Student athletes take hard work and determination to next level

The Arch Wooddell Sportsmanship award is presented to one male and one female athlete who show exemplary sportsmanship on and off the field. This year’s recipients are Brianna Hefner and Jacob Jones. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Although it’s a small school, Pocahontas County High School has one of the largest athletic programs in the state, offering sports for all seasons.

Student athletes were recognized May 8, at the annual athletic banquet, where their achievements on the field, the hardwood and in the dirt were celebrated.

Principal Joe Riley led the evening, welcoming friends, families and athletes to enjoy a look back at the 2018-2019 sports seasons.

Riley also presented several awards and scholarships to senior athletes who showed promise in their uniforms and classrooms.

The Arch Wooddell Sportsmanship award was presented to Jacob Jones and Brianna Hefner.

The June Riley Math Award, given in memory of math teacher Riley, was presented to Jacob Jones.

The William Dilley Scholarship was presented to Jacob Jones by Justin Dilley and Mali Minter.

The Coalfield Conference Athlete of the Year is an award given to one male and one female athlete who participate in two or more sports. This year’s recipients were Jacob Jones and Brianna Hefner.

The Shafer/Kincaid Memorial Scholarship was presented to Jacob Jones and Elijah Robertson.

Each year, the WVSSAC gives awards to community members who go above and beyond in supporting the school’s athletes, as well as to one male and one female athlete. This year, Diane Delfino was honored for her dedication to the PCHS athletics. Students receiving the award were Taylor Tegtmeyer and Marlee McLaughlin.

The Award of Excellence is presented to a student, coach or parent who shows exemplary sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. This year’s recipient is coach Shannon Arbogast, who took on three teams – boys and girls soccer and softball – as head coach for all three.

The William Dilley Scholarship was presented to Jacob Jones, center, by Justin Dilley, left, and Mali Minter, right. The award is given in memory of Dilley, who was a PCHS graduate and track star. S. Stewart photos

Coaches were given an opportunity to recognize their teams and give an overview of the 2018-2019 season.

Football coach Doug Burns recapped the year, which may not have seen the team make it to playoffs, but still managed to have some great plays during the 5-5 season.

The football team participates in two conferences – Potomac Valley Conference and Coalfield Conference – and several players were recognized for their abilities on the field.

Making the Potomac Valley All-Conference Team were – Honorable mention: Dustin Fitzgerald, offensive line; Brody Buzzard, defensive back; Jesse Bostic, offensive line; and Dalton Hedrick, wide receiver.

Second team – Reese Kelley, defensive end; Keaton Baldwin, inside linebacker; Jacob Jones, outside linebacker; J.D. Sharp, defensive back; Jacob Jones, running back; and Cody Kiner, wide receiver.

First team – Kolton Workman, offensive line and defensive line; and Dylan Shinaberry, quarterback and inside linebacker.
The Coalfield Conference team included – Honorable mention, defense: Jesse Bostic. Second team, defense: Dustin Fitzgerald, Brody Buzzard and J.D. Sharp. First team, defense: Keaton Baldwin, Reese Kelley and Dylan Shinaberry.

Second team, offense: Cody Kiner and Dalton Hedrick. First team, offense: Kolton Workman, Jacob Jones and Dylan Shinaberry.
Class A All-State Team – Second team, offense: Kolton Workman. Special honorable mention: Dillon Shinaberry.

Burns also recognized the entire team and thanked his assistant coaches, Matt Buzzard, Aaron Pugh, J.R. Kiner and Skeeter Workman, for another great season.

Above, principal Joe Riley presents the June Riley Math Award to Jacob Jones. The award is given to an athlete with outstanding math grades. Below, Riley presents the Award of Excellence to soccer and softball coach Shannon Arbogast.

Above, principal Joe Riley presents the June Riley Math Award to Jacob Jones. The award is given to an athlete with outstanding math grades. Below, Riley presents the Award of Excellence to soccer and softball coach Shannon Arbogast.

Boys basketball coach Scott Garber shared that it was a rough year with only six home games and 16 away games, but the team kept up their spirits and never complained. The team ended the season with a 5-17 record, but still managed to make it to the first round of sectionals.

Garber thanked the team for keeping a positive attitude and thanked Shane Jones for being his assistant coach.

Baseball assistant coach Lonnie Armstrong spoke on behalf of coach Randy Irvine, saying the season was enjoyable and there were many ups and downs, but the boys did a good job overall.

The team finished the season with a 5-15 record.

The Shafer/Kincaid Scholarship was presented to Elijah Robertson, left, and Jacob Jones, right. Hunter Shafer, center, presented the award, which is given in memory of his father, Thomas, and Richard Kincaid, who were both avid supporters of the PCHS athletic department.

Cheerleading coach Darlene Arbogast recognized the 16 members of the squad. Arbogast said cheerleading has the longest season which begins in July or August and ends in March.

The cheerleaders attend every football and boys basketball game, home and away.

Arbogast thanked the girls for keeping the spirit going at games and for maintaining a 3.9 GPA.

Girls basketball coach Mike Kane recognized the team for faring well this year, including at several tournaments during the season. The JV and varsity teams each had 18 wins.

Kane was joined by assistant coaches Allen Taylor and Chloe Bland.

