Ask any golfer from Parkersburg High School or Parkersburg South, the City Cup is a coveted piece of hardware.
The bragging rights which coincide with victory are just as important because they last for a calendar year.
For the fifth straight year, the two programs will meet in a match play format beginning at 1 p.m. today at Parkersburg Country Club. A total of 16 golfers. Eight on each side going head-to-head.
The intensity doesn't rival that of the Ryder Cup or the thousands of fans who attend a Big Red-Patriot football game, but this particular event has established a unique identity.
Golfers are treated like it's the real deal. From the first time they step on the tee box and hear their name announced by PCC golf professional Scott Davidson to the moment they shake hands with their opponent for a match well-played.
The Big Reds are defending champions, but South holds the series edge by a 3-1 margin.
"Our kids started talking about the City Cup last year," South coach Sherry Morris said. "It was the first time they lost it and they want it back."
South must win the event outright to prevent PHS from retaining the Cup. A 4-4 tie does the Patriots no good.
In the first half of the season, PHS dominated South in stroke play. The Patriots' have crept ever so close in recent weeks, including a four-stroke defeat during a tri-meet with Marietta last week at Woodridge Golf Club.
The Patriots' youth has grown up. Their roster today will be led by the foursome of Trent McCutcheon, Bryce Gainer, Aaron Lamp and Alex Schreckengost.
PHS answers with an eight-man crew of Alan Cooke, Mason Humphrey, Michael Katchur, Ryan Anderson, Lucas Prine, Austin Davis, Lauryn Davidson and Michael West.
The lineups won't be announced until the 1 p.m. start time. Odds are the Big Reds three seniors (Cooke, Humphrey and Katchur) will play a pivotal role. Especially Humphrey, who was co-medalist at Monday's Mountain State Athletic Conference Meet.
"I'm not sure who will lead us out," PHS coach Don Snider said. "I would like to get off to a good start and Mason is playing well."
One thing South didn't want to see was PHS getting into a rhythm with the City Cup around the corner. The Big Reds placed third at MSAC then had four golfers each shoot 39 in Tuesday's tri-meet with Ripley and Ravenswood at PCC.
"If ever there was a time to do it, this was the time," Snider said.
Belpre, which played each division member twice, finished 16-0 after defeating South Gallia and Federal Hocking on Tuesday at Oxbow Golf and Country Club.
"We picked two nights to play our best golf, and those two were against the best competition we went against in the form of Waterford," Belpre coach Scott Miller said. "Anytime you go undefeated in a league where you are having to play home-and-away is saying something. I'm so pleased."
Contact Kerry Patrick at email@example.com