The seasons come and go. The memories made during those spans never disappear.
It was an intriguing 2016-17 sports year within the Ohio Valley Publishing area, one that saw numerous accomplishments come to each of the 10 high schools located within Mason, Meigs and Gallia counties.
There were ups and there were downs to go along with feats both large and small. But, no matter how tough the adversity, the athletes never gave up — which in turn made for some really good stories over the course of the last 10 months.
Being able to look back on the highlights from the 2016-17 high school sports year, five things really stuck out in the tri-county area. And, more importantly, each county was represented in some fashion in those five selections.
So, starting Tuesday, the OVP Top 5 Stories of 2016-17 begins a countdown from five to one — with the story of the year scheduled to run in the weekend sports editions of the Point Pleasant Register and the Sunday Times-Sentinel.
There were plenty of options in getting the list down to five stories, but the ones that didn’t make the cut were no less important. In actuality, the quintet that did make the grade simply had more going on around them and had a greater impact at the time.
The tri-county area accounted for a total of 60 league championships and almost half as many postseason titles, whether it be as a team or as individuals at the sectional, district and regional levels.
The OVP area also added Marshall football to its coverage family this past fall, which led to a handful of positive moments to go along with an otherwise disappointing 3-9 campaign.
In addition, the tri-county area produced 30 student-athletes that will be continuing their careers at the collegiate level, including a trio of NCAA Division I signees in Meigs’ Trae Hood (Campbell wrestling), Point Pleasant’s Seth Stewart (Louisiana State football) and Point Pleasant’s Aislyn Hayman (Marshall track and field).
Next week’s list, however, is next week. Here’s a look at some of the other great accomplishments from the OVP area during the 2016-17 school year.
— One individual and two teams qualified for the district golf tournament in their respective divisions. Gallia Academy advanced out of its ninth straight sectional, while Levi Chapman appeared in his second straight district tournament for Meigs. The Southern boys also qualified for the D-3 district meet.
— Gallia Academy won the Ohio Valley Conference title outright in both golf and volleyball, while the Meigs golf team went unbeaten in six matches en route to winning the TVC Ohio crown.
— The Eastern girls cross country team won its sixth straight TVC Hocking title and also won the D-3 district title for a sixth straight postseason.
— Gallia Academy had both cross country programs qualify for the regional cross country meet and also had its soccer program come away with its first-ever winning season and league championship.
— Point Pleasant and Southern were the lone playoff qualifiers in the tri-county area for football. It was the ninth straight appearance for the Big Blacks in West Virginia, while the Tornadoes made just their second appearance in program history.
— Jessica Cook (EHS), Connor Wolfe (SHS) and Mary Watts (GAHS) each won individual league titles in cross country.
— Gallia Academy, Eastern and Southern each won sectional titles in volleyball, with GAHS and SHS both reaching the district championship game.
— The Eastern girls basketball team won its 12th consecutive sectional title while also advancing to the program’s eighth straight district championship game. EHS had its season end against state runner-up Waterford in the regional tournament.
— There were six 1,000-point scorers in the area this year, which included OVCS seniors Rachel Sargent, Elijah McDonald and Austin Ragan, EHS seniors Laura Pullins and Jett Facemyer, and SHS senior Faith Teaford.
— Gallia Academy won 12 of the 14 individual weight class titles en route to winning the OVC wrestling crown. River Valley also had a trio of TVC Ohio champions.
— Point Pleasant softball won its 12th consecutive sectional title. The Lady Knights were the only West Virginia program to get out of sectional play.
— There were two league champions in baseball and softball within the OVP area, which included a shared baseball crown by GAHS in the OVC and an outright title for Wahama in the TVC Hocking.
— The Eastern girls track and field team won its eighth straight TVC Hocking title and also claimed its sixth district crown in six years.
— Eastern and Southern both advanced to the district tournament in baseball, while Gallia Academy, Meigs and Southern did the same in softball.
The No. 5 story of the 2016-17 OVP sports season will appear in the Tuesday sports editions of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.