We watch them grow up before our eyes.
We remember where they went to elementary school, to junior high, and naturally, we remember their high school careers.
We passionately follow the careers of local athletes in hopes that once they leave Parkersburg, they will make an impact on the sports world.
Five local athletes are doing just that.
Four wrestlers from the city of Parkersburg will be competing in the NCAA wrestling tournament in St. Louis March 20-22, while one city basketball player is competing in the Division II East Regional.
Start with the wrestlers.
Former Parkersburg High School state champion Chance Litton will be representing West Virginia University at the NCAA meet after finishing as the runner-up in the Eastern Wrestling League championships on Saturday.
Litton reached the finals of the 174-pound competition to earn his first NCAA bid. Litton dropped a 7-3 decision in the championship match to Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh, the nation’s No. 1 seeded wrestler at 174.
Litton will have some company when he gets to St. Louis. That’s because three former Parkersburg South wrestlers will be there, representing Liberty University. Competing in the NCAA East Regional conducted at Liberty, former Patriots Chad Porter, Aaron Kelley and Chris Daggett claimed regional championships, and they did so in back-to-back-to-back weight classes.
Porter, the top seed at 174 pounds, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year when he pinned No. 2 seed Brandon Gardner of Delaware State in six minutes and 24 seconds.
That was just four seconds less than Kelly needed to record his fall in the 174 pound title match. Kelly, the top seed, used 6:28 to pin No. 3 seed Jeremy Brooks of Millersville.
Finally, at 184, Daggett, also the top seed, registered a 16-6 victory over Nyan Sula of Duquesne.
There’s little doubt Parkersburg would have had five wrestlers representing the city at the NCAA meet had two-time WVU all-American Brandon Rader, a four-time state champion at PHS, not had his season stopped by injury.
Rader qualified as an all-American his freshmen and sophomore seasons and was looking forward to competing for a national title this year.
Speaking of local athletes doing good, former Parkersburg South basketball standout Aaron Dobson has continued his career and his winning ways at Division II Mount Olive College in North Carolina.
Dobson and his teammates have qualified for the East Regional being conducted at California (Pa.).
The Trojans will be the No. 2 seed and will meet No. 7 seed Pitt-Johnstown, which was the runnerup in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, on Saturday.
The winner of the regional advances to the Elite Eight.
I remember —as do many Parkersburg sports fans —watching all five of these young men compete on the local level. Now, we get to proudly watch them take the national stage.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com