www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: September 29, 2016 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT01/309299973 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT01/309299973 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Adams, Lola J. 7 p.m., Dunbar Church of God, Dunbar.

Bannister, Vondel 1 p.m., First Missionary Baptist Church, Glen Jean.

Dorton, Sandra 1 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Glover Howard, Tina M.

Hill, Keith A. 1 p.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Kyer, Maysel 2 p.m., Taylor

Lynch, Gearld J. 1 p.m., Cunningham

Mann, Lura E. 1 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Robertson, Dorothea 7 p.m., Adams

Stacy, Unis 1 p.m., Followers of Christ Church, Paynesville.

Sweatte, Charles Noon, Preston Funeral Home, Charleston.

Tucker, G. Mat 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Tyson, I. "Mack" III 1 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Institute.

Richard W. Adkins http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299990 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299990 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Richard Wayne Adkins, 50, of Procious, entered into rest Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Wilson-Shamblin-Smith Funeral Home, Clay, is in charge of arrangements.

Maurine "Lady" Austin http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299991 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299991 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Maurine "Lady" Austin, 71, of Germantown, Md., formerly of Beckley, died Sept. 21, 2016. Service will be noon Saturday, Oct. 1, at St. Paul Baptist Temple, Beckley, with visitation one hour prior. Arrangements entrusted to Ritchie & Johnson Funeral Parlor, Beckley.

Catherine S. Boggess http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299976 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299976 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Catherine S. Boggess, 80, of Nitro passed away at home on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 after a long illness.

Catherine was the only child of Scottish immigrants, the late George and Jesse Soutar, and was also preceded in death by her infant son Benjamin Daniel Boggess.

She was a retired LPN from CAMC with 18 years of service and was an active member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the "Sew" Happy Quilters.

Catherine is survived by her husband of 48 years Ray Boggess, children Terri Grimm of Poca, Charlotte Boggess of Raleigh, NC, John Boggess and wife Jennifer, who was her primary caregiver, and their children Benjamin, Emily, Johnny, and Jeffery, stepchildren Beverly Voltaggio and husband Lou of Charlotte, NC and children James and Matthew Thomas, Nancy Hill of Eleanor and son Jason Hill, Marilyn Flack of St. James Island, SC, Steve Boggess of Richmond, VA and his children Stacey Boggess and Leah Wilson, Debra Dempsey of Charleston and her children William, Joshua, and Andrew Dempsey, Becky Asbury of Oak Hill and son Cliff Massey and several great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Catherine's life will be held 1 p.m. Friday, September 30, 2016 at Cooke Funeral Home Chapel, Nitro, with Rev. Mark E. Smith and Rev. Nancy White officiating. Burial will be in Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans, WV. The family will receive friends from noon to 1 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to HospiceCare, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W., Charleston, WV 25387-2536.

Cooke Funeral Home and Crematorium is assisting Catherine's family and you may express online condolences at www.cookefuneralhome.com.

Mickey D. Booth http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299987 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299987 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Mickey D. Booth, age 37, of Clendenin, passed away Monday, September 26, 2016 at his residence after a sudden heart attack.

Mickey was born November 3, 1978 in Logan, son of the late Earl and Betty Keaton Booth.

Mickey is survived by his loving wife, Nicole; two children at home, Austin and Mikhaila Booth; son, Justin Henson of Charleston; sister, Tennille Mullins Grimes of Logan; aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

A celebration of Mickey's life will be held Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 6 p.m. at Harding Funerals & Cremations. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the services at the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Harding Funerals & Cremations, 514 50th St. SE, Kanawha City, is serving Mickey's family.

Kenton Haskell Burdette http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299982 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299982 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Kenton Haskell Burdette, 62, of Charleston, died September 26, 2016, in Thomas Memorial Hospital.

He was a heavy equipment operator, and worked out of the Operating Engineers Union.

Kenton was preceded in death by his parents, Haskell and Ruth Newhouse Burdette; brothers, Uklet and James Burdette.

Surviving are his stepson, Eddie Harrison and girlfriend, Jessica Taylor of Sissonville; brother, Roger Burdette of Sissonville; sisters, Lilly Bostic of Kenna, and Beulah Jones of Sissonville; grandchild, Ashlea Harrison.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Friday, September 30, 2016 at Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston with the Rev. Gordon Killion officiating. Burial will be in Boyd-Burdette Cemetery, Charleston.

Visitation with the family will be one hour prior to the service Friday at the funeral home.

Online condolences can be sent to the family at cpjfuneralhome.com.

Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston is in charge of arrangements.

Hillard Cline http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299988 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299988 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Hillard Cline, 91, of Baisden, died Sept. 8, 2016. Service will be 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at Full Gospel Church of God, Baisden. Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the church. Arrangements by Mounts Funeral Home, Gilbert.

Paul W. Daugherty Sr. http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299996 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299996 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Paul W. Daugherty Sr., 88, of Charleston, WV, died September 21, 2017. Our Father called a wonderful Angel to his Heavenly home.

