Ravenswood Middle CC enjoys successful 2020

By Mark Martin

The season of cross country at Ravenswood Middle School this past fall certainly had its share of bright moments.

It included a season-ending championship for the boys team and a runner-up finish for the girls in the Central West Virginia Athletic Conference Meet.

“It was great,” said veteran head coach Bryan Schirmer. “We’ve got some really good runners.”

Some will return to run for Schirmer next season while others will advance to the high school’s varsity program.

A bonus to the nice finish of the season was the fact Ravenswood got to compete on its home course at Eastwood.

“I love working a meet and making sure everything is right,” said Schirmer, who said he relies heavily on assistant coach Cara Williams to focus on the Ravenswood runners when he’s overseeing an event. Williams also serves as Ravenswood’s girls varsity basketball head coach.

The boys team had five runners in the Top 10 of this year’s conference meet, including eighth grader Bailey Postlethwait (third), sixth grader Ryker Postlethwait (fourth), seventh grader Marcus Williams (sixth), eighth grader

Tucker Gorrell (seventh) and eighth grader Wyatt Nickerson (eighth).

Ravenswood was missing seventh grader Max Dauch, who suffered an ankle injury at the Covered Bridge Invitational in Ripley. Dauch had turned in some nice performances during the season prior to the injury.

Ravenswood featured the top runner of the girls division in Riley Sotomayor. The seventh grader won the title with a time of 12:22, which was the best on the course in five years of conference competition.

“The weather was freezing, the course was a mess and she still ran a time that was phenomenal,” Schirmer said.

Ravenswood had three other runners to place in the Top 10 of the girls race. The trio included sixth grader Gwynn Gorrell (fifth), seventh grader Riley Curfman (eighth) and eighth grader Kadi Price (10th).

Ravenswood’s girls team this season also included eighth grader McKenzie Nesselroad, eighth grader Brianna Sotomayor, eighth grader Zoie Meadows and seventh grader Ryley Thompson.

Another highlight for the girls came early in the season with a win at the Huntington/Wayne Invitational.

Riley Sotomayor captured her first career victory by producing a time of 12:45 to pace the Ravenswood attack in a field of eight teams.

“Riley ran really well in that meet. She just took off and left everybody,” Schirmer noted.

Curfman (11th), Price (13th), Gorrell (14th) and Nesselroad (17th) were all Top 20 finishers for Schirmer’s crew.

The boys team placed fourth with two Top 10 finishers in Dauch (eighth) and Bailey Postlethwait (10th). Placing in the Top 20 were Riker Postlethwait (18th) and Williams (20th).

Like all sports teams in Jackson County, Ravenswood Middle cross country encountered its share of frustration due to COVID-19, but Schirmer says his runners weathered the storm.

“The kids came on strong at the end after dealing with all the pandemic stuff. We couldn’t go to the LKC (Little Kanawha Conference) and I had to pull together a Ravenswood Invitational. The kids ran really well.”

Schirmer has been a part of the cross country scene in Ravenswood since 1997. He assisted with the varsity program that year before taking over at the middle school level in 1998.

He takes a lot of pride in helping to mold youngsters who aim to compete in high school.  

Ravenswood High cross country has a rich tradition under the direction of Bryan Canterbury, who is Schirmer’s brother-in-law. Schirmer is married to Canterbury’s sister, Karen.

Besides cross country, Schirmer has been coaching middle school boys basketball since coming to Ravenswood in 1982.

Schirmer is a 1977 graduate of Warren Western Reserve High School in Warren, Ohio. He earned his teaching degree from Ohio University in nearby Athens, Ohio before making his way to Ravenswood.

The area is fortunate to have had, and still have, such a dedicated individual like Schirmer working at the middle school level for Ravenswood athletics.

Schirmer, who retired from teaching a few years ago, was highly-regarded in the classroom at both Ravenswood Middle and Ripley Middle.

He has a good feeling about Ravenswood High cross country in the future.

“It comes in cycles at a small school (like Ravenswood), but there is some talent coming,” he said.