CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK — Quick thinking by Logan High School Tennis Coach Justin Turner made history for Logan County on Friday when he brought the Class AAA Region 4 tennis tournament to the Chief Logan Rec Center and the Logan High tennis courts after a torrential downpour in Charleston.
The tournament, which features Logan, Capital, Riverside, South Charleston, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, Greenbrier East, St. Albans and George Washington high schools, started out at the University of Charleston’s tennis courts in Kanawha City on Thursday with doubles matches, but Friday’s competition was rained out.
With nowhere else to compete and no time to reschedule since the state competition is next week, Turner called Wally Thornhill, the Chief Logan Rec Center board president, and asked if the tournament could be brought to Logan County, where there were 12 tennis courts available between the Rec Center’s three indoor courts and Logan High School’s and Chapmanville Regional High School’s outdoor courts.
Thornhill worked with the schools and the Rec Center to get approval, while Turner called the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission in Parkersburg to get the OK.
Everything worked out and all the tennis teams then made the drive to Logan and the competition resumed on schedule.
It was a first for Logan County, which had never hosted a regional tennis competition.
Turner said he was glad everything worked out so well so that the tourney could go on.
For the first time in state high school sports history, Logan County hosted a regional tennis tournament at the Chief Logan Rec Center and the Logan High School Tennis Courts.
“This is the first time in West Virginia tennis history that we’ve hosted a regional tournament in Logan,” Turner said. “On Thursday, we started the tournament at Watt Powell, which is the home court for George Washington and that’s where we always play it. They got doubles competition out of the way on Thursday and now today is singles. We got over there around 8 a.m. and it was raining heavily and they said we’d just wait around. We waited around until 10 a.m. and then I called Wally and Rec Center Director Terry Mullins to make sure if the center was available and it was, so I offered it to the tournament director. About 10:30, they decided to come on down to Logan.”
Turner said the Rec Center became the base for the tournament, with the other courts available for use.
“It’s a good place to host a tournament and I’m really glad we were able to do it,” Turner said. “This gives the people from Charleston and other areas to come to Logan and we want to show off our county and our facilities.”
There were 64 boys and girls singles matches that were expected to continue late into the night.
Turner praised the community cooperation between the Rec Center, Logan High Principal Bob Lucas and Chapmanville Regional Athletics Director Danny Godby.
“The community pulled together,” Turner said. “The administrations at Logan High School and Chapmanville pulled through, along with Terry at the Rec Center and Wally Thornhill, who all worked together to give us these courts. Everything worked out well.”
Logan tennis player Logan Adkins said playing at home makes a big difference for the LHS players.
“It makes a huge difference,” Adkins said. “You really wouldn’t think in tennis it would make that big of a difference, compared to other sports that have pep sections. But, inside yourself, you feel this is your court and you go in with an advantage. I really enjoy playing with homecourt advantage. It’s a nice change.”
Greenbrier East Coach Norman Ahern said everyone in Logan was very hospitable to the teams.
“This has been a real challenge today, with the weather and all we’ve faced,” Ahern said. “It’s taken a lot of good cooperation between the coaches and the tournament director to get it all in. This is a nice place to play. It’s good to get this in especially as far as we have to travel, because it will take me three and a half hours to get home.”
Thornhill said it took a lot of cooperation from all parties involved to bring the tournament to Logan.
“Justin Turner called me at 8:30 a.m. and he said it was raining and there were no indoor courts available in Charleston until after 6 p.m., so I called Terry to see what we had scheduled,” Thornhill said. “I was sitting here riding a spin class bike, waiting for the call from the WVSSAC to say they could do it and after we got the call, we moved everything for the spin classes and all the other equipment off the court and the maintenance people at the high school got the courts ready. On short notice, from the time they left Charleston and made the drive down here, we got everything put together. Everybody worked on this to get it done.”
Thornhill said bringing the tournament to Logan shows the state that Logan is ready to host more competitions.
“The coach from Riverside said thanks and praised our facilities,” Thornhill said.
Bringing future regional tournaments to Logan is possible with the Chief Logan Lodge available for teams that have to travel long distances and the number of lighted courts ready for competition, Thornhill said.
“We will bid for a regional tournament next year and I honestly believe we will get it,” Thornhill said. “People who have come here for a swim meet and now a tennis competition now know what great facilities we have. The Chief Logan Rec Center now makes us a player in state athletics. Just like Charleston and Wheeling have state competitions, we could do a regional swim meet and we know we can do a regional tennis tournament. There is stuff here that we can do and bringing this regional tournament here shows that we are a state player.”
Thornhill thanked Turner for coming up with the idea to bring the tournament to Logan.
“We have a lot of good people working in the right direction,” Thornhill said. “I want to thank everyone involved. This is a great opportunity for our area.”