by Jamie Harris
It seems each year a prolific group of male or female cross country and track athletes graduate Berkeley Springs High School with numerous state championships or all-state honors.
In the past, names such as Valerie Peer, Rachel Buser, Megan Mock, Tone Belt, Lenny Hovermale, Shaun Spielman, Corey Shetler, Danielle Haynes, Kinsey Reed, Keri Shetler, Steven Shetler, Matt Chapman, Brady Price and many others have all etched their names in the history books of Berkeley Springs High School cross country and track programs.
In May another runner who is highly decorated with state championships and all-state honors graduated from the elite running club from Berkeley Springs High School. Stephanie Golden graduated with two state championships, 11 all state place finishes and three state team titles (two in cross country and one in track).
The Golden girl made her impact during her freshman year in the fall of 2014. That season saw Golden finish in ninth place in the Class A/AA Region II Championships. A week later she earned her first All-State honors with a 10th place finish in the Class A/AA State Cross Country Championships. To cap that off Golden was part of the Berkeley Springs Lady Indians State Cross Country Team Championship.
Later in the spring of 2015 Golden kept turning out amazing performances on the track. At the Class A/AA Region II Championships she was second in the 800 meters and 1600 meters to teammate Kinsey Reed. Golden was also third in the 3200 meters. In the 4×400 meter relay Golden teamed up with Keri Shetler, Ashley Griffin and Danielle Haynes to finish second. Then in the 4×800 meter relay Golden teamed up with Reed, Haynes and Shetler to capture the regional championship.
A week later in the Class A/AA State Track and Field Championships Golden was an integral part of the Lady Indians amazing upset in the state team standings. In the state meet Golden captured her first individual state title as she edged teammate Reed in the 800 meters. Golden then finished third in the 1600 meters and was second in the 4×400 meter relay with Shetler, Haynes and Griffin. In the 4×800 meter relay Golden captured her second state title as she teamed up with Shetler, Haynes and Reed to dominate the field. At the end of the state meet Golden was part of another state championship team as the Lady Indians edged the mighty Bridgeport Indians by .33 points for the state team title.
Golden’s sophomore season saw the talented runner finish in third place at the 2015 Class A/AA Region II Championships, but her efforts along with teammates Amanda Lupton, Brooke Davison, Alex Banks, Ciara McDaniel and Eliza Caperton propelled the Lady Indians to another regional team championship.
At the Class A/AA State Cross Country Championships Golden had amazing second place finish to powerhouse runner Jessica Melvin from Philip Barbour. Once again Golden and her running mates were the “Queens” of the Class A/AA Cross Country State Championships as the Lady Indians dominated the field to capture their second straight team state title.
In the spring of 2016 Golden was back on the track ready to add to her impressive resume. At the Class A/AA Region II Championships Golden finished second in the 800 meters, fourth in the 1600 meters and second in the 3200 meters. Golden then teamed up with Banks, Davison and Lupton to capture the regional championship in the 4×800 meter relay.
A week later at the Class A/AA State Track and Field Championships Golden added a fourth place finish in the 800 meters, a third place finish in the 1600 meters, a second place finish in the 3200 meters and a third place finish in the 4×800 meter relay with Banks, Davison, and Lupton to her accolades.
Entering the fall of 2016 Golden was already a two time state champion, an eight time all state place winner, and a three time state team champion. But the junior was looking to add more state medals to her total. However injuries, an eating disorder and anxiety caused Golden’s cross country season to be one of ups and downs. Golden was able to qualify for the state meet, but despite the lagging issues she was not a factor at the state meet.
That spring of 2017 the biggest question going around the West Virginia high school track season was if Golden was returning. Golden answered that when she showed glimpses of her dominance at the Class A/AA Region I Championships. Golden finished third in the 800 meters, third in the 1600 meters, fourth in the 4×400 meter relay with Hynnja Dietrich, Davison and Destiny Bohrer. Golden then teamed up with Banks, Davison and Lupton to capture the 4×800 regional championship.
A week later Golden made her return to the Class A/AA State Track and Field Championships. Once again Golden was able to bring home more state medals as she finished fifth in the 1600 meters and third in the 4×800 meter relay with Banks, Bohrer and Davison. Even though she did not place Golden finished in seventh place in the 800 meters and 10th place in the 4×400 meter relay.
Entering her senior year Golden was once again on a quest to prove that she had recovered from her junior season. The fall of 2017 saw Golden and the Lady Indians cross country team capture another regional team championship and entering the state meet Berkeley Springs was considered a favorite for a team title. Golden also finished in 10th place in the regional championships with a strong run.
At the Class A/AA State Cross Country Championships Golden finished in 31st place. However, the Lady Indians were able to finish in third place in the team standings.
This past spring, Golden was back on the track for one final run as a Lady Indian runner. Once again at the Class AA Regional Championship Golden added another regional championship to her accolades as teamed with long time teammates Banks, Davison and freshman Belle Harvey to capture the 4×800 regional championship.
The following week at the Class AA State Track and Field Championships Golden and her 4×800 meter team picked up her final state medal as the team finished in third place in the 4×800 meter relay.
When speaking with Golden about her outstanding running career for the Berkeley Springs High School Lady Indians the WVU bound student was very humble. “I’d say that my most exciting moment would have to be my freshman year when I became a state champion in the 800 meters. Crossing that line in first place is a moment I’ll never forget. Other moments that will always stick with me are placing second in the state cross country meet my sophomore year and winning back-to-back state titles in cross country in 2014 and 2015. The biggest moments that have defined my career aren’t the times when I won. Although those were amazing times, but the ones that defined me came later. My junior year in when a combination of injuries, eating problems and anxiety almost got the best of me. I wanted to quit, but I kept going, and I’m so happy that I did. A big moment was the state meet that year when despite the doctor telling me not to run, I did. I did it to prove to myself that I was strong enough to support my team. It wasn’t about what place I got, it was about finishing the race. I regained my strength and the ultimate comeback was becoming the WV Wendy’s High School Heisman Award recipient and having a great senior season,” stated Golden.
Berkeley Springs will be missing their “Golden” runner next fall, but she proved without a doubt that she was one of the best that ever put on a Lady Indians cross country and track uniform with her efforts.
by Jamie Harris