WHEELING - There may not be a bigger week each year for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference than the one that is about to take place. Weather permitting, and it looks to be a dicey situation, the 50-team conference will hold three separate championship events.
The raquets will be swinging when the boys take the court at 8:30 this morning at West Liberty University for doubles action, and the girls will hold the doubles part of their tournament a day later at the same time. On Wednesday, the boys' singles portion is held, and the girls' singles portion concludes the tournament Thursday.
A champion and runner-up will be decided in two classes this year, Class 5A and Class 1A-4A. The defending champions are the 5A Cambridge boys, 1A-4A East Liverpool and Wheeling Central boys, 5A University girls and the 1A-4A Linsly girls.
In addition, coaches will vote on a male and female who best exhibit good sportsmanship, honoring them with the Carol Strasser Sportsmanship Award. Strasser was a standout during her tennis playing days and eventually became the OVAC Tennis Director for several years.
So weather interfere, the tournament will be moved inside at the Wheeling Park tennis bubble.
Semifinal action gets under way at 4 p.m. Tuesday on Field 3 at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex. That's when Wheeling Central takes on Bridgeport, followed by another Class 2A matchup, between River and Shadyside at 5:45 p.m. Class 3A Steubenville Catholic and Madonna meet at 7:30.
Meanwhile, Class 1A takes center stage on Field 4, beginning at 5:15 p.m. when St. John tangles with Bishop Donahue, followed by Madonna and Paden City at 7 p.m.
A Class 3A matchup between Shenandoah and Bellaire at 4 p.m. gets things started on Wednesday at Field 3. That's followed by Class 5A games pitting Indian Creek and Cambridge at 5:45 p.m., and the nightcap, which will be played at 7:30 p.m., features Wheeling Park and John Marshall.
Field 4 plays host to a pair of Class 3A matchups as Martins Ferry battles Steubenville at 5:15, and Buckeye Local meets Harrison Central at 7 p.m.
If rain interferes, the semifinals will be moved to Thursday, also at I-470. The championships are set for Saturday.
The matchups were set last weekend, and the titles will be awarded Friday and Saturday at the Red Knight Baseball Complex in Toronto and Steubenville's Vaccaro Field, respectively.
It all begins Friday with Linsly taking on Bellaire at 5 p.m. in the 3A final at Toronto. That's followed by the Class 4A championship at 7:30 p.m., pitting Martins Ferry and Steubenville.
The action switches to Vaccaro on Saturday, with three crowns set to be decided. At 10 a.m. Bishop Donahue goes for its fourth consecutive Class 1A title when it battles Madonna.
At 1:30 p.m. the big schools take center stage, as Wheeling Park and Edison will decide the Class 5A tournament. Wrapping it all up is the Class 2A championship at 4 p.m., between Caldwell and Shadyside.