By Betty Gandee
With the program only being three years old, the Clay County Cross Country team is making big news in the athletic world.
Coach Ron Starcher Jr. says that the building of the boy’s team has been tough with it being mostly older students who only get a few years in before graduating. The girls team, however, started out young, and they are starting to see their hard work pay off. Last season they qualified as a team, and going into next season Sharina Ratliff will be the first to compete all four years in the program. In the short three years of the program, this team has racked up a significant number of trophies and awards with more predicted in the future. These athletes know the meaning of training, doing 5Ks and race series in the Charleston area during the offseason to prepare for the season. Last year was the first year Clay hosted a home meet at Dundon, where many competing teams called it “a true cross-country course’ due to the terrain and creek crossing, which is not something you usually encounter at a meet.
Coach Starcher predicts that going into the 2018 season both boys and girls teams should have no problem making it into the state tournaments. “Our goal for the program is for it to be the norm to be winning these state titles.” With that goal in mind, there is a camp available for these kids coming up in July. This camp, free of charge thanks to the generosity of several sponsors, gives kids in Clay County the chance to step outside their comfort zone and learn from some to the top NCAA athletes and coaches around WV. It allows them to connect with college coaches and learn about the programs available to them after high school. “It’s all about sending our runners to the next level and helping them thrive in college.” It takes hard work and dedication to succeed and this program is showing just how hard Clay County High School students work to achieve their goals. “There is a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing everything they’ve went through to get where they are today,” says Starcher.
For information on the upcoming Paint with Quincy fundraiser, contact a Cross Country participant, coach, or parent. You can also reach Coach Ron Starcher Jr. by calling the school at 304-587-4226. Early birds are $30, at the door is $35. This will take place on June 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Clay County High School cafeteria.