Man volley, Logan cheer headed to state

By Paul Adkins Sports Editor

November 12, 2013

It was a good weekend for the Man High School volleyball team and the Logan High School cheerleaders.

Both squads are headed to the state tournament.

The Man volleyball team made history by becoming the first ever Logan County volleyball squad to make it to state. The Lady Billies finished as Class A regional runner-ups on Saturday at Fayetteville.

The Logan cheerleading squad also advanced to the Class AAA state tournament with a second place finish at Saturday’s 3A regional competition at Spring Valley High School. Logan’s cheer team was state runner-ups last season.

The Man netters beat host Fayetteville 3-1 on Saturday in the Class A regionals to advance. Man then lost 3-0 in the regional championship match to Greater Beckley Christian.

The Lady Billies beat Fayetteville 25-18, 25-12, 10-25 and 25-21, then lost 25-20, 25-22 and 25-11 to GBC finish as regional runner-ups.

Man has played volleyball since the 1990s and have never made it to the state tournament. The Lady Billies are scheduled to play at state on Friday at the Charleston Civic Center.

The Logan cheer team is slated to compete at state on Friday, Dec. 13, also at the Charleston Civic Center. Logan was second at state last year, finishing less than three points away from eventual state champion Brooke.

Man volleyball coach Orlando Washington said his team has steadily improved all season. Man brings a 24-20-1 record to state.

“I felt like freshman Hunter Harvey played the best overall on Saturday is both matches,” Washington said. “Mika McCoy and Hannah Harvey played well in the first match. This season has truly been a team effort with different girls playing well at different times whether it be Tiffany Belcher, Summer Combs, Jada Harris, Katie Curry, or even freshmen like Shauntae Miller or Tori Wenzel being ready to play. Senior Sarah Grimmett has also made solid contributions this season and my last freshman Megan Goodman has been very positive and supportive of her teammates this year and played well in JV games this year.”

Washington said his girls have worked very hard to get to where they are at.

“These girls started in June during the three-week period and during that time I believed that this group could be better than last year’s,” he said. “Then two weeks before the season started I began strength and conditioning training to get them ready for the season. Every single girl showed up almost every day which told me this team might be different because these girls decided to make a commitment. As you know its hard for kids to understand that the preseason is just as important as the regular season. The attendance in the off-season and the work put in has something to do with the success we have had this year along with a change in attitudes which is good to see.”

Washington said he’s proud of his team.

“Some of the girls are truly beginning to feel pain when we they lose or make too many mistakes,” he said. “That is what teams need if they are truly going to be successful as I have told you are going to make mistakes but the key is correcting your mistakes so you can improve as a player. These girls are the first team to make the state tournament in the 16-year existence of the program which is something to be proud of. I did not know we were the first team in the county to make it to state so that is a good accomplishment for these young ladies as well.”

Washington said his team will not show up at the state tournament and just be happy to be there.

“I want my girls to enjoy it but at the same time understand that we are not happy just to be there,” he said. “We are in the big dance to win it and continue to our program on the map even further. This program has come a long way since I took it over and its good to see the hard work is paying off. I am also sure that a lot of people are happy for us in the volleyball community as well seeing how much we have improved on a year-to-year basis in play and in numbers.”

The Logan cheerleaders are coached by Michelle Akers.

Logan finished second in the Class AAA regionals behind host Spring Valley which also advanced to state. Spring Valley beat Logan by less than six points.

“We had no deducations and we performed our routine without error,” Akers said. “We do realize that we need to bump up our tumbling. That’s going to be our primary focus in the next four weeks. We are ready to start today.”

Akers said it’s still good to advance to state either as a regional champion or runner-up.

“Our goal is to be the state champion,” she said. “The playing field is leveled. Once the eight teams make it you are not ranked either as a runner-up or a regional champion. Everyone is even. We feel like we are ready. Our goal is still to be the state champion and we’re going to work as hard as it takes to get that goal.”

This year’s state cheerleading competition has been moved back one day to Friday, Dec. 13. It’s normally on a Saturday but this year the Civic Center will be occupied on Saturday, Dec. 14 with the West Virginia-Marshall basketball game.

Akers said Class AAA will go first, then 2A and Single-A will follow. Logan will go fourth in the Triple-A division.

“WVU plays Marshall on Saturday, so this is the first time it has been held on a Friday,” Akers said.

Akers said, as always, the state cheer field will be tough.

“We were less than three points away from a state championship last year,” she said. “We set our goal back in June to be the state champion this year. Of course, Brooke High School is very good, and obviously, Spring Valley has a lot of talent this year. But we’re ready to beat them both. That’s our goal and that’s what we intend to work on until we reach it.”

Also competing at state will be Class A Tug Valley, last year’s Single-A state champion and the 2A state winner two years ago.

Tug Valley won its Class A regional championship on Saturday.