The Knights will continue to run with eyes pointed toward state. That strategy included not running "full go" at Friday's Mountain State Athletic Conference Championships in order to better rest and prepare for the regional, then state.
"I know not going full strength at the MSAC cost us the team title, but with regionals only five days later, it was a move that was best for our athletes and best for our team leading into the state championship," Midland Coach Chris Parsons said.
Meanwhile, Point Pleasant, Huntington and Winfield join Midland in the state's top 10 and figure to threaten the Knights' regional title hopes.
George Washington and Greenbrier East enter today's Region 3 championship, to be held at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field, among the state's top 10, while the girls team title appears to be for the taking.
The Patriots boys rank 10th behind the No. 7 Spartans. No girls teams from Region 3 rank in the state's top 10, though Greenbrier East figures to be among top contenders for the championship because of its amount of athletes, GW Coach Brent Walker said.
The Greenbrier East girls team lists three relays among the state's top 10, including first for the 4x400.
GW is expected to qualify several athletes, including elite distance runner Matthew Brafford.
"I think from a distance standpoint, Matt Brafford is certainly someone who will contend in the 1600 and the 3200," Walker said. "From a sprinters standpoint, Jacob Jackson has certainly proven he can run with the state's elite."
Jackson ranks top 10 in the state for both the 200 and 400, while Brafford ranks second in the state to Midland's Burcham in both the 1600 and 3200. As Brafford and Burcham race in separate regions, it's expected both will secure individual event titles.
On the girls side, Patriots freshman Lillie Jacobs and Capital sophomore Peyton Panger represent two of the most talented Kanawha Valley athletes at the Region III meet.
Jacobs ranks fifth in AAA girls for discus. Panger enters as the region's top girls distance runner, ranking top five in the state in both the mile and two-mile.
Panger's teammate Tatiyanna Wood is also expected among top contenders in her main event, the 100 hurdles. Also in hurdles, Shady Spring figures to be a threat, with the eighth-ranked shuttle hurdle relay, and top 10 hurdlers Lyndsey Thompson and Ali Kominsky in the 300s.