It is not every day that Parkersburg, West Virginia, gets to boast of hometown heroes and their accomplishments in the world of high-profile sports.
However, with the conclusion of Florida Gulf Coast's improbable run in the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament, Parkersburg can boast of having three superstar athletes on the map.
The first that comes to mind is Buckeye and Big Red Nick Swisher, who has played for four teams in his nine-year Major League Baseball career. Swisher began in Oakland and finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2004, batting .236 with 21 homers. In the three years Swisher was on the roster, the Athletics averaged 86 wins and won the American League West in 2006.
Swisher has since played for the Chicago White Sox in 2008, the New York Yankees from 2009-2012 and begins the 2013 season with the Cleveland Indians as the starting first baseman. Swisher won a World Championship with the Yankees in 2009 and was named an All-Star for the first time in 2010. Swisher enters the 2013 season having hit 209 HRs, batted .256 and driven in 673 runs .
Speaking of the Buckeyes, Tim Phillips just returned to the OSU swim team after taking 2012 off to prepare for the Olympic Trials, falling four spots shy of a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Phillips excelled on the PHS swim team and earned himself a scholarship to Ohio State. Phillips has four Buckeye school records, three relays and one individual, and also was part of the 2010 national championship 800 freestyle relay team.
In 2011, Phillips earned his first international gold medal at Summer Universiade in Shenzen, China, swimming the 50 meter butterfly. Phillips became the first American in 17 years to win gold in the 100 meter butterfly, finishing ahead of fellow American Tom Shields.
Making his debut on the short list of Parkersburg superstar athletes is Parkersburg South graduate and current Florida Gulf Coast attendee, Chase Fieler.
Fieler finished fourth in West Virginia Player of the Year voting his senior year at South, averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds a game and was named to the 2010 Class AAA all-state team.
Fieler also owns South's single game scoring record with 42 points. Fieler and his FGCU basketball teammates rocketed to fame this season when they defeated No. 2 Georgetown as a No. 15 seed in their first season going to the big dance.
Fieler and the Eagles became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to make to the Sweet 16, before falling to No. 3 seed Florida. Fieler averaged 11 points, 5 rebounds and had at least one assist, steal and block in the three games in which FGCU participated.