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Burcham sets state record, Midland boys win state title

Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:27 AM

ONA -- Cabell Midland boys cross country met its goals Saturday in the West Virginia high school championship meet.

Jacob Burcham, one of five seniors in the Cabell Midland starting seven, won the Class AAA race and became the first Mountain State high school runner to crack the 15-minute barrier with a 5K winning time of 14:58.04. He broke his own course record by 15 seconds.

Burcham's teammates came charging in right behind him.

Avery Campebell was third (15:58), Mason Dino eighth (16:19), Andrew Short 12th (16:33) and Brian Lawhon 13th (16:37) for 37 points. All are seniors except Short, a freshman. Also for Cabell Midland, senior Jeremy Waugh was 18th (16:40) and freshman Nick Salmons 24th (16:57).

Those performances carried Cabell Midland to the team championship with 37 points. University was second with 75 points and defending champion Jefferson third with 111.

A year ago, the Jefferson Cougars edged the Midland Knights, 60-63. Since that loss, the Knights pointed to Saturday which was cool and damp, but they didn't mind as they made it three state titles in the last four years and eight overall for the school.

"Call us the 'Redeem Team,' " Dino said. "This was real big for us after we lost."

Burcham broke from the pack at the outset and had a comfortable lead throughout. He found an extra gear as he came on the Chris Parsons Track for the final two turns and sprinted down the homestretch as fans stood and cheered.

"Definitely at the state meet," Burcham said of his desire to go under 15:00 for the first time. "I couldn't be happier than I am now. I just wanted everybody here to see it. I improved my goal. It's big for the seniors to win. That's all we've talked about. We were super focused. Everybody was prepared. It (plan) was well put together. Coach (Chris) Parsons had a lot to do with that.

Shortly after Burcham finished, announcer Pat Riley told the crowd the Knights had five runners on the track. Then they started crossing the line.

"I knew we had it," Lawhon said.

Campbell picked the ideal time to run one of his best races.

"I tried to stay with him (Burcham) as long as I could," Campbell said. "I couldn't ask for a better senior year."

After the race, Jim Parsons, father of the coach and team photographer, unveiled a small label that got the Knights excited. The message was Cabell Midland, 2012 state champs.

"That makes it so much more real," Waugh said.

It's no secret Burcham's success has attracted national attention. His teammates appreciate the notoriety and work they all put in to make this happen.

"He's modest at all times. He's not out to steal the spotlight," Waugh said.

"He's got us noticed, but he doesn't make it about himself," Lawhon said.

As for Short, he hopes Saturday's win is a sign of things to come for the Knights, who had a deep roster this season and several prominent middle school runners heading his way.

"This is amazing. I'm flabbergasted," Short said.

In Class AA-A boys, Fairmont Senior won with 92 points in its first try at this class. The school had been Class AAA. Fairmont Senior's Nick Trefz finished first in 15:53. Frankfort was second with 111.