Not many people are thinking track and field right now with cold temperatures, snow on the ground and Christmas approaching.
However, three former area standouts began their 2013-14 collegiate track and field seasons in impressive fashion over the weekend.
Ashland University senior D.J. Duke, who has been a regular at the indoor and outdoor national meet, won the shot put championship at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala held last weekend.
Duke - a River High product - prevailed with an impressive mark of 59-ft-6 1/4. His mark was four feet better than his nearest competitor.
Another former River great - Cassidy McCullough - began her collegiate career right where she ended her high school career in June ... with a victory.
McCullough - now running for West Virginia Wesleyan - ran the 400 meter dash and won with a time of 1:02.97.
The two-time state low hurdle champion for the Lady Pilots also ran a leg on the winning 4x2 team, which posted a school-record mark of 1:46.05.
The Wesleyan 4x4 finished third in 4:16.84.
Martins Ferry product Anthony Phillips, who won the final West Virginia Conference decathlon title during the outdoor season for Seton Hill, has transferred to Wheeling Jesuit.
New uniform, same results for Phillips, who was an all-Ohioan for Coach Rich Materkoski's Riders.
Phillips won the decathlon with 4,488 points. During the course of the event, he claimed the individual title in the 55M hurdles and 55M dash.
Another Martins Ferry product - Courtney Crolley - placed in both the hurdles and pole vault as a competitor for Wheeling Jesuit.
St. Clairsville product Alyssa Robinson begins her collegiate career at Penn State with throw offs on Saturday. Robinson has been nursing a shoulder injury she suffered lifting weights prior to Thanksgiving break.
Robinson will be throwing off for a spot on the travel squad for the shot put and weight toss.
Many high school thinclads - not involved with a winter sport - will be getting their seasons under way soon as well to begin preparations for the upcoming outdoor season.
Martins Ferry, which has had tremendous success with its indoor program, begins on Jan. 18 at Kent State.
Both West Liberty and Wheeling Jesuit Universities are enjoying solid early season campaigns on the mats with several former area matmen making significant contributions.
Former Shadyside all-Ohioan Aaron Silverio is enjoying a brilliant season at 285 pounds for the Hilltoppers. He won the tournament title at Mount Union last month and just this past weekend finished fifth at the Ohio Northern Invitational.
Bridgeport product Bryan Skoff was fourth at Ohio Northern and Indian Creek product Mike Emery finished second.
The Hilltoppers are in action this weekend at the Midwest Classic, which will be held at the University of Indianapolis.
Wheeling Jesuit, meanwhile, evened its dual record at 2-2 with a victory at Alderson-Broaddus last week.
The Cardinals are receiving a solid contribution from Martins Ferry product Damon Outward at 133 pounds. He finished fourth at Mt. Union.
Wheeling Jesuit's scheduled home dual against Penn State Allegheny was cancelled because Allegheny doesn't have enough wrestlers and is still more of a club sport.
The Cardinals will also be taking part in the Midwest Classic this weekend.
In what should be an exciting dual, West Liberty and Wheeling Jesuit meet for the first time on the mat prior to the OVAC semifinals, which are slated for Saturday, Jan. 18 at WesBanco Arena.
While prep baseball season is still several months away, Buckeye Local and Union Local are being afforded a tremendous opportunity.
The Panthers and Jets will play their April 14 game at Consol Energy Park in Washington, Pa. The game will serve as Buckeye Local's home game and will begin at 7 p.m.
Consol Energy Park is an artificial turf field, so barring a total monsoon that day, the game should go off without a hitch. The ballpark serves as the home to the Washington Wild Things, who play in the Frontier League.
St. Clairsville learned last week that it was back in the market for a 22nd boys basketball game. The Red Devils had signed a home game with Renaissance Christian Academy, which is based in Pittsburgh. However, the school notified St. C. last week that it was cancelling its season and may even be closing its doors.
The game was scheduled to be played on Feb. 7.
Renaissance Christian Academy made three trips to the Ohio Valley for football this past season. It lost to St. Clairsville, Wheeling Central and Steubenville.
Muskingum College's Wes Rataiczak was named second-team all-Ohio Athletic Conference after another strong season for the Muskies. The Shenandoah product caught 27 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown.
Staskey can be reached via email at email@example.com