MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. -- Saturday was a bittersweet day for the Cabell Midland boys and girls cross country teams.
The Knights competed in the Class AAA high school state championship meet and while neither team won a title, they both had plenty to be proud of. The top-ranked Cabell Midland boys team finished runner-up to North Marion while the girls finished third behind Morgantown and Preston.
Ravenswood won the Class AA-A boys race and Berkeley Springs took home the girls title.
The Cabell Midland boys team suffered a tough break when senior and top runner Josh Holley couldn't complete the race. Holley battled pneumonia in the last few weeks and although he ran some successful races, Saturday it proved to be too much.
"It was a great day and rough day," said Knights coach Chris Parsons. "Holley has had walking pneumonia. We altered his training and he's been running well. He did fine on the first lap, but I saw him on that second lap and he was just white. He had about a half mile to go and just passed out. North Marion's two through five runners were real tight and without Holley, they were too strong."
Parsons said Holley got medical attention on sight and is doing fine.
Cabell Midland's others runners had a strong day, Parsons said. David Bias (16:39) and Cass Meadows (16:46) finished second and third respectively to earn all-state honors.
"We were still able to get up on awards stage," Parsons said. "We had a great season, and we're still state runners-up. There will be another day. The sun will come up tomorrow, and the disappointment won't last."
Fairmont Senior freshman David Ciacolla completed the 3.1-mile course in 16:36 to win individual honors.
The AAA girls race was extremely close with the Knights finishing 11 points behind Morgantown and six points behind second-place Preston.
"The girls race was phenomenal," Parsons said. "I've been in cross country a lot of years and that was by far the toughest AAA girls I've seen as far as three teams going at it."
Rachel Riley and Alicia Thomas for the Knights finished seventh and ninth respectively, to earn all-state accolades. Parsons said all the girls ran better than they had all season.
"It was a tight race throughout, and I'm really, really proud of the girls," he said. "The top six are all back next year, so they're excited. They ran great. They were watching the awards and the first thing they said was 'we want that next year'. They've got the right mindset. They weren't down. They were excited, and I'm excited for them."
North Marion's Keri Bland won the individual title with a time of 18:35.
Andrew Benford won his second straight state title to lead Ravenswood to a state-record sixth consecutive Class AA-A boys' team championship. Benford, a senior, finished the 5,000-meter course in a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 51 seconds. Winfield's Zac Noel finished second.
Berkeley Springs won the girls' AA-A championship for the second time in school history. Berkeley Springs' Rachel Buser won her second straight Class AA-A individual title in a time of 18:22.
Charleston Catholic was second and Winfield was third for Class AA-A.