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OVAC To Laud Class of 2016

By Staff | Aug 10, 2016

WHEELING – The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference will honor its own once again Saturday when the 13th annual OVAC Hall of Fame Ceremony takes place with the induction of the Class of 2016.

WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling returns as the site of this year’s OVAC Hall of Fame Banquet, which is sponsored by the Robinson Auto Group, after a year’s absence due to renovations of the facility.

A total of 20 individual associated with the conference will take their place among the elite who have helped make the OVAC – embarking on its 74th year – one of the premier high school athletic leagues in the nation.

This year’s inductees include:

– OVAC “Family” – Bob Koch

– OVAC “Contributor” – John Nese

– Coaches – Stan Blankenship (John Marshall), Dave Linn (Buckeye Trail) and Tom West (Valley).

– Media – Jimmy Mountain

– Official – Andy Cross

– 1940s Athlete – John “Jay” Handlan (Triadelphia)

– 1950s Athletes – Eddie Becker (Wheeling) and Neil Habig (Wheeling Central)

– 1960s Athletes – Rob Munn (Bridgeport) and Ben Wiley (Powhatan)

– 1970s Athletes – Jim Wood (Steubenville Catholic) and Jim Woofter (Oak Glen)

– 1980s Athletes – Kim Augur (East Liverpool) and Dave Delande (St. Clairsville)

– 1990s Athletes – Jodi Bates Starr (Meadowbrook) and Matt Powell (Barnesville)

– 2000s Athletes – Zach Amedro (John Marshall) and Kacie Vavrek (Bellaire)

Five “Legends of OVAC Member Schools” will also be recognized at the banquet, including Dick Larkins (East Liverpool), Amie Marks Cormell (Jewett-Scio), Ron Martin (Caldwell), Ray Montgomery (Warwood) and Pete Zinaich (Weir).

The “Legends” category recognizes athletes and coaches who competed prior to the inception of the OVAC in 1943 or while their schools were not members of the conference.

This year’s group of inductees bring the 13-year total of Hall of Famers to 237, with 60 others honored in the “Legends” category.

A special Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Oglebay Park and the Wheeling Park Commission, which opened its Oglebay Speidel and Crispin golf courses for the conference golf championships as well as hosting such events as the George Strager Evening with the Stars at Wheeling Park’s White Palace.

Plaques of the OVAC Hall of Fame inductees are on permanent display in the outer concourse at WesBanco Arena as part of the OVAC Museum.

The OVAC Hall of Fame selection committee includes Tom Rataiczak, executive secretary/treasurer of the OVAC; Jeff Harrison, sports editor of The Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge; Doug Huff, retired sports editor of The Intelligencer in Wheeling; Robert “Bubba” Kapral, executive sports editor of The Times Leader/The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register; Ron Mauck, long-time OVAC Wrestling Championship director; Kelly Rine, athletics director at St. Clairsville High School; Tom Tisher, teacher/coach at Magnolia High School; Dick Wolf, former East Liverpool City Schools Board of Education member; Don Zinni, former OVAC Football Commissioner; Seth Staskey, sports editor of The Times Leader in Martins Ferry; and Bob Koch, director of the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game.

John Sorrenti, former sports director of WEIR radio, will again serve as master of ceremonies while Pastor David Demarest of the Rock Hill Presbyterian Church will offer the invocation and benediction.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 and the induction ceremony starts at 6:30.