Local track coaches Zach Hall, Rod O’Donnell honored at state level

PARKERSBURG — For the second time in less than a decade, a pair of Wood County track coaches were honored as the best in the Mountain State.

On Thursday, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the state winners of its eighth annual High School Track & Field Coaches of the Year Presented by the United States Marine Corps.

Parkersburg High School head coach Rod O’Donnell (boys) and Williamstown High School head man Zach Hall (girls), who both shared the honor in 2014, now are eligible for the national coach of the year award.

“There’s one coach chosen out of each state, a boy and a girl coach, and then you are in the pool for the national coach of the year, which is not going to happen,” quipped coach O’Donnell, who watched his Big Reds roll to the Class AAA state title by rolling past runner-up Wheeling Park, 110-81.

The award for Hall was his third. He also earned the state recognition in 2019.

“I don’t know,” Hall said of having a shot at the national award. “Some of those stories with what those guys do in the community is ridiculous. It’s definitely a program award and my name is still on it, but it’s for the whole program of Williamstown track.

“I couldn’t do anything without my assistant coaches and the coaching staff couldn’t do anything without the kids.”

Coach O’Donnell added of winning the award again that it was “pretty cool. I was very honored by that. These kind of awards don’t happen without great athletes and this one, I mean, these kids I have the picture that will go in the (Memorial) Fieldhouse. I look at it everyday.

“Those were just great kids. Honest to God they were just great kids. One of the best groups you could ever ask for to be around. I can’t believe we are done with them. The whole group was like a book you write, how far they progressed.”

Williamstown won its sixth state crown in the past 11 years.

“It’s fun to just sit back and watch. We get a front row seat for it,” Hall said of the enjoyment he gets from his thinclads. “Just keep on kicking in the right direction. We’ll be pretty good next year.”

The Big Reds will need to replace a lot of key athletes in order to pull off a repeat next season.

However, coach O’Donnell was just happy to have both awards go to local programs.

“I’m really happy for Zach because they were dominant,” O’Donnell said of the Yellowjackets’ 130-73 margin of victory versus state runner-up Doddridge County. “Wood County got both awards this year, which is awesome.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com


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