The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

October 31, 2012

Frankenstorm wreaks sports havoc: State soccer tournament postponed

Event will be played Tuesday and Wednesday in Beckley

There’s no beating Mother Nature.

The massive snowstorm from Hurricane Sandy has forced the postponement of this weekend’s state soccer tournament in Beckley.

Originally set for Friday and Saturday at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex, the tournament has been rescheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at the same location.

A press release from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission said Kevin Taylor, director of Emergency Services for the City of Beckley, had encouraged the SSAC to reschedule the tournament.

SSAC Executive Director Gary Ray said other venues were discussed, but pulling the necessary personnel needed to host a state tournament would be extremely difficult at this late date.

Beckley has hosted the tournament for the past eight years.

“The tournament committee at the Beckley YMCA facility has more than 75 volunteers who meet numerous times during the year planning the event,” Ray said. “It is in the best interest of our student athletes to reschedule the tournament for Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Tournament co-director Dave Laraba said all efforts will be made to have Paul Cline Stadium and Carter Family Foundation Stadium ready by Tuesday.

“Most of our volunteers will be able to move their time off to next week. Their employers are pretty understanding,” Laraba said. “So far we’re OK, but we’re at the mercy of the elements.

“There’s not a lot we can do until the snow stops. Then we’ll see how fast it goes away.”

He added that moving the tournament, even beyond logistics, is a problem. Sandy is a statewide problem, not just a Beckley problem.

Except for Parkersburg, every school with a team entered in the tournament is closed today.

“There are power outages all over the state. Kids can’t get to practices,” Laraba said. “There could be flooding in some parts of the state.

“People said, ‘Why not play somewhere else?’ but you could have problems this weekend that don’t have a thing to do with Beckley.”

He added that a positive for playing next week is that since schools are closed Tuesday for the elections, students will only have to miss classes for one day.

The tournament schedule will remain the same, only pushed back a few days.

Class AA-A games get under way at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Carter Family Foundation Stadium. Class AAA action starts at 10 a.m. at Paul Cline Memorial Stadium.

“We have a lot of good people and support from the community,” Laraba said. “We want to put on a good event for the teams coming in.”

While disappointed not to be playing this weekend, Laraba pointed out that it’s only a sports tournament.

“You have to remember people in New York and New Jersey,” he said. “It’s a lot worse for them.”

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