ELKINS – The conclusion of the state baseball tournament officially put another exciting year of high school sports in the record book.
Even though the North-South football and basketball games will take place next week, the 2013-14 year is complete, and the area once again fared well against the best in the state.
Only one team championship was captured, as the Philip Barbour girls won their fourth straight Class AA-A title.
The PB boys, meanwhile, finished second in the state to a powerful Bridgeport squad.
On the gridiron, the Class A playoff field once again had an area flavor, with Tucker County, Moorefield and East Hardy making the 16-team field. Lewis County also qualified in Class AAA, while Philip Barbour participated in Class AA.
The Buckhannon-Upshur boys soccer team had a season to remember, despite losing a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Jefferson in the regional final. The Bucs were 20-3 on the campaign.
“This was not the ending we wanted, but this team accomplished a lot,” B-U coach Mike Donato said after the loss. “We were undefeated in (the Big 10 Conference), and we led the state in scoring, and those are things we can always be proud of.
“It is bittersweet for it to end like this, because the goal obviously was to move on to states this year.”
The Elkins High School girls also advanced to regional play, falling to Washington, 1-0.
On the links, Elkins High School, led by Braden Hammond and Kollin Hopwood, competed in the state tournament.
Basketball season saw the retirement of a longtime fixture at Tucker County High School.
Tom Gutshall stepped down after the Mountain Lions’ opening-round loss to Notre Dame in the Class A state tournament.
“It’s been an honor to coach at Tucker County for so many years,” Gutshall said after the game. “I can’t thank the kids enough for the hard work and dedication they’ve shown to me throughout my 30-plus years.”
The Tucker County girls, meanwhile, advanced to the semifinals after knocking off Potomac Valley Conference?foe Pocahontas County in the first round.
Individual championships came in a flurry for area athletes at the state wrestling and swim meets.
Buckhannon-Upshur and Lewis County each had two champions on the mat.
Seth Cutright (160 pounds) and Brandon Tenney (113) took the gold for the Bucs, while Ryan Carson (195) and Kyle Rogers (170) claimed titles for the Minutemen.
In the water, B-U’s Maggie Miller won titles in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke en route to setting state records. Elkins’ Samantha Hall also placed first in the 50 freestyle.
The recently concluded spring season saw the area prosper at the state track meet, led by the performance of the Tucker County girls.
The Mountain Lions placed third in Class A meet, as Aiyana Kachmarek had first-place showings in the shot put and discus.
Tucker County’s shuttle hurdle relay team, comprised of Kelsey Kyle, Elizabeth Nichols, Kylie Moore and Olivia Miller, also brought home the gold.
For the boys, the Mountain Lions’ Ian Nichols took the 800 and the Mountain Lions’ 4×400 relay (Zach Armstrong, Kellen Dunn, Chris Freeman and Nichols) crossed the line in first as well.
B-U’s Mackenzie Leigh repeated as the state discus champ.
On the diamond, Pendleton County and Petersburg both came one victory away from advancing to the state tournament.
Moorefield and Petersburg, meanwhile, both competed in the state softball tournament.
B-U and Elkins both captured sectional titles but lost in regional play – the Bucs in the finals.