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The Press Box for July 31

By Staff | Jul 31, 2019

A few weeks back the State Board of Education passed a proposal allowing a fourth high school basketball class starting with the 2020-2021 season. The change is long overdue and will make a major difference for many high schools who now have no chance to advance to the state basketball tournament in Charleston.

Although the change is for a two-year trial period, I believe it is here to stay. Once the states enrollment figures are in place sometime around October, the official list of schools in each classification will be released. I was talking to Bernie Dolan Executive Director of the WVSSAC on Saturday night at the OVAC All-Star football game and the conversation came down to how schools are chosen for class. I was under the impression it all had to do with enrollment, however it is much more than that.

Schools will be placed in classifications based on three factors. Enrollment plays a major part as it is 70 percent of the equation, while location and economics pick up the other 30 percent. Dolan said there will be seven games added to the boys and girls state tournaments which will expand the event to 56 total games and add a day to the state championship week. This will change the event from the current Wednesday through Saturday to Tuesday through Saturday.

It will not be a perfect cure, but the smaller Class A schools will once again have a real chance to make the trip south. The vote for the chance took place back in April, when the Board of Control voted 111-26 to add the fourth class. After the two-year trial period the Board will decide on the programs fate. If it doesn’t prove successful, they may go back to the three-class system.

It seems kind of awkward to have a four-class system in one sport while the rest of the sports teams have to continue playing in three classes and in some cases two. However, it has to start somewhere and there’s no use messing up all sports before you know if it will work or not.

Speaking of basketball, the Best Virginia team made up of former Mountaineers fell to the four-time defending champion Overseas Elite 80-68 on Saturday in Richmond. Best Virginia was eliminated from the tournament after Overseas extended its winning streak to 27 games. Best Virginia was up by one with three minutes to go in the first half, but Overseas took a halftime lead of 44-34 and Best Virginia couldn’t get control again. The WVU alumni squad was coached by former Mountaineer player Jared West, Morgantown High School coach Dave Tallman, Jr., and former WVU assistant Billy Hahn.

It was great watching the 50-year OVAC Football team alumni walking on the field during a timeout on Saturday night. Two former players from Paden Citys 1969 team were on the squad but couldn’t make the event. I was hoping to see them and get a picture.

The Jim Quinet memorial 5-K Run/Walk was held on Saturday, in downtown New Martinsville, with 163 taking part.

It was a nice race with awards in several classes. Drinks and treats were handed out following the race. I particuarly liked watching the members of Magnolia’s 1961-62 class as they crossed the finish line. Those guys were great high school athletes back then and are still competitors.

Paden City and Tyler Consolidated will be taking to the fields on Monday as the start of another high school football season officially begins with the first practice. We are only a month away from the first game, both school will play their first contest on the road with the first home game on September 6. August is usually the hotest time of year so make sure you have plenty of fluids. Try and get in the best condition you can in these four weeks. The better shape your in the least chance there is of suffering an injury.

Also the boys and girls soccer teams, cross country teams, the cheerleaders and golf teams will be practicing. I believe volleyball starts up in a couple weeks. However if your like most kids you’ve been out on the fields, running the hills and in the weight rooms already. We’re looking for some exciting moments this season, so work hard, do the best you can and good luck.

I go out everynight and walk 3-4 miles and sometimes further. On Friday, I started walking around 11 p.m. and finished close to 12:30 a.m. I got up early and made it up to New Martinsville for the Jim Quinet 5-K race. I finished that and then decided to mow two yards and do some trimming. Later on I went to the OVAC All-Star football game. Sunday morning I could hardly move, I hurt all over, not knowing what was wrong. Later I figured it out, to much walking and to much work. I might have to start working out with the cross country teams if I’m going to keep this up. I got a lot of exercise the last few years ….just getting over the hill. One more reason I walk, we all get heavier as we get older, because there’s a lot more information in our heads. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com