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From South Harrison to the Hall, Huffman still regarded among a

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

It doesn't seem possible that more than 20 years have passed since Vicki Huffman was patrolling the lane and wreaking havoc on South Harrison girls basketball opponents.

It's been more than 17 years since she became Fairmont State's first and only first-team women's basketball All-American.

Huffman, Fairmont's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, was named to the school's Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year, which included a ceremony on this fall.

Always gracious despite her athletic ability, Huffman said she owed her success to her coaches and teammates.

"All my teammates at South Harrison and Fairmont helped me achieve this," Huffman said. "My coaches, Jill Ruziska at South Harrison and Joe Lambiotte at Fairmont really showed me the way on things."

Huffman broke onto the state sports scene Nov. 2, 1978, when she shattered the state scoring record with a 52-point performance against Coalton in a 75-52 win. What was just as remarkable was that she pulled down 32 rebounds in that contest.

Huffman, always self critical, remembered something else.

"I was 12 of 25 from the foul line," she said. "I should have had 65 points."

She remembered something else, too.

"Beth Short who was our team manager cut my hair in the dressing room right before the game," Huffman said. "I remember feeling so light out on the court, like I was just gliding around.

"It's funny in a way, because Beth now owns a beauty parlor."

Huffman made first team Class-A All-State that season as a junior, and followed that with a senior season that saw her average 30.2 points and nearly 21 rebounds a game.

Some TEAMS don't average that many points and rebounds today.

She still holds the school mark for points and rebounds.

In addition to basketball, she found time for cheerleading, volleyball, track and baseball. Yes, that's right, baseball. She was one of two girls who played baseball in Harrison County, before softball became a sport.

"I got to bat a few times and usually got walked, but I got hit by a pitch intentionally at Elkins," Huffman said. "I don't think they liked the fact that I was playing.

"I played first base, but it seems like I only got in maybe one time in the field."

At Fairmont State, she was a three-time first-team all-league player and made the league's all-tournament team four times.

She owns several school records. Among the career marks are points (1,806), free throws attempted (803), and rebounds (1,204). Season marks include free throws attempted (242) and rebounds (353). She has the four best ever game marks in rebounding, with the top being 23. Not bad, considering she was only 5-foot-10.

Despite her success at Fairmont, Huffman said she was stunned when she got the call from the hall.

"(FSC Athletic Director Dave) Coach Cooper called me at work and told me, I really couldn't believe it at first," she said. "I really feel like God has blessed me."

Huffman, who graduated from FSC in 1984 with an elementary education degree and received a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Salem-Teikyo, currently works for the Harrison County Board of Education as a Reading, English, Language Arts and Social Studies Coordinator.

She resides in Fairmont with her five-year-old son, Tyler.

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com

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