South is on winter sports roll

The winter sports programs at Parkersburg South are on a roll.

Start with the Patriots girls basketball team.

Not only is coach Scott Stephens’ team the defending Class AAA state champions, but the unbeaten Patriots are ranked No. 1 in every statewide poll.

South is led by massively talented sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, who already has given her verbal commitment to play for Michigan State University.

She is surrounded by a strong supporting cast of players, several of whom would enjoy superstar status on any other team. Both Keya Bartlett and Carlie Wilson have scored in double figures in each of South’s last three victories, and Katelyn Byrd, who has been plagued by injuries, is off to a strong start.

While it’s likely a challenger to South’s domination will emerge, coaches around the Mountain State already know the Patriots are the team to beat -if anybody can.

South is 4-0 with margins of victory of 12, 33, 25 and 30 points.

The Patriot girls aren’t the only undefeated basketball team that calls the Rod Oldham Athletic Center home.

Coach Mike Fallon’s boys team is off to a 3-0 start including road wins at Linsly and Point Pleasant. The Patriots will play their second home game tonight versus Lewis County.

Most schools who suffered the graduation losses South did following last year’s 21-5 season that saw the Patriots win the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship and advance to the state tournament would be going through a rebuilding year. No longer gracing the roster are Wes Mitchem, Logan Cox, Tyler Bolen and Doug Dennis, who made up 80 percent of the starting lineup.

But South not only has the talent to take up where it left off, it also has depth. In South’s first three games, six players have scored in double figures, and each win has seen a different scoring leader.

If basketball is on a roll, then swimming is making a big splash.

The Patriot boys team is undefeated, including winning its own invitational on Saturday. Coach Steve Lutz -who founded the Patriot program -has both the talent and the depth to challenge for a state title. The South girls -while lacking the numbers to compete for championships -have several individuals who should score at the state meet in Morgantown.

Then there’s the most successful program in school history, wrestling, which owns 18 state championships.

The Patriots are coming off a third place finish at last year’s state tournament, which would be a cause for celebration for most other sports at the school.

South already owns a dual meet victory over last year’s No. 4 finisher, Ripley.

The Patriots will face a major test on Jan. 9 when they visit crosstown rival Parkersburg, the state runnerup a year ago.

It’s still early in the winter sports season, but South athletics couldn’t ask for a better start.

Contact Dave Poe at