For many middle school and high school students the summer is a time to get some much deserved R&R, whether it being at the pool, spending time with friends or going on vacation with family.
But for many area athletes, Monday began the June three-week practice period as county boys and girls will be hitting the ballfields and hardwood.
All West Virginia high school athletes are allowed to practice with their teams during the next three weeks up until July 2.
Some basketball teams will be hitting the road and going to camps.
Some baseball and softball teams will be having games right here on home diamonds.
And for the county’s three high school football teams, it’s the first time they will be returning to the gridiron since last November. Logan, Chapmanville and Man will also be having numerous 7-on-7 scrimmages, something that has been becoming the norm in the last decade or so.
There will also be changes.
At Chapmanville Regional High School, the Tigers’ football team will be breaking in a new coach with Rob Dial, who replaced 12-year head coach George Barker, who stepped down a few months ago but has remained on staff at CRHS as the school’s Athletics Director. Dial is a former Barker assistant coach.
Logan High School officially still has no boys’ basketball coach.
Wildcats’ mentor Allan Hatcher resigned recently after one season due to health issues and the position is still vacant.
Logan is not expected to announce a new coach until the end of the month at the next scheduled School Board meting.
There will also be new sports that will make their debut.
Both Chapmanville and Logan will be fielding high school soccer teams for the very first time. The squads will be co-ed, open to both boys and girls.
Chapmanville has already named its soccer coach, Greg Dillon, and the new Tigers’ mentor will be working with his team team this week.
Logan still has yet to name its soccer coach but is expected to do so in the coming weeks.
At Man High School, there will also be changes.
The Hillbillies, which have competed as a Single-A school the last 13 years, will be heading back up to the Double-A level for the first time since 2003.
All of Man’s teams will be practicing this week, although Harvey Arms, the Billies’ head football and boys’ basketball coach, will be busy this week with North-South coaching duties as he is the head mentor for the South All-Stars for this Saturday’s North-South All-Star Classic in Charleston.
Changes are also coming at Logan as the Wildcats are leaving the Triple-A ranks and will be rejoining the Cardinal Conference as a 2A school.
Logan was a member of the conference from 2003-08. Nitro and Winfield, also former Class AAA schools, are also coming into the Cardinal Conference fold.
LHS football coach Gary Mullins will be putting on the headsets for his 13th year. The Wildcats won’t play a full Cardinal Conference schedule, however, until 2017.
For the first time, all three of Logan County’s schools will be in the same classification in Double-A beginning this fall.
There’s also a new coach in Chapmanville as Johnny Williamson takes over the head coaching duties with the CRHS girls’ basketball team, replacing outgoing David Williamson, who had led the Lady Tigers the last seven years including a 2011 state tournament berth.
Chapmanville boys’ basketball coach Brad Napier is back for his second year with the Tigers. Last year, Napier, a Harts native, led Chapmanville to its second ever trip to the state tournament where CRHS fell in a memorable 30-28 nailbiter to defending state champion Poca at the Charleston Civic Center.
Napier said he’s taking his Tigers to a team camp this week at the University of Pikeville. With many returning starters, including Drew Williamson, Kyle Browning, Tyler Moore and Hunter Neil and key bench personnel coming back from last year’s 17-9 team, the Tigers are projected to have another successful team.
Chapmanville will have a tough new Class AA sectional as the Tigers will battle against county rivals Man and Logan as well as Mingo Central, Lincoln County and Scott. Lincoln County is also making the move down from 3A to 2A.
Two county teams won state titles during the 2015-16 season as the Chapmanville softball team and the Man cheerleaders brought home the gold.
Regular football practices are set to begin the first of August.
Chapmanville is scheduled to host a home 7-on-7 scrimmage on Friday at 5 p.m. on the Tiger Stadium turf. Logan, Scott, Poca and Wayne of the Cardinal Conference are slated to be there, along with Valley Fayette.
Logan is scheduled to host its own 7-on-7 event on Friday, June 24 at 6 p.m. on the Logan Stadium turf. The Wildcats are slated to tangle with Chapmanville and Scott and a host of other teams yet to be named.
All three county schools will be breaking in new quarterbacks this fall.
The June practice period will be a defacto proving ground for the new signal-callers.
Logan graduated starter Alex Toler, while Chapmanville three-year starter Alex Berry and Man four-year starter under center, John Thomas Keffer, have all graduated.
Many are expected to compete for the jobs.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).