pretty well."
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AWAY FROM WEST VIRGINIA, George Washington senior Matthew Brafford won the Knights Crossing Invitational in 15:21, beating his closest competitor by 18 seconds. The meet was hosted by Cave Spring (Va.) at Green Hill Park near Roanoke, Va.
Brafford began the season as AAA's No. 1 runner and continues to hold that position.
Fellow senior Rowen Maher led the Patriots girls with a time of 21:30.