As another year is about to pass and sports for 2016 will come to and end, I would like to say it’s been a pleasure covering for the local teams sports at the Tyler Star News and I hope 2017 is just as exciting. It’s been my pleasure to watch as athletes from the local high schools to former athletes who now compete for Universities and colleges continue to bring us something to cheer about and be proud of.
I have always been a big sports fan and local sports in particular have been my favorite. There have been some great coaches and athletes over the years in our schools and that tradition seems to continue.
We may not make it to the state playoffs or championships as often as we would like but we still manage to sneak in once in a while and even bring home a championship on occasion. It’s getting tougher and tougher each year with the new realignments and classifications, but our kids somehow continue to thrive and stay respectable.
During the past couple years our kids have been to the State Volleyball Tournament, the football team has made the playoffs. And some kids have been state track champs. Cross country, baseball, wrestling and cheerleading always have competitive teams. Tyler and Wetzel counties have been blessed with great athletes over the years.
My wish this Christmas season is for all area athletes, coaches, fans and volunteers to have a very Merry Christmas and a safe, successful and healthy Happy New Year! And may God bless you in all that you do.
Wildcat Roots run deep!
This year St. Marys won the Class A state football championship. Playing Quarterback for the Blue Devils and captain of the first team All-State defensive unit this year was Will Billeter.
Billeter comes from a long line of sports stars from Paden City High School. His Father Brad Billeter was a three sport standout for Paden City from 1989-91 and a four year letterman in basketball, football and baseball. Brad also played in the OVAC All-Star Football game and was honorable mentioned as an All-State baseball player. During his senior year at the annual All Sports Banquet Brad received the outstanding athlete award for the graduating class of 1991. Brad’s sister and Will’s aunt Courtney Billeter was also an outstanding athlete at Paden City high school from 1992-95 when she competed in Basketball, Volleyball and was a member of the state championship cheer leading team.
Ironically Courtney also won the 1995 outstanding athlete award at the school’s All Sports banquet as she earned 21 letters during her playing days.
Will’s mother Jill was from Sistersville where she was an all state track performer and school record holder. Jill is the Daughter of Roger Romine a current member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and a former teacher at Paden City High School where he taught when Will’s grandmother Pam (Smittle) Billeter was a student and a classmate of mine. Pam was a majorette in the famous Wildcat Marching band and the fastest girl runner in the high school.
Will’s grandpa and Brad’s father Steve Billeter was also a three sport standout for Paden City from 1965-68 where he played football, basketball and ran track.
Pam’s uncle Walter Smittle 111, was a member of Paden City’s state championship team of 1960 and her Father Dillion Smittle was an outstanding basketball and football player in his own right, graduating from Magnolia high school in 1930 and is a member of the schools Hall of Fame.
The people of Paden City have good reason to be proud of Will Billeter and his accomplishments at St. Marys high school. It just seems like yesterday when I was officiating grasshopper basketball at the old Paden City middle school and a group of youngsters from St. Mary’s led by Will Billeter won the tournament. Grandpa Steve and Grandma Pam were so proud. At the time I told Steve the boy was going to be a good one. He sure didn’t let them down and I look for him to continue playing somewhere after high school. Congratulations to a great family. It is well deserved.