With all that has happened from a sports standpoint (or not) due to COVID-19, one group that could get ready for competition without dealing with an abundance of guidelines was runners.

In the world of cross country, running is what they do.

Still, there are issues.

But one thing is for sure when it comes to those who are a part of cross country at Ravenswood High School and that is they will be in shape.

After all, those runners have one of the state’s very best leading the way in Bryan Canterbury, who is now in his 26th season at the helm.

“It is a very difficult situation for all sports and athletes this fall, but everyone is excited for competition and we will compete every meet and we are praying for a full season,” said Canterbury, who has guided Ravenswood to nine state titles. He will be assisted for a second straight year by Ben Nesselroad, who had great success as Ravenswood’s boys track and field coach from 2005-2010.

“We have a young team this year,” said Canterbury. “We are ready for a new season with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Ravenswood will field a full girls team but its boys squad is only three-strong.

While it is a complete team on the girls side of the course, two key runners will be missing. Both sophomore Sami Maxon and junior Lydia Alfred, letter winners in 2019, are out for the year.

Maxon had a dynamite freshman season by earning Little Kanawha Conference First Team honors. Alfred garnered Second Team.

“Both are leaders and will help the coaching staff throughout the season and give support to a young team, but their experience and talent is a big loss,” Canterbury said.

The girls roster consists of senior Taylor Heath, sophomore Olivia Long and freshmen Emily Wratchford, Brooke Meadows, Maci Mosser, Hadleigh McGoskey and Madisyn Whited.

Heath is a returning letter winner.

“Taylor Heath begins her senior season and she has improved a lot throughout her career. She is a hard worker and a leader. She will be joined by five freshmen and a sophomore as newcomers to the program,” Canterbury said.

“We are excited to welcome a strong freshmen class. All five have running experience at the middle school level and are ready to move up. Emily Wratchford, Maci Mosser, Hadleigh McGoskey and Brooke Meadows are part of a successful basketball group and will use their athletic ability as runners. All four have a huge upside. Wratchford was All-Conference in the LKC and CWAC last year. Freshmen Madisyn Whited and sophomore Olivia Long round out the girls team and both have been running through some injuries and will only improve. We are looking forward to this group developing because they all are competitive athletes who excel in other sports as well. We have a bright future with this group.”

Senior Houston Kessell, junior Cade Curfman and freshman Logan Alfred make up the boys team.

Both Kessell and Curfman lettered last season. Curfman was Second Team All-Little Kanawha Conference.

“It is frustrating on the boys side because we were state class A runner-up in 2017 and 2018 and won the Class A regional last year,” said Canterbury. “However, we will build around Cade Curfman and Logan Alfred and attempt to build for the future.

“Cade made serious progress a year ago and ran some strong races in the LKC, regional and states. Although he had to run through an injury. He did a lot of work during the lockdown months and is ready to go. He finished in the top 20 in our strong region. Logan won the CWAC title last year, was All-Conference in the LKC and has a lot of promise. He will use his athletic ability as he improves this season. Houston Kessell is beginning his senior season and he has made super progress over that time. He always gives his best and beyond every race.”