With the end of high school sports for a season, West Virginia schools will emerge next season with changes in classifications that have been made by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission. These changes will remain in effect until 2016.
Class-A will have some new faces to compete with. Tyler Consolidated and Magnolia high schools - formerly Class-AA schools - will start the 2012-13 season in Class-A, joining Paden City, Hundred, and Valley high schools.
Some sports, like soccer, cross country, and wrestling, will not be affected. But basketball, baseball, softball, golf, track, volleyball, and cheerleading will be.
In cheerleading, Magnolia and Tyler will compete with Bishop Donahue, Cameron, Hundred, Madonna, Paden City, St Marys, Valley, and Wheeling Central. In volleyball, there are two sections in Region One. In section one, Magnolia is mixed with Madonna, Cameron, Bishop Donahue, and Wheeling Central. Section two will be comprised of Paden City, Valley, and Hundred who will lock horns with Clay-Battelle, St. Marys, and Tyler Consolidated.
Basketball will also have two sections in Region One. Bishop, Cameron, Hundred, Madonna, Wheeling Central, and Magnolia will compete in section one, while Clay-Battelle, St. Marys, Paden City, Trinity, Tyler Consolidated, and Valley will compete in section two.
Baseball and softball will have four sections. Bishop, Madonna and Wheeling Central are in section one; Cameron, Magnolia, and Paden City are in section two; Clay-Battelle, Hundred, and Trinity make up section three; and Tyler, St. Marys, and Valley will go head-to-head in section four.
In track, Magnolia will tangle with, Bishop, Cameron, Clay-Battelle, Madonna, Paden City, St. Marys, Tyler Consolidated, Valley, and Wheeling Central.
Cross Country will stay the same, but will also compete with Braxton County, East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior, North Marion, and Webster County.
Magnolia will open its football season against Linsly Aug. 25 at Wheeling Island and will add Wheeling Central and Steubenville Central to go along with hold-overs Williamstown and Tyler Consolidated. River, Monroe Central, Oak Glen, Weir, and Barnesville kept the Eagles on their schedule, while Grafton, Robert C. Byrd, and Wayne high schools said goodbye.
Magnolia Head Track Coach Matt Quinet said his team will be unaffected by the SSAC changes. "I don't think it will make too much of a difference. We all compete throughout the season at many different meets. It will give our boys something to work harder for in practice," said Quinet.
It's summer vacation for students attending high schools. For those who participate in high school athletics, the time off is not very long.
Starting this past Monday, high school coaches are allowed to work with their players during a three-week period. In most part its a great rule. Coaches in some sports have camps or workshops to prepare their athletes for the upcoming season, such as giving them offensive and defensive plays to work on.
Other coaches may get their athletes engaged in summer tournaments and spikeouts, 7-7 passing contests, where the sessions are used for conditioning the players.
This three-week window can be tough on the kids and their parents, especially if they play multiple sports. One day they practice volleyball, the next day they shoot hoops. And, after all that, they find time to get some conditioning in, work at a job, or mow lawns. There doesn't seem to be much time to be a kid and go swimming, to church camp, or on a family vacation. It's also difficult for parents, getting their children around to multiple activities.
It might sound like I'm not in favor of it, but I am - somewhat. I am a coach and love to be able to use that time to help prepare the skills. However, I also appreciate the need for kids to be kids. And I respect the challenges faced by parents.
I have in the past listed the award winners in different sports, such as all-state, all-valley, all-conference. Not because I needed the space, but to give the kids the recognition they deserved.
We did get a few players from our area in the OVAC All-Star gala, set for July 29 at Wheeling Island. Tyler Consolidated's Evan Cline, Paden City's Taylor Still; and Magnolia's Jayson Keller and Bentley Knight will wear the Blue and Gold for the Mounties.
However, I was flabbergasted when Valley, Hundred, and River High schools were omitted from participating in the 65th Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic.
I know the OVAC head coaches choose whomever they want and are limited to selecting a maximum number of players from each school for a maximum of 33 players on one team. They are suppose to "try" and get at least one player from each school.
But, my problem is: how can you miss the fastest Class-A runner in the state, who also was the second leading rusher in the valley and whose performance was outstanding on defense and special teams?
I do not want to detract from any of the players that made the team, but it's really difficult for me to grasp how Valley's Casey Pingley could be passed over.
In addition, I would like to thank whoever is responsible for getting new bleachers at the Paden City High School Berger Field.
The visiting side of the stadium was in bad shape, as well as its press box.
I haven't found out the who, what, and when, but I just had to show a picture of the visitors' bleachers being dismantled. In the future, I hope to have all the information about the new bleachers at Berger Field when they are completed.