I'm always proud to say I'm from West Virginia in general and Parkersburg in particular.
That was especially true on Sunday, when we served as the host for the 66th annual Victory Awards Dinner, sponsored by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
The banquet was a rousing success. The final count showed 445 persons in attendance at the Dils Banquet Center, which did a great job serving as the host facility.
Of the 445, our sports staff sold more than one-third of those tickets. You can say that's because the banquet was in Parkersburg, but it doesn't seem to matter where it is conducted -we always sell more tickets than anybody else. Why? Because our area has more passion for sports than any other. Because we have a group of veteran coaches who attend the banquet year after year and encourage their athletes who are being recognized do the same.
I've been attending the Victory Awards Dinner for 36 years and this was one of the more memorable ones for several reasons.
First was the induction of Mary Ostrowski into the West Virginia Sports Writers Hall of Fame. That means her plaque forever will adorn the Charleston Civic Center, which houses the Hall of Fame. To understand what a prestigious honor this is just look at a list of past recipients -Jerry West, Sam Huff, Don Nehlen, Mary Lou Retton - a virtual Who's Who of West Virginia sports history.
It's a shame Mary couldn't be here to celebrate the occasion, but her family was well represented. It was great to see her high school coach, Doug Hoselton, with whose team I used to ride the bus to away games. Doug traveled from Phoenix to be here, it meant that much to him not only to see Mary inducted into the Hall of Fame but also to have the Girls Basketball Player of the Year Award be known as the Mary Ostrowski Award.
It was my honor to make a pair of presentations to two deserving winners. I've known Paul Jackson since we attended Parkersburg South as students. His success at the helm of the Patriot wrestling program speaks for itself. He has won more Class AAA state wrestling titles than any coach in West Virginia history. It was great to see him receive the West Virginia High School Coach of the Year Award. To receive it in his hometown made it even more special.
Speaking of wrestling, I also introduced the winner of the Robert Dutton Award, Dylan Cottrell of Roane County, who is going to continue his career at Appalachian State University. He's not only an outstanding wrestler as evidenced by his four state championships and 181-4 career record, but he's a great young man who it was a pleasure to meet.
West Virginia is blessed with some outstanding coaches and athletes. We may be small in numbers when compared to many other states, but you would be making a mistake to sell us short.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org