The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 13, 2014

Weather forces Hometown Invitational to rearrange schedule

By Steve Keenan
For The Register-Herald

BECKLEY — The most recent volley from the winter that won’t go away has forced West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament organizers to alter their lineup for this weekend.

Three Division 2 games slated for Friday night, including the championship matchup pitting Meadow Bridge and Paden City, have been shelved.

And Saturday’s all-day lineup for the fourth annual boys event at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center has been tweaked slightly ahead  of the Division 1 championship game featuring Class A No. 6 Valley (14-1) and Clay-Battelle (12-5), which is set for about 7:30 p.m. and is a rematch of the two squads that met in the 2013 WVHIT consolation game.

The Meadow Bridge-Paden City contest has been moved into the 4:30 p.m. Saturday spot originally occupied by St. Marys and Cameron, who opted to play at a neutral site closer to their schools in the fifth-place WVHIT game.

Tournament organizers are holding out hope that more snow predicted for Friday night into Saturday won’t force further shuffling of the games.

“I think Saturday afternoon is supposed to be pretty good (weather-wise),” said WVHIT president Greg Crist. “We’ll play what we can.

“Somehow or another we’ll get the games in. I hate it for the kids. They look forward to this. But you can’t fight the  weather.”

If games can’t be played at all Saturday, Crist said the aim would be to play them possibly on a subsequent Saturday at a location to be determined.

In the WVHIT, 22 public school Class A squads from around the state have played preliminary games in recent weeks in various gyms statewide. A girls division was also contested.

“I think the tournament is definitely doing what we’d hoped it would do,” Crist said earlier this week. “Each year we’ve had it we’ve drawn a little more attention.

“I don’t think it’s stagnated. Everybody’s still gung-ho about it. Everybody who participates has a good time. We just want them to get in there and let ‘em have fun and hopefully get some attention.”

Crist said he would like to see attendance improve, among other things, and he wants to  continue to reach out to the local Summersville community for more participation.

The event is presented once again by chief sponsor Southern West Virginia Health Systems.

Crist said he’d also like to see more sponsorship help to allow tournament organizers to make the event even better.

He said future tournament dates may be tweaked to create some scheduling cushion in the face of poor weather such as the state has encountered this winter.

The afternoon portion of this Saturday’s action will be aired by Local Community TV, according to Crist. “I’m pretty excited they’re going to be doing our tournament,” he said.

Colton Pack, the Danese resident who earned acclaim on X Factor USA, will sing the National Anthem prior to Saturday’s championship game, and local dance teams will provide  entertainment, Crist said.

Admission is $5.

Following are revised Division 1 pairings for Saturday, Feb. 15:

-- 9 a.m. -- Fifteenth-place game, Valley-Wetzel vs. East Hardy

-- 10:30 a.m. -- Thirteenth-place game, Tygarts Valley vs. Doddridge County

-- Noon -- Eleventh-place game, Fayetteville vs. Pocahontas County

-- 1:30 p.m. -- Ninth-place game, Richwood vs. Van

-- 3 p.m. -- Seventh-place game, Midland Trail vs. Sherman

--:30 p.m. -- Division 2 championship, Meadow Bridge vs. Paden City

-- 6 p.m. -- Third-place game, Buffalo vs. Greenbrier West

-- 7:30 p.m. -- Championship game, Clay-Battelle vs. Valley.

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