The final Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Champions of the 2013-14 school will be crowned in less than a week.
The Cal Giffin OVAC Track and Field Championship opens its five-day stay at St. Clairsville Red Devil Stadium today. Qualifying rounds will run through Thursday with field events beginning at 4 p.m. each day. The championship meet will be held on Saturday with field events starting at 10 a.m. and running at noon.
The 3A and 5A schools will begin the qualifying action today and conclude Wednesday. The Class 1A/2A, which will be combined again this season, and Class 4A will compete on Tuesday and Thursday.
The top three fastest times, in each class, will automatically qualify to Saturday's championship run. The remaining four spots will go to the top four times that didn't automatically qualify.
In the championship meet, two-heat finals in races shorter than 800 meters will once again be utilized with the top eight qualifying times running in the 'hot' heat.
The distance races will be combined into one race and the throwing events as well as the high and long jumps will all utilize four throws.
All of the scoring for the class championships will be done on Saturday. The first four days serve simply as a qualifier.
The top eight individuals will receive an award and the champion of each separate class will also be recognized.
In terms of individual events, the meet returns seven defending champions on the boys' side and four girls in five events on the girls' side.
The boys returning champions include: St. Clairsville's Jaylon Brown (100), Cambridge's Eric Fox (pole vault) and Errick Snell (high hurdles), Fort Frye's Jon Anderson (3200), Morgantown's Zachary Kilwein (800), Meadowbrook's Darren McCaughan (long jump) and Parkersburg South's Dylan Rippeto (discus).
On the girls' side, the defending gold medalists are Steubenville's Elise Watts (long jump), Edison's Katelyn Pollock (high jump), John Marshall's Tori Derrow (high hurdles) and St. John Central's Fallon Doyle (800 and 1600).
The defending boys team champions are: Clay-Battelle (1A-2A), Linsly (3A), Meadowbrook (4A) and Wheeling Park (5A).
The reigning girls' champions are: St. John (1A-2A), River (3A), Martins Ferry (4A) and Morgantown (5A).
The Lady Irish have won 15 conference titles and have claimed the last 12 championships in the process.
Martins Ferry is seeking a three-peat on the girls' side and is one of the favorites in Class 4A boys' field as well.
"It's going to be a battle, and the fun part of it is finding out how we can put the pieces in place to get it done," Materkoski said. "These senior girls are the ones who got the ball rolling as freshmen and they deserve to go out as champions.
"We are going to give it all we have to get that done, and we look forward to the challenge."
Long-time track and field gurus Butch and Donna Joseph are once again serving as the overall directors of the meet. St. Clairsville head coach Ben Frye is the site director at Red Devil Stadium.
The day one and two order of events is as follows: 4x8 (G), high hurdles (G), high hurdles (B), 100 meter dash (G), 100 meter dash (B), 4x8 (B), 4x2 (G), 4x2 (B), 3200 (G), 400 meter dash (G), 400 meter dash (B), 3200 (B).
The day three and four order of events is as follows: 1600 (G), 200 meter dash (G), 200 meter dash (B), 1600 (B), 300 low hurdles (G), 300 intermediate hurdles (B), 4x1 (G), 4x1 (B), 800 (G), 800 (B), shuttles (G), shuttles (B), 4x4 (G), 4x4 (B).
The first-round of qualifying field events are: discus (B), high jump (G), shot put (G), pole vault (B and G). Remaining field events will be held during the second day of qualifying.
There will also be a wheelchair 400 meter event contested during the championship meet.