Mother Nature wipes out OVAC Duals for first time

For the first time in its six-year history, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Bill Hinegardner Dual Meet Championships will be decided on paper, and not the mat.

Due to the blanket of snow Mother Nature deposited across the Ohio Valley late Thursday night, the event, which was slated for Brooke High School in Wellsburg (Classes 1A/2A and 4A) and the John Marshall Field House in Moundsville (Classes 3A and 5A), Friday night was canceled.

“We currently have two counties under a Level 2 (emergency), and five of our teams involved are in those counties,” Meet Director Jim Rocchi said by telephone Friday morning.

“We’ve had (school district) administrators tell us they weren’t going to put buses on the roads, so we were forced to cancel the Dual Meet Championships.

“It was a tough decision,” he stressed. “We tried everything we could, but safety for everyone involved was our main priority.”

The championships were originally scheduled for Wednesday in Wellsburg and Thursday in Moundsville. However, the polar vortex wiped out those days.

With the cancellation, the championships go to the top seed in each classification. Those were Wheeling Park (Class 5A), St. Clairsville (Class 4A), Shenandoah (Class 3A) and Bridgeport (Class 1A/2A).

The Zeps are the lone repeat titlists as they won the 1A/2A crown in 2018 and now have two all-time.

Of those four schools, Bridgeport is the only one that also claimed its division at the recent 66th annual OVAC Ron Mauck Championships. St. Clairsville and Shenandoah were each second, while Wheeling Park was third. It is also Bridgeport’s first OVAC Dual Meet title. The Red Devils now have three and the Patriots 11, which ties them for fifth all-time with Barnesville. Cadiz and Cameron (19) lead the way, followed by Oak Glen and Steubenville (15).

Bridgeport, St. Clairsville, Shenandoah are all involved in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Team regional tournaments today at various sites across the Buckeye State.

The winners of each regional advance to the team state tournament inside St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University on Sunday, Feb. 10.