"My team at Gazettes will definitely not be at full strength," Knights Coach Chris Parsons said. "However, we still wouldn't miss the Gazettes, because it's one of the best meets in West Virginia besides regionals and states."
That means fans will have to wait for another opportunity to watch one of the state's most-heralded runners in Midland senior Jacob Burcham.
Beyond Midland and Jefferson, No. 6 Huntington and seventh-ranked Point Pleasant expect to contend in boys AAA.
Both Class AA defending team champions, Ritchie County (boys) and Berkeley Springs (girls) will also compete in the two-day meet.
In Class AA and Class A, six of the state's top 10 girls teams and eight of the top 10 boys squads are expected to attend the Relays.
The seventh-ranked Poca boys will be among those top competitors.
"We can score some points," Dots Coach John Bonecutter said. "Our goal would be to go top five. We'll see if it happens."
Poca sophomore Christian Buckley enters as Class AA's top athlete in both the shot put and discus, while Josh Crites (hurdles) and A.J. Keys (long jump) figure to factor in top results. On the girls side, Dots Marissa Perkins, Paula Ord and Kristen Broughman should be among top contenders.
The local Class A effort will be led by Buffalo and Charleston Catholic. The Bison boys rank fifth, while the Irish boys list sixth and the girls 10th. Both teams' boys squads will battle two-time defending champ Doddridge County, while the Williamstown girls represents the lone reigning team title holder not attending the meet.
For Buffalo and Catholic, each team boasts many athletes expected to record top performances, including Bison distance runner Dylan Rich and Irish thrower Gina Marks.
In total, approximately 70 West Virginia schools are expected to attend the two-day meet, in addition to several schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.