The finest Class AA and A athletes and coaches from around the area will be honored tonight at the 15th annual Coalfield Conference Awards Banquet.

Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. at the Raleigh County Armory Conference Center.

“It’s a good way for the seniors to end their year,” said Rick Vass, the conference’s commissioner since 1992.

Each of the Coalfield Conference’s 13 Class AA and nine Class A schools will name its top male and female athletes.

The coach of the year for each sport, in both classes, will be honored as well as the Retired Coach of the Year.

There are also Individual Achievement awards.

“Those (recognize) kids who excelled in just one sport,” Vass said, “Kind of like we did with (Fayetteville cross country and track star) Jessica Taylor a couple of years ago.”

The evening’s highlight will be the announcement of the four Impact Player of the Year awards, which go to a boy and girl in each class.

Last year Shady Spring’s Autumn Mitchell and Wyoming East’s Kyle Muscari were the Class AA winners. Richwood’s Lutrisha Little and Greenbrier West’s Chris Fleming won in Class A.

Radio personality Paul Van Scott of Southern Communications will emcee the event, which continues to grow despite the conference losing its Class AAA teams two years ago.

“Our first banquet was in 1992 at the old Cattleman’s Restaurant,” Vass said. “We had 50 people then. Now we’re getting around 220.”

The public is invited to the event. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $15.

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