WHEELING - It's been a hectic week for the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission and Executive Director Gary Ray.
Still, Ray found time in his busy schedule to stop by WesBanco Arena for the annual Super Six Luncheon as the prep football playoffs are set to begin Friday around the state.
Because of last week's Hurricane Sandy, almost 2 feet of snow surrounded the Beckley area, forcing the state soccer tournament to Tuesday and Wednesday. Add to that the state volleyball tournament held Friday and Saturday in Charleston.
''It's been quite busy, but this is an exciting time,'' Ray told a room filled with sponsors and media. ''It's good to try and look forward. We want to get things back to normal for these students and that is hopefully what this week's activities will do.''
That was a sentiment echoed by Wheeling Park assistant superintendent and Super Six co-director Bernie Dolan.
''We hope that over the next week everybody gets their power back and things start getting back to normal,'' Dolan said. ''For us, we hope this will be something everyone can look forward to and put the bad week behind them. This is something they can enjoy.''
Things will get started at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 31 with the annual kickoff dinner, this year being held at the Capitol Music Hall Ballroom.
Friday will feature the all-state meeting by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, along with the Class AA game at 7:30 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Saturday's slate begins with the Academic Achievement Awards at 9 a.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium, with the Class AAA game being played at noon and the Class A game at 7 p.m.
''I want to thank Wheeling, it gets better each time,'' Ray said. ''This weekend, it's not about Gary Ray. It's not about Bernie Dolan. It's not about (Ohio County Schools Superintendent) Diana Vargo.
''It's about the kids. We want to make sure the kids enjoy themselves. I always think back to what Sam Mumley and Howard Corcoran always said. Those were two gentlemen that meant what they said. They wanted this to be about the kids.''
Last year at this time, Wheeling was just hoping the Super Six would be making its return to Wheeling Island Stadium. The contract was up and bids were placed.
In the end, though, the Friendly City will play host to the championship weekend for the 19th straight year since first welcoming the games in 1994.
''It feels good that we have four more years and we just want to keep improving,'' Dolan said. ''We want to make sure we don't have any slip ups. We are good for four and let's just keep getting better and tweaking it as best we can.
''A lot of credit goes to Sam Mumley and Howard Corcoran. It's easier to keep the ball rolling than it is to get it started.''
Seven OVAC teams will take part in the postseason with Wheeling Park, Morgantown and University playing in Class AAA, while Magnolia, Madonna, Clay-Battelle and Wheeling Central vie for the Class A trophy.