With our 200 state high school championships, Parkersburg likes to think itself as the sports capital of West Virginia.
No one will argue with that statement today.
That's because West Virginia's best coaches and athletes will be in town for the 66th annual Victory Awards Dinner, set for 4 p.m. at the Dils Banquet Center.
Sponsored by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, the event will have a distinct local flavor, including the induction of former Parkersburg Catholic basketball standout Mary Ostrowski into the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame. Ostrowski, who is battling cancer, is unable to attend, but will have family members accept her prestigious honor.
Ostrowski is being honored in another way as the annual award that goes to the top female basketball player in West Virginia will now be known as the Mary Ostrowski Award. The plaque that will be presented to the winner is sponsored by Parkersburg Knights of Columbus No. 594. The first winner of the Mary Ostrowski Award is Makenzie White of Scott High School.
Ostrowski is one of two female basketball players being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Former Martinsburg High School and University of Maryland standout Vicky Bullett, an Olympic gold medalist, also is set for induction.
Also receiving one of the major awards is retiring Parkersburg South wrestling coach Paul Jackson, the West Virginia High School Coach of the Year. This award represents every coach of every sport at every high school in the state. Jackson, the first Parkersburg South coach to receive the honor, has guided the Patriots to nine Class AAA state championships, more than any other coach since wrestling became an official sport in 1948.
Speaking of wrestling, for the second year in a row, the winner of the Robert Dutton Award which goes to the West Virginia Wrestler of the Year hails from Roane County High School. Dylan Cottrell not only is a four-time state champion, but in his 16 state tournament matches over those four years, he didn't allow a single opponent to score a point. Cottrell is a rare double honoree as he also was one of the leading vote-getters for the Kennedy Award, West Virginia's high school version of the Heisman Trophy. Cottrell will receive a scholarship from the Kennedy Foundation.
West Virginia University had several representatives win statewide honors, but for various reasons, they will be unable to attend. Head football coach Dana Holgorsen, who shared the College Coach of the Year Award with West Liberty basketball coach Jim Crutchfield, is on a recruiting trip, while one of his team's stars, wide receiver Tavon Austin, the recipient of the Hardman Award as the State Amateur Athlete of the Year, is prepping for final exams on Monday. Filling in for both will be Parkersburg's Josh Jenkins, a three-year starter on the WVU offensive line.
Jenkins is no stranger to the Victory Awards Dinner, as he is the only two-time recipient of the Hunt Award, presented annually to the state's outstanding lineman.
Other recipients of major honors include Garrett Stanley of Bridgeport High School, this year's Hunt Award winner; distance standout Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland High School and hurdler Chelsea Carrier-Eades of WVU, the male and female winners of the McCoy Award, given annually to the top track and field performers in the state; Ryan Switzer of George Washington High School, the runaway winner of the Kennedy Award; Boo Lathon of Wheeling Park High School, who will receive the Evans Award as the high school boys basketball player of the year; Logan Jenkins of Martinsburg High School, the Sam Huff Award winner as the state's top defensive player; Caleb Ross of Cabell Midland High School, the High School Baseball Player of the Year; and Randy Payton of the Wayne County News, who will receive the Morehouse Award as the West Virginia Sports Writer of the Year.
In addition to Cottrell, Brandon Ashenfelter of Martinsburg High School will be receiving a Kennedy Scholarship and three West Virginia Conference athletes -Jordan Roberts of the University of Charleston and Isaac Thornton and Kaitlyn Snyder of Fairmont State - will receive the Biasi Awards, sponsored by the WVIAC.
Also, all the coaches whose teams won state high school championships and all the athletes who made all-state in football and boys and girls basketball will be recognized.
Based on ticket sales, approximately 450 persons are expected to attend. Mark Martin, the sports director of WCHS-TV in Charleston, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com