School trumps sports

From the beginning of high school sports in August through the state baseball tournament in June, seldom does a day pass when our sports section isn’t filled with the results of prep sports events.

But that won’t happen this week, at least not when it comes to West Virginia sports.

Until the end of school on Thursday, no high school sports contests can take place.

Why? Because students across the Mountain State will be taking the WESTEST and the West Virginia State Board of Education has ruled that during those days there are to be no sports events.

It’s a decision that on the surface makes perfect sense. After all, the primary purpose of school is to get an education, not to play sports.

Yet, while no games can take place, practices can go on as scheduled. Plus, students can participate in non-school athletics such as AAU games.

So if the purpose is that students should be studying rather than participating in athletics, the rule lacks common sense.

Yes, it does prevent regional baseball and softball games that often require a great deal of travel and time for the visiting team from taking place. But you can bet nearly all of those teams will spend the time practicing and preparing for the big game that lies ahead. After all, that’s what they have been preparing for since the season started.

But it doesn’t matter what I or anyone thinks, those who make the rules have spoken and we all must abide by them.

So the next sports events in the Mountain State will take place on Thursday.

That’s when the 12 softball regional championship games that will determine who comes to Vienna next week will take place. It’s also when many of the sectional baseball tournaments that were plagued by rain last week will continue, including the Class A sectional that will pit Wood County rivals Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic in a best two-of-three series.

Come Friday and Saturday, the state high school track meet will be contested at Charleston’s Laidley Field. Since the Class A competition began in 2003, every state girls team champion has hailed from the Little Kanawha Conference. Given Williamstown’s total domination of its competition this year, that streak looks to continue. The only non-LKC small school boys squad to claim a title is Wheeling Central, which has done so twice, so the possibility an LKC team again emerges on top is quite possible.

Add in the expected strong team performances from Ritchie County’s boys in Class AA and Parkersburg High’s boys and girls in Class AAA and it should be a great two days for area track teams.

Until Thursday, we’ll have to be satisfied doing preview stories in anticipation of the events that will take place at the end of the week.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoenewsandsentinel.com