After attending this year's 100th boys and 39th girls state track and field championships at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field, I felt compelled to use this forum to attract as much attention as conceivable to a situation that continues to be a thorn in my side.
It is time to talk about those young men and women that left their state's capital without enjoying the thrill of victory; or weren't able to garner one of the "Friends of Coal" donated medals.
This space is dedicated to those individuals who, because of a rule that used by no state surrounding ours and few, if any, around the country, came home empty-handed.
Officials in our state conintue to award medals to the top six individuals and relay teams-despite using an eight-lane track. Ohio awards eight. Pennsylvania awards eight. Even Kentucky honors its top eight placers.
An athlete who may not have played a minute in football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer or softball, can still receive an award if his or her team wins a state title. Yet, an athlete that works his or her way to Charleston for the state track meet must finish in the top six to achieve that same goal.
It's this kind of thinking that continues to baffle those of us who love the sport. So, to those locals who did not finish in the top six of your event, consider this column your 15 seconds of fame.
* In Class A: Tyler Consolidated -Hillary Casteel, Amber Watson, Kara Dalrymple, Carly Fletcher, Aleah Black, Devann McCoy, Marisa Gogan, Anna Zills, Josh Ruble; Wahama - Karson Tolliver, Ian Kapp; Williamstown -Ellie Gardner, Shealee Mossor, Lisa Spencer, Michael Beck, Joe Sikorski, Ryder Deem, Austin Raines; Paden City -Abby Still, Spencer Billings; Parkersburg Catholic -Alexis Saunders; St. Marys - Laura Taylor, Johnathan Haddox, Alex Baker, Carlos Gutierrez, Anthony Johnson, Noah Spitzer, David Gray; Magnolia - Kristen Massey, Kiera Standiford, Sofia Herrick, Bailey Estep, Cedar Sands, Kristen Massey, Jared Kacor; Doddridge County - Justice Ingram, Jasmine America, Abigail Charles, Rosa Plaugher, Savannah Ferguson; Wirt County - Miriam Smith, Mary Kerby, Megan Burns, Gwynn Smith; Calhoun County - Shay Parrish; and Gilmer County - Zach Chapman, Tristan Sparks, Caleb White, Markeem Morris.
* In Class AA: Roane County - Josie Raines, Hannah Hardman, Kenzi Shreve, Renee Fisher, Caitlyn Hudnall, Robert Pavalok; Braxton County - Shelby Helmick; Ritchie County - Daniel Cooper.
* In Class AAA: Ripley - Molli Cunningham; Parkersburg South - Seanna Johnson, Emily Brezler, Rachel Teter, Emma Ervin, Wyatt Parsons, Anthony Bibbs, Brendan Schwendeman, Trea Sargent; and Parkersburg - Scott Barker, Brandon McIntire, Jon Bolton, Nic Cheuvront.
Your seventh or eighth place effort at our state track meet would have earned you a medal in any state surrounding us.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org