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Hampshire, Roach run for the gold Saturday

October 31, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

Local rivals Cory Hampshire of Jefferson and Lenny Roach of Berkeley Springs went 1-1 against each other this cross country season.

Together, the two seniors hope to lead the Eastern Panhandle to a 4-for-4 showing Saturday in the boys races at the West Virginia state championships at Cabell Midland.

"He and I want to go down there and win both the titles, individually and team-wise," said Roach, who is the No. 1 runner in Class AA-A, while Hampshire is No. 1 in Class AAA, according to the runwv.com rankings.

The Berkeley Springs boys also are No. 1 in the AA-A team rankings, while the Jefferson boys are No. 2 in AAA.

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Neither has ever won a team title at the state meet.

"It could be a real interesting day for the Panhandle," Berkeley Springs coach John Rowland said. "It could be something else.

"The rankings give a lot of people a lot to talk about, but you still have to go out and race. You can't just look at them and say Berkeley Springs is better than Ravenswood."

Ravenswood, ranked No. 2, is the eight-time defending state champion.

"They're one of the great dynasties in the history of the U.S.," Rowland said.

"But we're hoping to end that this year," Roach said. "This is what we've been looking forward to all year. Our team is all psyched up."

While the Jefferson boys already have defeated No. 3 Wheeling Park, the defending state champion, this year, they have yet to face No. 1 Cabell Midland.

"I'd like to think that we're the team to beat," Jefferson coach Scott Biola said. "But we're going to have to be on our game to win it."

Hampshire's only loss against West Virginia competition this season came against Roach at the Apple Valley League championships, where a wrong turn cost Hampshire his late lead.

"(Hampshire) is going to have a race on his hands, but he's the best runner out there," Biola said. "If everything goes right, he should be able to win."

Hampshire said he also hopes to break the course record of 15:52 for the 3.1 miles.

"The first mile is the toughest part of the whole course. A lot of it is uphill," he said. "I want to hit that in about 4:50 and then see where everyone else is at."

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