Taking their place

The 20th Annual Randolph County Athletic Hall of Fame Ceremony took place Saturday to a crowd of more than 70 spectators at the Gandy Dancer Theatre in Elkins

Five individuals and two teams were inducted and now join the 173 individuals and 30 teams in the Hall of Fame.

Each coach and individual player was given a plaque for their own possession and one to be displayed in the Steer Steakhouse in Elkins, the headquarters for the Randolph County Hall of Fame.

The event started at noon with a social hour as guests arrived. Dinner was served at 12:30 p.m. Ralph Bennett began Invocation at 1 p.m. and introduced Ron LaNeve, the Master of Ceremonies for the ceremony. After being introduced, each inductee was able to speak a few words to the audience about the experience in which they were being honored. There was a moment at the beginning of the ceremony where all of the former inductees who were present at the ceremony were asked to stand and be recognized for their achievements.

The first individual to be inducted during the ceremony was Norman J. Pingley, the co-captain of 1960-61 Beverly High School basketball team, which garnered a 19-3 record, captured a district championship and finishing runner-up in the area tournament. Pingley was the second-leading scorer of the team and was named to the All-Tournament defensive team. He had a successful college career playing baseball and basketball at Potomac State College, and attending Davis & Elkins College and Concord University.

Pingley had some words of wisdom for aspiring parents in the audience in regards to helping them pursue their interests, athletic or otherwise, when he said “Every moment you put in to working with your son or daughter will result in you being repaid tenfold. Always give them an opportunity to play.”

Chelsea Elizabeth Metheny was honored as an inductee as well for her achievements in cross county, basketball and track at Elkins High School. She garnered several honors throughout her career and eventually became the first woman in Randolph County to graduate from a United States Military Academy – the U.S. Naval Academy. She participated in the cross country and track teams at the Academy.

Metheny thanked her family for their support and for pushing her to help her achieve her goals.

David Price was inducted next for his participation in the football and basketball teams at Tygarts Valley High School. He was the second-leading scorer on the Bulldog team that advanced to the state basketball tournament in 1987, and earned an All-State honorable mention his senior year.

“We always put an emphasis on teamwork,” Price said during his speech. “I wasn’t the leading scorer and I never scored a touchdown but I made sure that those guys were able to get their recognition.”

The 1983-84 Elkins High School basketball squad was the first team inducted in the ceremony. Finishing with an 18-5 record and capturing the Big Ten conference and Sectional championships that year, both titles that the school hadn’t won since 1967, the team contained two All-State Players,Mike Fletcher and Mike Jackson, and two All-Conference Honorable Mentions, Scott Shepherd and Chris Polino.

“This was the best team to never go to (the state tournament) and one of the best teams to ever come out of this area,” coach Jay Dailer said about the squad. “It was an honor to coach them and to get to know them.”

Phil Haddix was awarded with an induction into the hall of Fame for his tenure as part of the Elkins High School football team. Accepting the award for his son, Greg Haddix spoke of his son’s achievements including rushing for 1,000 yard his senior year and being named to the All-Conference team 3 times.

“I supported his decision to play from the beginning,” Greg Haddix said in the speech honoring his son, who couldn’t attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment. “I was able to live my dream of playing football through my son.”

John Gainer, the last individual to be inducted during the ceremony, was honored for his participation and great volume of success in the Elkins High School football, basketball, baseball and track teams, including being named to several All-Conference teams, as well as placing first in a variety of track events and competing in two semi-pro Amateur World Series in Kansas City.

“I’m humbled to have this honor,” Gainer said at the ceremony. “I want to thank everyone for the opportunities that I had.”

The final team to be inducted during the ceremony was the 2001 Elkins High school Baseball team, which competed for the State title. Two players were named All-State and three were named All-Conference. Four of the players found success at the college level as well, representing teams like Fairmont State, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Davis & Elkins College.

“Only four teams make it to the state tournament every year,” said Coach Mike Johnson. “This team was the last one to compete in that tournament. It’s definitely no easy feat. They gave me some of my proudest moments as a coach.”

Brad Bennett closed the ceremony with a Benediction. Other people in attendance included the Board of Directors of the Randolph County Athletic Hall of Fame, including President Jim Rossi, Vice-President Dave Crawford, Secretary Penny Crawford and Treasurer Kerr Kump.

“What we remember is not the X’s and O’s,” LaNeve said to close the ceremony. “But rather we remember the lessons we learn, the connections we make and how coaches, players and teammates make us feel.”

“I look around the room and I see tears in people’s eyes and pride in their faces,” Rossi said. “There’s a lot to celebrate today.”