NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. - The Oak Glen girls cross country team will head south on Saturday to Cabell Midland High School in its quest for a state title.
The Bears qualified for the state tournament with a second place finish in the regional meet on Thursday at Mineral Wells. Senior Kelsey Chambers was the winner of the event with junior Felicity Nolder finishing seventh and senior Casey Baird ninth.
On the boys side, senior Brock Smith was the lone Oak Glen state qualifier with a eighth place finish.
Golden Bear coach Adam Howell likes the fact that his runners are all familar with the course at Cabell Midland.
"They have run on this course a few times, so they know the course. Its a flat, fast course, I expect us to be in the mix," the coach said.
The Bears are lead by senior stand out Chambers. Chambers has won eight of the 10 meets she has run this year. The senior also came away with top honors at the OVAC meet, winning the 4A championship.
Chambers will be challenged by Grafton freshmen Alysa Parsons, having lost to the freshman twice in the early season.
"She sort of surprised me, she come out of no where," Chambers said. "I'm a determined person, I'm not gonna let that intimidate me. Since my freshmen year, I've set the goal to be a state champion. I have confidence in myself, I know the course and I'm looking forward to running Saturday."
Senior Casey Baird has had a exciting year so far, being named homecoming queen and now having a chance to run in the state meet.
"I've been running better than I ever have," said Baird. "I've been working harder than I have ever worked and I'm excited about all this. I ran a 21:29 at the regions. That's my best time ever but I'll need to run better Saturday. I'm nervous about the meet but that's a good thing for me."
Smith was the lone qualifier for the Golden Bear boys team and this will be the senior's first trip to the state meet. Smith is also a starter on the soccer team that will play for a regional championship on Thursday at Weir High School. "I never expected any of this, it's exciting right now but its been hard doing both. I leave cross country practice and head to soccer practice," said Smith. "With school work and other things, I've really got to manage my time well."
The team will leave Friday morning for the trip to Cabell Midland and they will get a practice run on the course Friday afternoon. The state meet will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday.