Webster gets in, Wahama on hold

RIPLEY – There was some good news and some bad news that came out of Monday’s Little Kanawha Conference meeting conducted at Shoney’s Restaurant.

The good news is that the conference, which now has 14 members, will expand by one for the upcoming 2013-14 season as Webster County’s petition to join the small school league was accepted. The bad news surrounds former LKC member Wahama as an apparent miscommunication between the White Falcons’ administration and the league resulted in no representation at the meeting and no petition to join the conference.

“Right now, Webster got in, Wahama didn’t,” explained Braxton County director of athletics Lynn Stalnaker, who also serves as the LKC’s president. “But I’m not sure that it has to be be decided by all of the ADs.

“The way I read the bylaws, you can’t let anyone in until the spring.”

Which means that Wahama still could petition the league to become its 16th member, but that petition would have to come almost immediately or wait until the spring of 2014 to renew its membership in the conference.

“Our next meeting is slated for Sept. 3 in Flatwoods,” continued Stalnaker. “At that meeting we will discuss the new pod system that was presented by coach (Mick) Price and begin scheduling for the spring sports.”

For now, however, the conference will go with a 15-team format, that divides its members into two classifications in football-Class AA and Class A-and into four pods in volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball.

Championships in football will be decided by the final WVSSAC rating in Class A and by head-to-head competition in Class AA while golf, cross country, wrestling and track will continue to decide their winners via a conference championship involving all the LKC’s members.

The new four-pod system could be utilized in volleyball, boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball. League members would be divided into two divisions (East and West), with each division being split into two pods.

Teams would be required to play home-and-home contests against each team in its pod and then single games against each team in the other pod in its division-two would be home games while two would be on the road.

The new West Division pods would find Wirt County, Parkersburg Catholic and Ravenswood in one while Ritchie County, Williamstown, St. Marys and Tyler Consolidated would make up the other. In the East, Braxton County, Doddridge County, Gilmer County and South Harrison would make up one pod while the other would include Webster County, Calhoun County, Roane County and Clay County.

“The pods won’t go into effect until the spring of 2014,” said Ravenswood director of athletics Mick Price, who also serves as the school’s head football and boys basketball coach. “I think it will be a plus. It will really open up our schedules so that we can maybe play some different teams in the future without teams having to drop teams that were their natural rivals.”

Conference members also discussed the adoption of a rule which would require members to make a five-year commitment to the league. Schools that attempt to leave before the five-year period would be subject to an exit fee.

“An exit fee would protect everybody,” said Stalnaker. “It would stop schools from joining one year and then deciding to leave the next. With schedules being made years in advance, teams coming and going have left teams scrambling for games to make up for their leaving.”

The LKC was formed in 1947. Webster County, located in Upperglade, opened in 1974 and is a consolidation of Webster Springs and Cowen High Schools.