CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Coaches Association named Frankfort High School head track and field coach Amanda Moreland the West Virginia Girls Track Coach of the Year last Saturday night during the North-South All-Star Football game banquet.
A 1998 graduate of Frankfort, Moreland is a member of the Potomac State College Athletics Hall of Fame. She began coaching track and cross country at Frankfort in 2004, becoming the head track coach in 2006. She has coached 30 all-state individual winners, 13 all-state relay teams, one state champion relay team, which set the school record, 20 individual state champions, two state runner-up teams (2010, 2012) and this year’s state champion team.
After an agonizing near-miss last year, Moreland guided Frankfort to the first West Virginia girls team state championship in school history last month, as the Falcons ran away with the Class AA title at Laidley Field.
Led by the remarkable repeat performances of Bria Welker and Katie Jan, the Frankfort girls track team joined the 1988 Frankfort baseball team as the only teams in school history to win a state title.
“For decades, Frankfort girls athletics has been above average in everything,” Moreland said the day after her Falcons won the title. “Unfortunately, we were not able to put it together at the right time. We’ve had really good athletes come through who have gone to college to play, but we’ve not been quite able to do it.
“Frankfort’s been so strong through the years, since the school opened ... I just hope more banners will be going in the gym from now on.”
Having fallen short by two points last season, the Falcons won it all going away this year in putting 82 points on the board to second-place Bridgeport’s 64. Welker and Jan, both seniors, completed their historic Frankfort careers by repeating their performances of a year go — with Welker winning four individual state titles and Jan winning three.
Jan repeated as state champion in the distance races, taking the 800 meters in 2:19.02, the 1600 in 5:09.38 and the 3200 in 11:26.78. She was also on the 4 x 400 relay team that finished fourth in a time of 4:18.06 with Brooke Snyder, Sarah Dayton and McKenna Miller. The Falcons also finished fourth in the 4 x 100-meter relay in 52.31 seconds with the team of Madison Pfaff, Dayton, Snyder and Miller.
Welker finished first in the 100-meter dash (12.47 seconds) and the 200-meter dash (25.67 seconds), falling short of the state record she set a year ago. She also tied her state record of a year ago to win the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.13 seconds, with her fourth state title coming in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in a time of 45.45 seconds.
Last year Welker won those titles after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee, an injury suffered while playing basketball. This year she repeated her four championships after tearing her left ACL in October playing soccer.
“It still hasn’t set in,” Moreland said. “When the banner’s on the wall in the gym, I guess it’ll sink in then. Those girls who went to Charleston did a fabulous job and I owe it to them. They ran the races, they competed in the field events ... I know what it feels like as a coach, and I’m sure those girls are as ecstatic as I am.”
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org