OHSAA names new divisions for spring sports

The Ohio High School Athletic Association held its monthly Board of Directors meeting in Columbus Thursday morning.

The board formally established the divisions for track and field after delaying it a month as baseball and softball cut-off numbers were set during the August meeting.

Just one local team is on the move in track and field.

Martins Ferry’s girls, which competed in Division III the last two seasons, are moving back up to Division II.

The Lady Riders’ enrollment currently stands at 165 and the largest Division III member will have 152 students enrolled in the upper three grades.

The move to Division II is actually a welcome change for head coach Rich Materkoski and his highly successful Lady Riders.

“Athletically, I think this gives us a better chance of advancing more girls to the state meet,” Materkoski said. “We aren’t going to be paired with private schools from the Akron and Cleveland areas, but rather mostly public schools in our area of the state. I really think our girls will flourish.”

The change might be even more welcome from a logistic standpoint for the coaching staff, which had its boys and girls split each of the past two seasons, meaning four straight days of meets in nearly opposite corners of the state.

For instance, the girls’ regional was held at Fairless High School in Navarre, while the boys competed at The Plains High School in Athens.

“This is more of a natural fit for us both athletically and in terms of travel,” Materkoski said. “It’ll be really nice to have the boys and girls run together.”

The Board of Directors also received the financial reports from state baseball tournament, which Harrison Central competed in. More than 15,000 people attended the state tournament at Huntington Park, which is the fourth most of all time.

The Ohio Baseball Coaches Association also made a proposal that would increase the number of games a player can participate in from 27 to 32.

While the number of games permitted wouldn’t change, the additional games would allow some players to be able to play on the junior varsity level and then on the varsity level.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleader-online.com