WHEELING - The 50th Annual West Virginia Open is in full swing. With more than 100 participants, the event is not short on competition, especially when several of those competitors are returning champions.
Thursday, in the Men's Open Singles event, Jeremy McClelland defeated Kevin Schaffert and moved onto a quarterfinal match, which takes place at noon today. McClelland is the No. 1 seed in the Men's Open Singles division and at 23, has won the West Virginia Open three times.
"It's my favorite tournament," he said. "There are good players out here."
Ron Mercer serves during action of the West Virginia Open on Thursday.
PHOTO BY CASEY DEAN
McClelland, who hails from Wheeling, has been in the finals of the competition the last five years and is no stranger to the tournament.
"This will be my 10th year. I started this tournament when I was 13," McClelland said.
McClelland said that although he's noticed a decrease in the audience turnout for the West Virginia Open in recent years, the pressure to win is still there.
"The most pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself," he said.
Also moving on to the quarterfinals is Ron Mercer, who defeated Tyler McCullough in the Men's Open Singles division. Mercer started participating in the tournament at the age of 15 and has been in the finals 10 times, having won five of those.
"It's always a good atmosphere," Mercer said. "It's a great tournament."
Mercer plays at 10:30 this morning in the quarterfinals.
Tournament Director Heather Gallagher said the West Virginia Open is a tournament people keep returning to.
"It's a nice event and Oglebay is such a beautiful location that a lot of participants keep coming back," she said. "Families often use this as a getaway."