By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
This will be a historic week in West Virginia sports history, and Beckley will play a big part.
The West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will crown champions in four sports — baseball, softball and men’s and women’s track and field — on Saturday. Whichever finishes last will carry the distinction of being league’s final champion ever.
The WVIAC, which was founded in 1924, will disband after this season. The member schools will form the Mountain East Conference and begin competition in August.
The baseball tournament will start Wednesday at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley. The venue that opened in 2010 also hosted the tournament in 2011. Concord breezed through the four-day event, beating West Virginia State for their fourth conference title and first since 2001.
“This is something special. To me it has a little bit of sentimental value to it because I used to coch in the conference,” said Tim Epling, the former head coach at WVU Tech. “People will be able to witness history. Not everyone will remember the first game in the conference but everybody will remember the last one. This will be a historic event. It’s an honor to have the tournament in Beckley.”
Seton Hill is the No. 1 seed in the North as the division champion. Shepherd is second, West Liberty third and Fairmont State fourth.
In the South, West Virginia State is first, followed by Concord, Davis & Elkins and the University of Charleston.
Concord and West Liberty will open the tournament at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Seton Hill plays Charleston at 12:30 p.m. in the second game of the day, followed by Shepherd squares off against Davis & Elkins at 3:30 p.m. and West Virginia State and Fairmont at 6:30 p.m.
The championship game will be played Saturday at either 1 p.m. or 4 p.m., depending on how many teams remain alive after Friday’s games.
— On the internet: www.wviac.org