RIPLEY – Ripley having representation in this Saturday’s West Virginia High School State Cross Country Meet certainly has those involved excited, and with good reason. The fact both runners who will be wearing the school colors of royal blue and white are underclassmen raises the level of excitement a tad.

Junior Dalton Fisher will bring to the State Meet a Ripley presence in the Class AAA race on the Chris Parsons Course at Cabell Midland High School in Ona. Freshman Kelly Longanacre will be Ripley’s competitor in AAA girls division.

Both runners qualified for the State Meet following Top 10 finishes last Thursday at the Class AAA Region III Meet that unfolded on the course of Medowood Park.

Fisher was sixth with a time of 16:46.55.

“He’s made great strides,” said Jimmy Groves, one of Ripley’s coaches. “He’s PR’d (personal record) two or three times (with his best of 16:02.65 coming at the GW Invitational). He’s made a great leap from his sophomore year to now. He’s been our No. 1 guy all year.

“He’s really showed a lot of maturity. When he was a freshman Jake Casto (who is now running for the University of Charleston) took him under his wing and that really helped him.”

Longanacre turned in a time of 21:09.71 to also place sixth in the regional meet.

“She is a freshman who has run some great races,” Groves said. “She won the GW Invitational and that really helped her confidence.”

The GW race is where Longanacre turned in her best time of the year of 19:48.24.

“She is just naturally a good runner,” said Groves of Longanacre, whose older brother Chad was a good runner for the Viking program. “Her future is definitely bright.”

The AAA girls race will start at 10 a.m. followed by the boys race at 10:45.