BUCKHANNON – The spotlight was on Upshur County athletes and their coaches as they received kudos and Upshur Stars during the Wednesday Upshur County Board of Education meeting at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
B-UHS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Rick Reynolds helped introduce the student-athletes, including members of the swim team; wrestling team; and girls and boys track and field teams.
“We have a lot of student-athletes we are very proud of,” Reynolds said to the Upshur County Board. “They did a great job of getting to states, qualifying, and [they] include the wrestling team, boys track, girls track and boys and girls swimming. I am very proud of them.”
The first group to be introduced were the swimmers. Reynolds said the swim team does very well and he was proud of their performance. Swimmers included Preston Bennett, Cadence Vincent and McKenzie Reynolds who were present at Wednesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting.
“We have had a lot of kids that have placed in the top five, but the only state champ we had in our building this year is Cadence Vincent,” Reynolds said.
Jacob Orr, wrestling coach at B-UHS, said his team was easy to coach because they are hard-working.
Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus presented Orr with an Upshur Star for all the work he did with the students. Orr then introduced wrestling members Aiden Wilson, Julius Hobbs, Nathan Cornett, William Garcia and Breagan Pearson.
“Breagan is going to West Liberty to wrestle next year,” Orr shared. “Julius is going to attend Wheeling University.”
Wrestling team members then asked for a round of applause for Coach Orr, who was named the Big 10 Conference Coach of the Year. Stankus again congratulated Orr on his accomplishment.
B-UHS Girls Track Coach Jackie Zuliani said she was proud of her team.
“We had 10 qualify for the state meet, and we finished ninth out of 32 schools in AAA,” Zuliani said. “They had a goal to get as high as they could, and we had multiple high placers. These girls deserve everything they earned. We missed being conference champions by one point.”
The B-UHS Boys Track Team also were recognized and received Upshur Stars. They were conference champs and their coach, Patty Wager, was named Coach of the Year. Wager said she was only Coach of the Year because of the athletes.
“The award goes to them,” Wager said. “They are the best! We took a bunch of guys from football, basketball, soccer, wrestling and just guys who wanted to improve themselves – we had 43 boys and we put them together. They believed in themselves, and they believed in each other and that is why we won. We were not going to lose.”
Wager offered thanks to the students’ parents and grandparents for sharing their sons with the team.
“When we won Big 10, it was the second time in 26 years that Buckhannon beat Bridgeport,” Wager said. “If anybody knows Bridgeport, most people do not beat them. There were 13 high schools and we won by 36 points – so it wasn’t even close.”
Wager introduced her state qualifiers, saying, “This is a wonderful group of guys and we did it.”
Upshur County Board of Education members recognize outstanding students, staff, athletes, students and volunteers during each meeting and honor them for their accomplishments with the presentation of Upshur Stars. The next Upshur County Board of Education meeting is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 27 in the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Auditorium.