High school track and field teams from around the area will have their best opportunity yet to measure themselves early in the season at the BB&T Classic today at Laidley Field.Field events start at 4:30 p.m. Running events will get underway shortly after at around 4:45.According to meet director and George Washington athletic director Sean Wheeler, the meet has continued to grow each year and today's event is no exception."It's grown every year we've had it and this is by far the biggest field we've had," Wheeler said. "We've had 18 teams before, but we have 25 coming this year. I really wasn't anticipating this many, but the entries just kept coming in [Wednesday]. I'm excited to see all the teams. I've never done a meet this big before."
This year's Classic will include all of the usual suspects with all nine Kanawha County schools and all four Putnam County schools making an appearance. Hurricane and Winfield will bring boys teams ranked in the Class AAA top 10 in the runwv.com Power Rankings. The Generals come in at No. 3 and the Redskins No. 7. Hurricane is ranked No. 6 on the girls side.A few out-of-state schools will also make the trek to Charleston, including Fairland and Marietta from Ohio as well as Fairview, Ky.
"We've got some strong teams and we've got some teams we don't really know much about," Wheeler said. "We've got some teams that don't normally come down. I think it just fell on a good weekend. A lot of people don't like to run on Saturdays anymore. We've also got a good corporate sponsor. Plus, I've ran good meets in the past and hopefully that had something to do with the large number of teams as well."Despite the bloated field, Wheeler hopes to wrap up the meet at a decent time."Our goal is to be done before 11," he said. "We do a good job at Laidley Field typically with getting the clock reset and getting ready to go on to the sprints."Other schools coming include Philip Barbour, Tucker County, Parkersburg, Ripley, Scott, Logan, Chapmanville, Bluefield, East Fairmont, Huntington, Mingo Central, Oak Hill, Shady Spring, Sherman, Spring Valley, Valley, Wayne and Woodrow Wilson. The Cabell Midland girls will also participate.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org
, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.