On the same day the baseball sectionals begin, so to do the Big 10 and Little Kanawha Conference track and field championships.
Want to see the best competition and athletes in the area? No less than four Big 10 competitors have legitimate shots at state titles this season, and today's meet at Robert C. Byrd High School could be a prelude for what is to come later this month. At the same time, defending Class AA-A girls champ Doddridge County will host the LKC championship. Both meets are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
At Robert C. Byrd, Grafton's Sherri Flohr and Philip Barbour's Scott Mayle will be part of the field. The two recently captured high-point honors at the Gazette Relays in Charleston.
Flohr is the favorite in the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs, while Mayle could capture the 100 and 200, the long jump and the high jump.
Mayle's toughest competition is likely to come from Robert C. Byrd's Tony Shade.
The senior hurdler is the heavy favorite in the 110 and 300 hurdles, and could challenge Mayle in the long jump.
Teammate R.J. Coleman will head the field in the discus and shot put, while Bridgeport's Theresa Melko could come away with wins in both events, as well.
The Bearcats' girls team will likely represent the biggest threat to a Doddridge County repeat for the state title. Grafton's Heather McDaniel is just another talented distance runner for the Bearcats.
Robert C. Byrd's girls team could get a boost from Liann and Celia Gottschling, and distance runner Stephanie Hatfield.
In West Union, the Bulldogs girls team should have little problem winning what would be their eight consecutive LKC title. Doddridge has been ranked No. 1 in the polls the entire season.
Pole vaulters Lisa Davis, Nicole White and Karen Kellar could go 1-2-3, while hurdlers Jordan Walker and Lori Coffman are the favorites in the 100 and 300's.
While Doddridge County is sure to be the team favorite, Roane's Stephanie Eastman is likely to come away with the most individual accolades.
Eastman returns after winning three championships last season at the meet. Eastman is favored in the long jump, the 400, 800 and 1,600 meter run.
Ritchie County's Missy Spangler could make an impact in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter run, while teammate Lucinda Huffman has been solid in the discus and shot put.
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org