OVAC Track begins today

If you’re a fan of track and field, St. Clairsville’s Red Devil Stadium is the place you want to be this week.

The annual Cal Giffin OVAC Track and Field Championship opens its week-long stay in the Belmont County Seat as eyes shift to Saturday’s fourth annual championship meet.

This marks the fourth straight season the OVAC has brought its top qualifiers from each class together on Saturday for a true OVAC Championship Meet. It’s the second straight year that Red Devil Stadium has served as the host.

The qualifying rounds will get under way each day with field events at 4 p.m. and running at 5 p.m.

The 1A and 2A classifications have been combined into class for this season. That eliminated the use of Fleming Field in Shadyside as a venue.

The divisions competing today are 1A/2A and 4A. The 3A and 5A schools will open their meet on Tuesday and wrap up qualifying on Friday.

All of the scoring for the team titles is done on Saturday. All 16 competitors will score for their teams. However, only the top eight overall will receive an award, but the individual class champion will receive a special award.

For example, an athlete can finish 14th overall, but if he or she is the top finisher in his respective the respective class, he or she will receive an award as class champion.

Under the current system, the athletes will run their respective races just once and the top three times in short sprints and hurdles – regardless of heat – will advance. The top three finishers in distance races and relays will qualify to the championship run. The top three marks in the field events will also qualify.

After the automatic qualifiers are figured in, the next four fastest times, regardless of class, will advance as well to the finals.

The running events ticketed for the first day of competition are as follows: 4×800, high hurdles, 100M, 4×200, 3200M and 400. The field events, which will consist of four throws, will feature boys’ discus, girls’ high jump, boys’ long jump, girls’ shot put and both boys and girls’ pole vault.

As a note, the marks in the qualifying rounds do not carry over to Saturday. It’s an entirely new meet with four more throws and jumps. Since it’s an entirely new meet, relay teams can also be changed.

The remaining running and field events will qualify on the second day of competition.

The complete schedule for the events can be found on Page B4 of today’s edition.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com