Ever tried to play football without a ball?
For that matter have you ever tried to play any sport that requires a ball without having a ball?
What's the point, you ask.
Well, that is exactly what Morgantown head track coaches Mike Ryan (boys) and Steve Blinco (girls) are attempting to deal with as they lead the Mohigans for the first time this spring.
"We have 11 schools in Mon County and all of us have to practice at a middle school," explained Blinco. "Some times we have to practice late at night because of the rotation and then there are days when we can't practice there at all because there is a middle school meet."
Blinco and his No. 2 ranked (Class AAA) Mohigans were at the Erickson All-Sports Facility last Friday night to participate in the inaugural Two Rivers Athletic Conference championships. Morgantown won the girls' division by a six-point margin, 135-129, over runner-up Wheeling Park while the Morgantown boys finished third behind Wheeling Park and the host Patriots from Parkersburg South.
"Our 4 by 200 meter relay team was disqualified at our first meet of the year because they did not understand the different colors used to mark the exchange zones on the track," explained Ryan. "I couldn't really blame the kids because that was the first time many of them had been on a real track."
While not as drastic as the circumstances faced by their TRAC rivals, Parkersburg South head coaches Steve Fox (boys) and Shawn Shockey (girls) are having to deal with an aging track that is in desperate need of repair.
"We have some areas where the track is sinking," said Fox. "At the very least the entire track needs to be resurfaced."
The price tag for that job, however, hovers around the $80,000 mark.
President of the Erickson All-Sports Facility committee Rick Bush has already approached the Wood County School board about concerning the matter. But, with county school budgets already stretched to the limit, an immediate answer was not given to the long time head of the girls' soccer program at Parkersburg South.
Can you have a successful track and field program without having quality facilities? Obviously, the girls and boys programs at Morgantown have proven that you can. But, that success comes with a price as the Mohigans are on the road every weekend.
* On a more positive note Friday's TRAC meet gave me an opportunity to speak with one of the top athletes to ever call Wood County home.
Serving as the pole vault coach for the Mohigans was former-Parkersburg High School standout Jeff Core. The proud father of two boys-Jackson (10) and Preston (8)-Core continues to excel as the event he loves.
Most recently the physcial education teacher at both Morgantown and University High Schools traveled to the Masters Nationals at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. where he won with a vault of 15-feet, 1-inch.
Core, who set a state record in the event in 1989, began his love with pole vault during his eighth grade year at Hamilton Junior High School. It's nice to know that some things never change.