Winning the state championship.
It's the goal of every high school athletic team in every sport, whether it's realistic or not.
Yet, every coach and athlete goes into the season knowing only one team will accomplish that goal.
State titles don't come easy. Even if you go in as the best team, everybody else will take their best shot at you and make you earn it.
The Mid-Ohio Valley hasn't won many state titles this year, at least going by past standards.
But it may be about to dominate a state competition and add several state championships to its total.
When the 100th state track and field meet is conducted on Friday and Saturday at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field, six state champions will be crowned.
It's quite possible four of those champions will come from our area.
Start with Class AAA boys. When Rod O'Donnell was named the head track coach at Parkersburg High, the Big Reds immediately became a contender. O'Donnell, who teams have won Ohio state titles and was the head coach at Kent State and Marshall University, has impressed athletes and observers alike with his knowledge and work ethic. Going to into Saturday's state meet, PHS is one of the contenders in Class AAA. Led by a strong group of sprinters and hurdles, the Big Reds are expected to battle Jefferson and University for the top prize. And should any of those teams slip, Parkersburg South will be right there to pick up the pieces.
In the Class AA boys competition, look for a pair of Little Kanawha Conference schools, Ritchie County and Roane County, to battle one another for the championship. Only Keyser appears capable of keeping an LKC team from winning the title.
Then there's Class A. Ever since the small school division was created in 2003, Little Kanawha Conference teams have dominated. In the girls division, not only has an LKC team won every championship, but those titles have been shared by just three schools -Doddridge County, which won the first five Class A titles to extend its championship streak to seven in a row -Williamstown, which enters this weekend's meet as the three-time defending champions -and St. Marys, which won in 2009 and 2010. All indications are Williamstown is sitting on a four-peat, with Doddridge its chief competition.
In the Class A boys, only twice has a team from outside the LKC won the championship as Wheeling Central claimed titles in 2005 and 2008. The last three small school titles have gone to Doddridge County. One look at the regional performances tells us that the Bulldogs are the overwhelming favorite to win another title.
So it's quite possible when the last race is run on Sunday, Parkersburg High will win its first boys title since 1965, thus allowing the Mid-Ohio Valley to sweep the boys titles. In Class A, both Williamstown's girls and Doddridge's boys can four-peat.
Talk about a big day!
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org