Since the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission office is located here, members of our sports staff are regulars at the meetings conducted there to set up the various state tournaments from the Super Six to the basketball championships.
On Sunday, the coaches and athletics directors of the 24 teams who will participate in this week's state girls basketball tournament met to select their hotels and to go over how the very detailed outline of how the tournament will be conducted.
One thing that was noticeable Sunday -and at virtually every other state championship meeting -is that you don't see a lot of new faces.
Rather, most of the teams who advance through the sectionals and the regionals are the same ones who have done so in the past, often making the state tournament a tradition.
Why, we ask, do the same schools have success year-in and year out?
There are several factors in the recipe for success.
Start with talent.
Even the best coaches can't take sub-.500 talent and turn it into a champion. No matter how much a coach scouts and schemes, it still takes a great deal of talent to still be playing basketball in March.
Then comes coaching. Like athletes, some coaches simply are more talented than others by knowing inside-out the game they are coaching and also by their ability to motivate their athletes and bring out the best in them.
The successful coaches also outwork their counterparts, especially when it comes to such timely endeavors as scouting.
Next is pride and passion.
In every aspect of life, it is those who take pride in their performance and have passion for what they are doing that will be the most successful.
Anyone can field a team, but not every coach can establish a program that wins year-in and year-out. Join such a program and you are expected to win. It's no secret that winning breeds winning and losing breeds losing.
Community support also plays a major role.
It takes a village to provide the proper facilities and level of support necessary to have a successful program.
One need look no further than Parkersburg South's football program to see what having a home field to defend can mean to a group of youngsters.
Speaking of youngsters, youth programs are an essential ingredient in making a champion.
The earlier youths start, the more experienced they will be.
The state youth wrestling tournament, which concluded its two-day run Sunday at Memorial Fieldhouse, had a four-and-under division.
By the time those wrestlers get to high school, they will be veterans at their sport and will have a huge advantage over those trying out for the first time.
It takes a combination of things to get to the state tournament, often including a little luck.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org