On the Mark

Mark Martin
Sportswriter
Mark Martin

TORI’S RUN DELAYED: When the Big 10 Conference and the PAC-12 Conference announced earlier in the week they were cancelling all sports for the fall, it hit close to home.

Ripley running great Tori Starcher was set to begin her college career at Stanford University this coming season in the sport of cross country.

Starcher will also compete in the sports of indoor and outdoor track and field for the Cardinal.

But just as her high school season ended abruptly with the cancellation of spring sports in West Virginia, her college days as a runner will be delayed.

While at Ripley, Starcher made not only a name for herself state-wide, but on the national level.

She captured the Gatorade Girls Track and Field Award three straight years in West Virginia.

In addition, she was a two-time winner of the Ray McCoy Award, which is voted on annually by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association for the top track and field athlete.

As a Lady Viking, Starcher won the Class AAA state championship in the 800, 1600 and 3200 events three straight years as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

It’s almost a given she would have done so as a senior at the State Meet.

Starcher was also the anchor leg of a Ripley 4x400 meter relay team that won the state title three consecutive years.

She helped Ripley finish as the Class AAA runner-up as a freshman (losing the title by just two points). The Lady Vikings then reigned supreme in Class AAA as champs in 2018 and 2019.

Starcher also won a state championship in cross country her sophomore year in the fall of 2017.

Injuries prevented her from likely winning three others.

She put her name on the national scene by winning the mile run in record-breaking time at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia her junior year.

While it’s been tough for many athletes such as Tori Starcher, the good news is brighter days are ahead.

She will indeed compete once more.

We can’t wait.

WVU AND MARSHALL: While it hasn’t been good news for some conferences around the country, area West Virginia University and Marshall fans are in luck.

At the moment, both the Big 12 Conference, in which West Virginia is a member, and Conference-USA, where Marshall resides, are still planning to have sports in the fall.

Let’s hope it sticks.

As I’ve been saying for some time, something is better than nothing at all.

MOUNTAIN EAST: Back to the bad news department, the Mountain East Conference announced on Thursday it would shelve all fall sports until the spring.

Again that had an impact locally.

There are some former Jackson County athletes who compete for various MEC schools in the fall.

Alex Easthom, fresh off his West Virginia State Amateur golf title this summer, was gearing up for a big junior season at West Liberty.

Jacob Anthony, a Ravenswood football standout, was bound to begin his college football career at Glenville State College.

Also at Glenville, Blake and Bryce Jarrell, two former Ravenswood running stars, were going to get their days competing at the collegiate level underway.

We feel for these athletes in the worst way.

DAVE AND KEMP: A pair of former Jackson County head football coaches are together once again this season.

Dave Tennant is in season number two as the head football coach at Meigs Local High School.

His top assistant is Kemp Kelly.

Tennant spent two seasons as Ripley’s head football coach.

Kelly guided Ravenswood football for three years.

While serving as head coach at Eastern, Kelly was Tennant’s offensive coordinator.

When Tennant made the move to Ripley in the seasons of 2013 and 2014, Kelly headed up his offense with the Vikings.

Tennant then spent one season on Kelly’s staff at Ravenswood.

Speaking of offense, the Marauders will feature one of the top quarterbacks in Southeastern Ohio this season and next.

Coulter Cleland, a junior, a starter the past two years has been turning a lot of heads and has several Division I schools showing interest.

Like all Ohio schools, Meigs was forced into a six-week schedule with COVID-19.

We look forward to keeping up with the Marauders.

WHITE FALCON NUMBERS: Gazing across the river, one of Ravenswood’s opponents this season has good numbers.

The Wahama White Falcons, who are starting year three with James Toth at the helm, will likely have “34 to 38 kids” according to the White Falcon leader playing football this season.

We had a chance to check out one of Wahama's practices last week.

Wahama is going to open its season at a neutral site still to be determined against Weirton Madonna September 4.

Madonna is the school Wahama defeated for the Class A state championship in 2012.

It’s interesting to note, Wahama was open in Week 1 of the original schedule and had Southern Local as its first game.

Ravenswood also has lost Southern from its schedule. The Tornadoes and Devils would have squared off August 28.

So both had Southern as an opener and now neither will get to square off with the Racine-based school.

Ravenswood and Wahama meet October 9.