On the Mark

Mark Martin
Jackson Newspapers

STATE MEET ERASED: One of my favorite times of year was slated for last weekend in Charleston.

The annual West Virginia High School State Track and Field Meet.

It fell victim to COVID-19 like so many other events have.

What a shame.

I’ve written plenty about Ripley girls track and field and the program’s quest for a third consecutive Class AAA state championship.

Had that happened, Ripley would have been on pace to tie Ravenswood’s dynamite program from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. A program which won four in a row from 1988-1991 and then added a fifth crown in 1993.

While we are left to wonder what might have been this year for Ripley girls track, we will always have wonderful memories from the past three seasons…especially from two of the greatest ever in Tori Starcher and Allison Fields.

Those two were not only special runners, but special people.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for both in their future endeavors.

They are part of a very talented group of graduates for Ripley High School’s Class of 2020.

DEVILETTE DOMINANCE: In writing about the 1990 Devilette state championship track and field team in the last issue of Jackson Newspapers, a ton of memories came flooding through the gates.

The five-year run of six titles Jim Mahan and Bryan Canterbury put together was nothing short of spectacular.

The two had lots of talent. But they also had hard workers.

And no one worked any harder in making things click than Mahan and Canterbury.

The two have always had a passion for sports and it certainly showed during those seasons.

In my now 40-plus years as a writer and broadcaster, I’ve been blessed to cover a variety of events and interview countless individuals.

Those assignments have been for newspaper content, radio sports broadcasts, radio play-by-play, television sportscasts, television specials and television play-by-play.

One of my all-time favorite assignments came from for The Jackson Star News when Greg Matics, the late Greg Carter, the late Bob Staats and myself were tasked with putting out special sections about the Ravenswood’s girls track and field program prior to the State Meet during that period of time.

We had a blast in doing so.

The four of us would laugh for hours grinding into the late-night hours to get out those special tabs for the paper.

It was the first of its kind for the sport of track and field.

Adding to the enjoyment of this project was spending time with Mahan and Canterbury, who I had known for years.

These special newspaper sections for Devilette track and field seem to grow the three of us closer than ever before.

I still remember sitting in front of the old Dairy Bee in Ravenswood with Jim and Bryan on a warm Saturday afternoon coming up with story ideas. We enjoyed the food, ice cream and sports discussion.

It’s funny how things in life become so rewarding.

I’m happy to have an abundance of friends.

It comes with growing up and living in small, picturesque communities like Ravenswood and Ripley.

Covering Devilette track and field back then brought me closer to two of Ravenswood’s all-time best athletes and coaches in Jim Mahan and Bryan Canterbury.

RECORD KEEPING: In an issue last week, I wrote a story about the track and field records for Ripley High School.

Now the mission is to do the same for Ravenswood High.

While the girls track and field records seem to be in tact, there are some question marks about records for Red Devils boys track and field.

Anyone with any valuable information can contact me.

We would love to write this story in the coming weeks.