Edwards repeats at Triple-A cross country champ, Morgantown’s Irene Riggs wins girls individual title; MHS girls & UHS boys claim state crowns


ONA, W.Va. – In 2019 it was Lea Hatcher and Josh Edwards, in 2020 it was Irene Riggs and Josh Edwards.

In both cases, it was a Morgantown girls cross country team member, and University’s Josh Edwards, crossing the finish line first at the state meet.

Riggs, the talented freshman on coach Michael Ryan’s Lady Mohigans team, led virtually the entire way during Saturday’s Girls Triple-A Cross Country State Championship meet at Cabell Midland High School. Edwards, coach Ed Frohnapfel’s talented junior, did the same during the boys’ meet that followed.

Riggs crossed the finish line with a time of 17:59.82, claiming another individual state title for the Morgantown Mohigans. And in the final race of the day, Edwards was the first to finish, with a time of 15 minutes and 25.48 seconds, claiming his second straight individual state crown.

Morgantown and University not only both lived up to the high expectations that were there coming into this season, but continued a “Decade of Dominance” that has been seen by teams around the region, but especially these two schools’ cross country programs.

Ryan’s Lady Mohigans claimed their fourth state title since the start of the 2011 season, and Frohnapfel’s Hawks boys claimed their fourth team championship since 2013.

With the Lady Mohigans’ team championship, the Class AAA Cross Country State Championship has been awarded to either Morgantown or University every year dating back to 2010. The Lady Hawks have won six team state titles, and the Lady Mohigans have now won five in that stretch.

Morgantown’s girls and boys cross country teams following their performance at the Cross Country State Championship on Saturday. (Photo by Abbie Backenstoe / WBOY)

Not only did Riggs finish first to take the girls individual state title, but teammate and defending state champ Lea Hatcher, finished behind her in second place (18:28.88). Hatcher missed some time this season due to injury, on top of all the time Monongalia County athletes missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hatcher is the reigning Gatorade WV Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

Morgantown and University cross country runners didn’t run their first race until October 1.

University’s Caroline Kirby (19:07.91), who recently committed to run collegiately at Syracuse, finished in fourth place. Teammate Mia Murray placed fifth (19:13.30)

Morgantown placed all six of its runners in the top 15, Saturday.

Preston’s Allie Martin (19:51.24) finished seventh, Morgantown’s Jennifer O’Palko (19:58.78) placed eighths, and Knights’ Abby Nolan (20:06.48) finished ninth.

University’s cross country teams pose for pictures following their performance at the Cross Country State Championship on Saturday. (Photo by Abbie Backenstoe / WBOY)

Morgantown and University’s girls teams were the only two with team scores under 100. Preston finished fourth as a team.

Edwards, the reigning state champ, was followed by teammate Rocco DeVincent, who finished second (16:15.12).

Edwards is the reigning Gatorade WV Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

Morgantown’s Quinn Jacquez (16:24.39) placed fourth, followed by University’s Jordan Thomas (16:33.13), and Mohigans teammate Jackson Snyder (16:37.74).

Like in the girls’ race, the University and Morgantown boys were the only boys teams with scores under 100.

Full results from the Triple-A meet can be found here.

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