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Yes, we’ve been through this before.

We’ve announced the start-up dates for the winter sports season at least twice, only having to walk it back both times when COVID-19 numbers spiked, but this time, things are looking much, much better.

The WVSSAC has revised its winter sports schedules. When it comes to Jefferson County schools, things ramp up, beginning March 3. Washington’s girls’ basketball team kicks off its season that day with a road trip to Winchester, Va., for a matchup with James Wood High School.

Five days later, the Patriots have their home-opener, taking on the Trojans of Hampshire High. Barring any further delays or postponements, Washington has scheduled 17 games.

Jefferson’s girls’ basketball teams gets rolling with a home game on March 4 against the Martinsburg Bulldogs. Two days later, the Cougars play at James Wood, with a scheduled 11:30 a.m. varsity start time. Jefferson has a 16-game slate this year.

Switching to boys basketball, Washington takes a journey to Morgantown on March 5, kicking its season off against the Mohigans. The Patriots have four straight road games before its scheduled home-opener on March 16 against Winchester’s Millbrook High School. Eighteen games are lined up for Washington’s boys.

Jefferson’s boys’ squad plays at James Wood in its season-opener on March 6, then visits Stephens City, Va. for a contest against the Warriors of Sherando. The Cougars’ scheduled home-opener is set for March 11 against Millbrook. Jefferson’s boys schedule tops out at 16 games.

Practices are set to begin for winter sports teams on Feb. 15. Spring and fall sports off-season weight training and conditioning drills will be permitted, starting on that date, as well.

For those of you planning on attending any of these sporting events, it’s going to be restricted to parents, grandparents and household family members. The usual safety guidelines will be in place.

While the COVID-19 map for the Mountain State looks better and better with each passing day, let’s remain mindful this situation is fluid. Any adverse changes would make it necessary for school officials to re-consider schedules, but let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

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BRENNAN KING, Jefferson senior midfielder, has been named first team on this year’s West Virginia Sports Writers’ Association’s Class AAA all-star boys soccer team.

King helped lead the Cougars to a 10-2-2 record and the Class AAA, Region II championship. Jefferson reached the Class AAA state semifinals, losing to George Washington, 1-0, in the semifinals.

In 14 matches, King logged 503 minutes of playing time, with 11 goals and 14 assists (36 points). He had 40 steals and 32 corner kicks on the season.

Senior Matt Lowe made second team as a utility player. He played in 14 matches (450 minutes) with 10 goals and two assists (22 points).

Washington’s Matthew Chesley was an honorable mention pick as was teammates Konnor Hawthorne, Erick Estrada, Michael Groh and Jack Walker. Jefferson’s Justin DeMoulin, Mason Reddington and Aiden Turney were honorable mentions as well.

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SHEPHERD ATHLETICS NOTES…When Shepherd University football coach Ernie McCook announced his most recent recruiting class for the 2021 season, he included one pick from Jefferson.

The Cougars Nathan Muhle is among the list of athletes who have signed national letters of intent to play for the Rams next fall. The Rams also picked up Martinsburg offensive lineman Adam Stilley.

Shepherd’s baseball team is expected to do well this season. The Rams, added to the PSAC last year, are picked to finish fourth in the conference’s East Division, according to the league’s pre-season poll.

Millersville is picked to finish at the top of the division, followed by East Stroudsburg and Bloomsburg. The Rams won 10 of their last 11 games last year before the COVID-19 shutdown.

Shepherd returns such key players as Jared Carr, Daniel Keer and pitcher Mitchell Wilson.

The Rams’ women’s lacrosse team is picked to finish seventh in the PSAC’s East Division this year, according to the league office’s pre-season poll. West Chester is picked to win the division, with East Stroudsburg second and Bloomsburg third.

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IT APPEARS professional baseball will return to Hagerstown, Md. in the near future.

The independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball has given conditional approval for a new member team in Hagerstown. The city lost its longtime Washington National’s Class A minor-league affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, last fall, after a run of 39 years, when Major League Baseball revamped its minor league organizational structure, eliminating teams.

In Frederick Maryland, the Frederick Keys, a Baltimore Orioles’ advanced Class A Carolina League affiliated, was relocated to Aberdeen. The Keys will now become  part of the new MLB Draft League, which will showcase up-and-coming major league prospects.

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