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By Staff | Jul 11, 2018

Every school in the Valley has had their fair share of great athletes and coaches at one time or another. Trying to figure out the greatest for each school would be next to impossible, but I think it would bring some debate.

A friend of mine recently came up with a sheet of paper listing every school in the Valley and beyond. He had named a couple players for each of the schools that he thought were the best. I looked it over and right away I had to agree with him on some, and disagree on others.

Some of the schools he named are no longer in existence or have consolidated. I thought it might be fun to pick four or five schools and see what the readers think. Within the next few weeks we would like to put out a 25-member team consisting of the greatest sports players from the following schools: Paden City High School, Middlebourne/Tyler County High School, Sistersville High School, Valley High School, Pine Grove High School, Reader High School, Smithfield High School, Tyler Consolidated High School, Hundred High School, Magnolia High School, and River High School. We would also like to have three head coaches.

This is going to be a controversial topic, so we would like some input from the readers. We will be running this in about a month or so, so get your votes in to me at eparsons@tylerstarnews.com or bcrawford@wetzelchronicle.com

If you have any stats, information or comments concerning the athletes or coaches you choose, please include them. We would like to hear from you. We will try to include a picture and short write-up on the winners.

By the time this coming school year is over, we may have to reconsider the list. There are several quality athletes in the area, and who knows when one will have a breakout career. I can only think back when they said Michael Jordan wasn’t good enough for his high school team. Look how that ended up.

Some of the local boys got a taste of the Beast of the East baseball this past week. If you wanted to see some great young players, there were games in several different locations – Moundsville, John Marshall, 1-470, Elm Grove, Barnsville and more. Teams from all over the area and several states converged on the scene to display their talent and skills.

Football season is only about a month away from the first day of high school practice. The famed OVAC All-Star game is July 28, at the Island, and camp for the players is only three weeks away. It’s a big event that gives a lot of kids the chance to play one final time. Cheerleaders often get their last chance to cheer, and band members their last chance to be a part of something big (the McDonald’s All-Star Band). Don’t forget the pageant for Queen is also part of the night. Who will be crowned is always exciting.

Paden City has a new athletic director for the second year in a row. Robert Price was hired by the board on Monday, July 2, at the board’s regular scheduled meeting. Price is from Morgantown and is a teacher at Paden City High School. We here at the local papers wish him the best and offer him any assistance we can as far as covering local sporting events.

Lots of the local athletes have been working out in the weight rooms and on the fields. Some have been in the gym. This is how you improve as players – you practice hard, spend the necessary time to get better, and learn to follow instructions. When playing a sport, block everything else out and concentrate on what you’re doing.

After watching some summer basketball and volleyball over the past two weeks, I noticed a big improvement in several kids. I’ve always said kids can be as good as they want to be. It’s up to them. Don’t let the idle, negative talk get you down. Block it out and keep positive.

I’m not a big fan of change. I think change only needs to happen if it has to happen. Coaches who have grown with a system should be allowed to remain with the system. I dislike when outsiders try to persuade or influnence decisions regarding who coaches or who plays. I also don’t like the idea of free agency in any sport. I believe that may be where it all started with private schools here in W.Va. They saw it happen on the big screen and thought, “Why not with us as well. We can have a win-win here. Recruit a few from town, a few from out of state, a few homegrowns – and offer them more. They can’t pass that up!”

I hate to see Lebron James leave Cleveland. However, I hate just as much to see local people passed over as coaches for those from out of the area. I would like to see a rule that you have to teach at the school you coach at.

I can remember the time when if you lived in a town, that’s where you played. If you coached there, that’s where you taught. When we hear about private schools recruiting and the big Class A movement against it, we also have to look at how public schools now operate. In Paden City alone there are around 70 kids who leave town to attend other schools. The Wildcats lose lots of good ball players because of it. Why not start a campaign to keep our kids at Paden City High School. How can we downgrade our coaches when we know they are at a disadvantage, not only from the private schools, but their own residents as well.

In a local community this past year, two girls attended a school outside of their own community and county, and ended up playing on a Class AA state championship team. Can you imagine what they could have done for their own town’s team? It is not just the private schools but our own people hurting us as well. It’s in nearly every community. I am in agreement the private schools go above and beyond to get the best, and they actually recruit while the hometown people mostly make the decisions themselves. Still, both hurt.

There is a new private school in the area, which will open its doors this fall. While some believe it will not affect the public schools in the area, I believe it will eventually have an affect on every high school in four counties if it is successful. I know of several people who have already enrolled their children. It is a Christian school and probably a much-needed one. As of now it’s only K-8. Time will soon tell how it will grow.

Paden City had their alumni events this past weekend, and I had the opportunity to take in the alumni basketball game. Twelve former Wildcats suited up and put on quite the show. None, however, outplayed Aaron Heasley who knocked in somewhere around 45 points – maybe even more. There were some good players playing, including Michael King – former Waynesburg College great who hit some big threes and played a nice floor game. I think one of the neat things was watching Zack Yeater play against his dad David Yeater. Dad won the battle, I think. As we always say, father knows best. Just kidding Zack!

Luke Cooper, Kennedy Cain, Drew Bidwell, Deven Price, Logan Carroll, Craig Allen, Steve Logston and Andrew Dennis all took part. I got there just a little late and wanted to play, but I was afraid they might say it wasn’t fair. I saw one of Paden City’s greatest ever athletes in the stands. He is also one of their greatest supporters. I am sure he would like to go back and play some as well. Don’t forget to cast your nomination for the greatest athlete in your area. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com