Last fall, Jefferson County high school swimmers and their parents got the bad news from school board officials—there would be no regular season meets, mostly due to the unavailability of the swimming pool at Shepherd University’s Wellness Center.

Once again, a varsity sport had fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. There had been some informal discussions on the possibility of finding an alternate location for high school meets, but nothing developed.

WVSSAC officials allowed regional and state swim meets to forward last winter. While schools were pleased to be able to have a short season, beginning with regionals, it just didn’t seem like a normal season. All of that frustration ended last Saturday.

Jefferson and Washington high schools’ swim teams had their official season-opener at Shepherd, joining with Hedgesville and Spring Mills high schools for a multi-team meet.

“This was our first big meet after that long layoff,” Jefferson coach Glenn Edwards said. “It’s great to see the kids and crowds back at the pool.”

The Shepherd swimming pool is used by most of the high school teams in the Eastern Panhandle. Hampshire High School, about an hour away in Romney, also treks to Shepherdstown for meets. 

The university will host the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference Championships on Jan. 22.

Sophie Stuart, who also plays soccer for Jefferson High, swam in the 50 and 100 freestyle and in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay. She hadn’t been a high school swimmer before. But her sister had been a swimmer, so Stuart thought she’d give the sport a try.

Stuart has another reason for swimming. She’s coming off a broken elbow she sustained last March and is using the sport as part of a physical therapy regimen.

“I completely split it through the bone,” Stuart said. “I had surgery at the very end of March. If there had been a regular season, I think I would have come out for the team, but they only took 16 people last year and didn’t really have a tryout.”

THE LOCAL HORSE RACING industry lost one of its major backers on Saturday. Sam Huff, former linebacker for the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, died on Saturday from complications resulting from dementia. He was 87.

Huff, a West Virginia native, and pro football Hall of Famer, played 14 seasons in the NFL. In later years, he joined Frank Herzog and Sonny Jurgenson in the radio booth for Redskins broadcasts over the Washington Redskins Radio Network. That relationship lasted for 38 years before his health declined and he was unable to continue.

In his later years, Huff was a horse racing advocate. He was one of the co-founders of the West Virginia Breeders Classics and made appearances at the track at the Hollywood Casino and Charles Town Races.

JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL football player Nolan Meehleib has been named the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year. From his defensive back spot, Meehleib helped lead the Cougars to a 9-1, regular-season record and a berth in the WVSSAC Class AAA playoffs.

Jefferson picked up four first-team spots on offense. Sammy Roberts (quarterback), Evan Tewell (running back), Spencer Powell (wide receiver) and Joseph Saenez (lineman) made the first team. 

On defense, Cayson Lanza (lineman) and Keyshawn Robinson (defensive back) were first-teamers in EPAC. 

Washington High School’s Tyler Meizenzahl (running back), Jefferson’s Isaiah Fritts (wide receiver), Washington’s Zach Wharton (lineman), Jefferson’s Davis Cummings (lineman) and Jefferson’s Jah’Lonnie Hollis (lineman) were named second-team offense. 

Jefferson’s Joey Slaughter and Jahon Reis were second-team picks on defense (linemen). Washington’s Koltin Childress was named second-team linebacker, as was Jefferson’s Bryson Fleming. 

The EPAC teams were named by conference coaches.

SEVEN JEFFERSON COUNTY girls’ soccer players were named first team All-EPAC.

Washington’s Chloe Miller, Jessica Repetto and Erica Schnable; and Jefferson’s Chloe de Moulin, Sera Hawley, Mallory Hobbs and Grace Lochner made the first team.

Hannah Hill and Lauren Schwartz of Washington made the second team. Jefferson’s Lorelei Bangit, Caelin Barr, Cameron Dillow and Gabriella Savage were also second-team picks.

The EPAC teams were selected by coaches in the conference.

 

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