There's no better time to be an area prep sports fan than right now.
The only slight bummer for me personally, which happens every year at this time, is I rarely get to see an opening round prep football playoff game. That's because the state volleyball tournament falls on the same weekend and I'm swamped with taking care of all-state ballots and watching a lot of talented ladies trying to figure out a way to get through three matches and hoist up a state championship.
Of course, not only do we have some great football games on tap, but the boys from Parkersburg High School are going after yet another state soccer championship.
As far as I know when it comes to volleyball, this is the first time in Wood County history that PHS, Parkersburg South, Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic all made the state tournament. On top of that, Ritchie County qualified as did Magnolia and Little Kanawha Conference champion Tyler Consolidated.
Thankfully, the "blind draw" by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission worked out pretty well this year for volleyball.
Although I know better than to even think about counting out either Magnolia or Parkersburg Catholic, which eliminated defending Class A state champion Wirt County in the sectionals, it's safe to say in my opinion the favorites to play for the small school crown are Williamstown and Tyler Consolidated.
Via the "blind draw" option, it was entirely possible TCHS and the Yellowjackets could've met in the semifinals on Friday night.
Wrestling fans have seen this play out countless times over the years where the Saturday night championship match actually took place on Friday night because the best two grapplers in a respective weight class are in the same bracket.
Even though a lot of smart wrestling coaches, like former Parkersburg South head man Paul Jackson, will admit to anyone who listens it's entirely possible to seed the state wrestling tournament, it's never going to happen. It appears the status quo is just a lot easier to keep going than trying to do something which might make things a little more fair for the wrestlers. In fact, I'm sure there are numerous instances throughout the years where the state runner-up doesn't even own a win against the wrestler who finished third.
Several years ago, West Virginia started seeding the postseason in basketball. For the most part, this has been a positive step forward even though there have been instances across the state where some coaches intentionally ranked teams lower or higher than they should've been in order to try and circumvent the process and in turn attempt to get an easier matchup.
While we've been in the 21st century for a good while now, it just befuddles me why a "blind draw" is necessary for the state volleyball tournament.
Every coach I've talked to agrees it's not rocket science to seed eight teams per class once they reach the state net tournament in Charleston.
Just don't look for it to happen anytime soon.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org