Exciting time for sports

Mid-Ohio Valley prep sports fan sure have a plethora of options today, especially if they like to travel.

Class AAA defending state wrestling champion Parkersburg South hits the road to Lakewood St. Edward in Ohio while the Big Reds of Parkersburg High also head to the Buckeye State with a match at Elyria.

Inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center, wrestling fans can take in some NCAA Division II action as Ohio Valley University will be on the mats.

Of course, St. Marys is going after a repeat Class A state football title in Wheeling. The Blue Devils are set to tangle with Wheeling Central.

High school girls basketball is already underway in the Mountain State and boys hoops will get going in earnest next week. Local swimming programs are also in action today.

If that wasn’t enough for options, hoops fans can head over this afternoon to the Snyder Activity Center. That’s where the Fighting Scots of OVU will play host to Ohio Dominican in a doubleheader with women’s action starting at 2 p.m.

As for myself, I guess I drew the “short straw” and will be inside Memorial Fieldhouse as first-year PHS Big Red head coach Scott Cozzens’ squad takes on Ohio Division IV power Waterford.

The Wildcats of head man Jerry Close have played in the state championship game each of the past three seasons and won it all two years ago. Waterford boasts some quality talent, including first-team all-Ohio honorees Megan Ball and Alli Kern.

“Here’s the thing. If you want to see us you better show up because it’s a long time before we are here again,” Cozzens said of having only a handful of home games this season.

Ideally, Cozzens said he would like to be able to go 15 deep as the Big Reds plan to push the ball and play pressure defense.

“They’ve been to three straight title games in Ohio and I’m pulling for them to get a fourth,” Cozzens added. “I like those kids. We like playing against them. They are going to have experience and they are going to do things the right way.

“If our kids aren’t ready for it they are going to be in for a shock. Even though it’s a small school, we both only put five on the floor at the same time.”

Two of those for the red and white will be sophomores Madi Mace and Bre Wilson. Mace was a first-team Class AAA all-state pick last winter while Wilson earned third-team status.

The Big Reds, who were ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll, just had a scrimmage against No. 2 Buckhannon-Upshur. The biggest concern for coach Cozzens coming out of that was rebounding.

“It’s not like it’s David and Goliath,” Cozzens quipped. “If you were to lay odds, maybe they are a slight favorite. Now, we might have a little bit better athlete, but they have a lot more experience and we’ll just see.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com.