The girls were champions at the Summers County Tournament where Alexa Taylor, Laila Calhoun and Brianna Hefner made the all tournament team. They were also named champions at the Ritchie County Tournament.

Making the All-State Team were: Kira Bircher, Laila Calhoun and Brianna Hefner.

Shannon Arbagast recapped the boys’ soccer season. The team ranked 24th in the state, ending the season in the second half of sectionals, falling to Herbert Hoover High School.

As the only Single A team in the Coalfield Conference, the team succeeded in finishing second against much larger schools.

Making the Coalfield Conference team: First team: Hunter Shafer, Garrett Coleman, T.D. Sparks and Kolton Alderman. Second team: Elijah Robertson, Jacob Davis and Brandon Price. Honorable mention: Bryson Cassell, Petyon Coleman, Colton Massey and Hadden Mick.

All Region team – Second team: Hunter Shafer, Elijah Robertson and Kolton Alderman.

All-State – Honorable mention: Hunter Shafer.

Sports Writer’s All State Team: Honorable mention: Hunter Shafer and Kolton Alderman.

Moving on to girls soccer, Arbogast said the girls finished the season ranked 19th in the state. They also moved on to sectionals, where they were defeated by Charleston Catholic. The team was second in the Coalfield Conference.

Receiving recognition were:

Coalfield Conference – First team: Brianna Hefner, Savannah McMillion, Laila Calhoun, Kira Bircher and Sienna Bircher. Second team: Emily Casto, Sage McLaughlin, Alexa Taylor and Amelia Rose.

Honorable mention: Macaden Taylor and Elizabeth Hefner.

All State – Honorable mention: Brianna Hefner and Kira Bircher.

All Region – First team: Brianna Hefner and Kira Bircher. Second team: Laila Calhoun and Sienna Bircher.

Sports Writer’s All State – Honorable mention: Kira Bircher.

Arbogast turned the podium over to assistant coach Justin Kerr for softball. Kerr will be head coach for that sport next year.

Kerr reported that the team finished the year with a record of 7-12. He said the girls put all their heart into the season, and the record did not reflect how hard they pushed. The girls made it to the second game of the Single A tournament, where they were defeated by Webster County.

The WVSSAC gives awards to one male and one female athlete, as well as community members who greatly support the athletics department. Marlee McLaughlin and Taylor Tegtmeyer received the student awards. Pictured, from left: Pam McLaughlin (accepting on Marlee’s behalf), principal Joe Riley and Tegtmeyer.

The newest sport – cross country track – was introduced by coach Kevin Stitzinger, who shared highlights of the season. The team of three – Dakin Rexrode, Silas Riley and Mateus Stitzinger – had a good season and fared well considering it was their first year competing.

Stitzinger thanked the students for their hard work and a combined total of 82 hours of running as they prepared for competitions. He also thanked the parents and school system for supporting the new sport.

Golf coach Jerry Ryder recognized the school’s two golfers – Gareth Ryder and David Gibb – for a great season. The pair finished second and fourth at regionals and both qualified for states, where they finished third and sixth.

Head track coach Abe Rittenhouse discussed the many achievements and records set this year by the boys and girls track teams. Rittenhouse and his fellow coaches, Josh Abbott and Aaron Pugh, helped the team place first and second in many meets, and 20 individuals to qualify for the state track meet.

Rittenhouse joked that a lot of teams can sum up a season as being 5-12 or so forth, explaining that they count how many teams they beat and how many teams beat them. For the girls’ track team, Rittenhouse did some calculating and said that the team is currently 72-5.

Receiving the WVSSAC community member award was Diane Delfino, whose grandchildren, Michael Hardesty, Chloe Hardesty and Cassidy Hardesty, are all avid members of Pocahontas County High School athletic teams. Joe Riley presented the award. S. Stewart photos

To further demonstrate how well the girls team did this year, the team placed first at the Coalfield Conference with a total of 222 points. Second place had 89 points.

In records, Rittenhouse shared the following:

The girls 4×400 team broke the school record and is ranked number three in the state – Savannah McMillion, Laila Calhoun, Sage McLaughlin and Cheylin Woodruff.

The girls 4×200 team is ranked eighth in the state – Kira Bircher, Savannah McMillion, Sage McLaughlin and Macaden Taylor.

The girls 4×800 team is ranked fifth in the state – Kira Bircher, Savannah McMillion, Macaden Taylor and Hazel Riley.

The girls shuttle meter relay broke the school record and is ranked in the top four in the state – Kira Bircher, Savannah McMilion, Tessa Kiner and Laila Calhoun.

Macaden Taylor is ranked in the top 10 in the state in both the mile and 3200.

Laila Calhoun holds the school record for all four events she competes in, and she holds every single hurdle record there is. She is currently ranked number one in the state in the 100 hurdle.

Rittenhouse also recapped the past four years he has been coach, stating that the team has set 15 school records in that time. Next year, Rittenhouse is stepping down as coach and said he has truly enjoyed being the track coach and looks forward to seeing what the team will do in the future.

Archery coach Jody Spencer recognized the high school students on the team and said they had a great season this year. He added that the students always behave and are very respectful during meets.

He recognized the two senior archers – Taylor Tegtmeyer and Ben Davis.

Spencer said he is grateful to all his fellow coaches – Becky Spencer, Bob Simmons, Heather Simmons, David Smith and Kristy Smith.

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