Nearly every fall, Wood County sports fans proudly point out that the football programs at all four high schools -Parkersburg High, Parkersburg South, Parkersburg Catholic and Williamstown -finish with winning records and qualify for the state playoffs.
That once again happened in the recently-completed 2011 campaign.
This winter, another remarkable feat is taking place. Of the eight basketball teams representing the four high schools -the boys and girls teams -seven enter play this week with winning records.
Not only are the programs successful, but each seeks out the best available competition. Catholic and Williamstown are rivals in the rugged North Division of the Little Kanawha Conference. Parkersburg South plays in both the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and the Two Rivers Athletic Conference. Parkersburg High is a member of the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
None of those teams employs a philosophy of scheduling someone they can beat. Rather, the programs use the regular season as a learning experience, which is exactly what it is.
Unlike football, where making the playoffs is based upon your regular season performance, every basketball team qualifies for the postseason.
Thanks to the relatively new playoff system where the sectional, regional and state tournaments are seeded by the participating coaches, regular season success is meaningful for seeding and thus for home court advantage.
It's great to see Wood County teams enjoying success. Let's hope that translates into having several representatives at the state tournament next month.
We'll crown our first winter sports state champions when the Mountain State's best swimmers meet at the West Virginia University Natatorium on Thursday and Friday. Although no local team appears primed for a state championship, several individuals have a chance at bringing home the gold.
We'll also begin the road to the state wrestling meet as regional tournaments are conducted.
Fans of Parkersburg South and Parkersburg High catch a break this year as the Region 1 Tournament -which is rotated among the participating schools -will take place on Saturday at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
That's when South will begin its quest for a fourth straight team title, one that takes on added significance with the recent announcement that coach Paul Jackson will retire following next week's state meet.
Parkersburg High, meanwhile, has made great strides this season and has several individuals capable of contending for state titles.
In addition to regular season basketball, we also will have the Little Kanawha Conference Night of Champions for boys basketball, where St. Marys High School can make history by becoming the first to win both the girls and boys titles in the same year.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org