Season in Review: Ravenswood Cross Country enjoys success

Mark Martin
Sportswriter
Members of the Ravenswood High School girls' cross country team from left to right are Madisyn Whited, Hadleigh McGoskey, Sami Maxson, Emily Wratchford, Lydia Alfred, Olivia Long, Brook Meadows, Taylor Heath, and Maci Mosser.

Bryan Canterbury used the word “rewarding” when reflecting on the 2020 season of cross country at Ravenswood High School.

"We all feel blessed that we were able to compete this season,” said Canterbury referring to the matters of COVID-19. “It was a serious time for all runners, but everyone in the cross country community did their best to make it work. This group was a young, hard-working group that was very coachable. They brought effort and energy every day and gave it their best every practice and improve.”

Ravenswood’s girls' team reached the Class A portion of the State Meet in Ona. Both Emily Wratchford and Hadleigh McGoskey garnered All-Little Kanawha Conference and All-Regional honors. Wratchford was First Team in the LKC while McGoskey was Second Team.

On the boys' side, Cade Curfman was a First Team All-LKC and All-Regional performer.

“The girls' team was a huge success this season for various reasons,” the veteran coach, who has led Ravenswood boys to nine state titles, said. “It was only the second full girls' team since 2013 and it was the first team to run in the State Meet since 2013. It was a team with six first-year varsity runners and overcame injury throughout the season and earned a berth in the State Meet.

“This group competed hard against the best runners in their class and up all season long. The team was never at its full potential due to injury, but never made an excuse and went out and raced with pride. It hurt us that we had to miss two meets during the peak season, but they regrouped to run strong at the regional meet.”

He praised Wratchford and McGoskey for their consistency in running against some of the state’s best.

“They will not back down from a challenge and will only get better. Brooke Meadows and Madisyn Whited made big strides this year and give us two quality runners we can always count on,” Canterbury said. “Olivia Long improved during the season. Sami Maxson and Maci Mosser are two outstanding runners who will be back from injury. Sami ran the regional and State Meet to help her team qualify after overcoming a bad ankle injury and with limited training. Maci was the top placer for our team in her only meet.

"This group has a huge upside and they gained the one thing they did not have this season…experience. They had to learn how to train and race at the high school level and now they understand what the State Meet experience is all about. They matured a lot during the season and we are in it for the long haul. We will set our goals high and strive to run for championships. It is a very athletic group that will impact Ravenswood girls' athletics in a positive way in several sports over the next three to four seasons. We are excited for the future because this is a group of motivated competitors.”

The boys did not field a full team this season, a true disappointment for Canterbury and assistant Ben Nesselroad. But there were bright spots.

“Cade Curfman had a big season,” Canterbury said. “He was good all year and had a strong State Meet race. He will lead our team next year along with Logan Alfred. Logan was hurt and then could not run races because our team could not race. He ran the regional meet. He will be back strong next year. We feel like our boys will have a full team next year and make a run at qualifying for the State Meet.

Two members of Ravenwood cross country will graduate this spring in Taylor Heath for the girls and Houston Kessell on the boys' side.

“Both were tough runners who always gave it their best effort and were great teammates. Lydia Alfred was a top returning runner who missed the season with a serious knee injury last December. She showed up to give positive support all season.”