Some of the state’s top athletes from many sports in and around Kanawha County will gather this week with several North-South All-Star games on the schedule for the coming days.
Activities will begin Thursday with North-South Softball Classic played at Buffalo High School. Friday will see a double show of girls’ and boys’ basketball games from the North and South at the South Charleston Community Center. Finally, Saturday will see the North-South football game at South Charleston High School.
While there won’t be any Ohio Valley players participating in the girls’ basketball classics, the district will be represented where Wheeling Park coach Ryan Young will lead the North team.
“It’s always fun to see these kids from all over the state getting together and just having fun,” said Young, who has coached the game once before. “I think it’s just a good experience for everyone insofar as they play one last game before they move on, and for most of them, they play in college.”
While Young will not be familiar with many of the players on his roster, he does know his assistant coach well. And for good reason, their teams played five of the most entertaining games this past high school season. Young will be joined on the north sideline by former Morgantown head coach Jason White, who resigned after the AAAA division game this season as his family prepares to move to North Carolina.
“That’s one of the reasons I’ve been looking forward to doing it,” Young said of his training alongside Wyatt.
White told the Charleston Gazette Mail Tuesday that he plans to train for Friday’s game and then actually get into his car and drive to North Carolina on Saturday morning.
“He would go on to be one of the best coaches in the history of West Virginia Girls’ High School,” Young said. “He has definitely made me a better coach just because you have to prepare for him a lot, he is as good as I saw. To be able to train with him in this match, with it being his last game here, I think it will be fun.”
Jimmy Lamster of George Washington and Pat Jones of Nitro will coach Team South. The game is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. Friday from the South Charleston Community Center.
“You always want to represent the northern part of the state well,” Young said. “Anytime you get a chance at games like this, you want to try and win for the people of the North, but at the end of the day it’s all about having fun.”
Basketball for boys
The North-South All-Star Basketball Classic will immediately follow the girls’ game at 7:30 p.m. at the South Charleston Community Center. The North team will be managed by Jarrod West of Notre Dame and Mark Barnhart of St Mary’s.
The northern roster is brimming with talents from the Ohio Valley such as Wheeling Central’s Ryan Resbeek, Trevor Beresford, Caleb Strode of Tyler Consolidated and Trevor Williamson of Magnolia. The four were selected as the first All-State team in their respective classes.
The Southern side will be coached by Josh Daniel of South Charleston and Derek Brooks of East Wyoming, and West Virginia’s two-time Player of the Year Isaac McNeely of Boca will also be coached.
The North-South Softball Classic will take place Thursday at Buffalo High School.
Four teams representing each state region will play two games Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. with Region 3 against Region 4.
District 1, which contains the Ohio Valley, will play District 2 at 11 a.m.
After the awards ceremony, match 3 will feature the losers from the morning matches and the day will conclude with the morning winners playing each other in match 4.
The Zone 1 team will be led by coaching staff from Ritchie County and Buckhannon-Upshur, including head coaches Dave Moser (RC) and Levi Bender (BU).
Among the local athletes who play in Zone 1 are Emily Knorr of Brooke, teammates Weir Madison Angus and Mallory Rosnick, Hayley Thompson of Wheeling Park, and Audrey Dennis of Tyler Consolidated.
The North-South All-Star football game will return on Saturday noon from South Charleston High School.
North Bears will be coached by Muselman’s Brian Thomas and assisted by Matt Altupelo (Morefield), Paul Burdett (Ron County) and Aaron Roll (Hampshire). For the South Cardinals, Spring Valley coach Brad Dinges will be assisting Billy Sells (Huntington), Ray Brooke (Huntington) and Trevor Stacey (Spring Valley).
Local Bears players include Welling Central defensive end breakout Aiden Becker, Cameron Ole Stater Isaac Paul and his Wheeling Park teammates Colt Thomas, Braden Hope Walk, Glenn Linman, Dylan Conley.