Formerly of Cass, WV, his first employer was Edwin Mallory, with whom he traveled the world as a chauffer. He was a former employee of AIM Direct Mail and retired from Charleston Newspapers.

He was preceded in death by his Mother, Georgia Robinson Daugherty; sisters, Shirley Killian, Almeda Charlton, Irene Daugherty; and two daughters, Angela Daugherty and Robin Thompson Reed.

Paul leaves to mourn one brother, Charles Sonny Daugherty of White Sulphur Springs; his son, Paul W. Daugherty Jr. (Elaine and Joey) of South Charleston; daughters, Pamela J. Thompson of Rand and Kimberly A. Thompson Tolliver of South Charleston; 12 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; companion and friend of 35 years, Edith Thompson; and daughter of the heart, Vickie Stewart. Paul has a large host of family members and friends.

Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 1, at VanReenen Funeral Home, Marlinton, with visitation beginning one hour prior.

Anna "Brandi" Davis http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299984 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299984 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Anna M. "Brandi" Davis, 65, of Dunbar, went home to be with the Lord September 24, 2016.

She was an employee of Bayer and attended North Charleston Apostolic Church.

Brandi loved the Lord and her family. She grew up with very little in the coal fields of Widen and went on to create nothing short of a legacy. She was strong, independent and driven. She had a list of lifelong goals and achieved every one of them and then some before she left this world. Her guidance, playful spirit and culinary prowess will be sorely missed.

Brandi was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Elizabeth Haygood; her father, James Russell Haygood; her sister, Josephine McAllister; and her brother, James Haygood.

She is survived by her fiance, David Black of Institute; children, John Davis of Charleston and Tondrea Davis-Powell and Kevin Artis of Dunbar; grandchildren, Joshua Davis and Ciara Campbell of St. Albans, Alexis Davis and Richard Davis of Dunbar, Brian Powell of Dunbar, Alaysia Powell and Tyler Mowery of St. Albans, Elijah Powell of Dunbar, and Jaida Powell of Dunbar; sister, Virginia Gibson of Roxbury, Massachusetts; ex-husband and friend, Ronald Davis of Cross Lanes; four great grandchildren; and a host of other family and friends.

Per Brandi's request, there will be no funeral service or viewing.

There will be a small memorial service at noon on Saturday, October 1, at Sunset Memorial Park Mausoleum, South Charleston. Dinner will follow at Faith and Truth Apostolic Church, 1405 2nd Avenue, Charleston.

Arrangements are in the care of Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Elizabeth Eisenhardt http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299979 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/OBIT/309299979 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400 Elizabeth Dawn Eisenhardt, 54, of Heaters, passed away Sept. 24, 2016 at Braxton Memorial Hospital. At her request, her body will be cremated. No public visitation will be held at this time. Words of comfort and fond memories may be shared with the family at stockert-paletti.com.

Prep football standings, statistics through Week 5 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0203/160929494 GZ0203 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0203/160929494 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:52:16 -0400 Conference standings

Mountain State Athletic

Pos-School Conf All Rtg

1. Hurricane 2-0 4-0 12.75

2. Capital 4-0 4-1 11.60

3. Huntington 3-1 4-1 10.80

4. Spring Valley 4-1 4-1 10.60

5. Riverside 3-2 3-2 7.60

6. South Charleston 2-2 2-3 5.60

7. Cabell Midland 2-3 2-3 5.20

8. George Washington 1-3 2-3 5.00

8. Ripley 1-2 2-3 5.00

10. Woodrow Wilson 0-2 1-3 2.75

11. Parkersburg 1-3 1-4 2.40

12. St. Albans 0-4 1-4 2.00

Note: MSAC champion determined by SSAC rating points.


Pos-School Conf All

1. Winfield 3-0 3-1

2. Mingo Central 2-0 4-0

2. Herbert Hoover 3-1 3-1

2. Sissonville 3-1 3-1

5. Chapmanville 3-2 3-2

6. Logan 1-1 3-2

7. Nitro 1-2 1-3

8. Wayne 0-2 1-3

9. Scott 1-4 1-4

10. Poca 0-4 0-5

Other schools

School Class Rec

Point Pleasant AA 5-0

Buffalo A 4-0

Nicholas County AA 4-0

Roane County AA 4-1

Sherman A 4-1

Van A 4-1

Man AA 3-1

Tolsia A 3-1

Tug Valley A 3-2

Braxton County AA 2-2

Webster County A 2-2

Greenbrier East AAA 2-3

Parkersburg South AAA 2-3

Wahama A 2-3

Clay County AA 1-3

Ravenswood A 1-4

Lincoln County AA 0-4

Valley A 0-4

Conference leaders



Player, School Att Yds Avg TD

Ivan Vaughn, Mid. 96 847 8.8 11

Derek Johnson, SV 67 653 9.8 9

Jadon Hayes, Hunt. 118 623 5.3 7

Robert Evans, Rip. 76 519 6.8 2

Mason Brubeck, SV 55 435 7.9 2

C. Easterling, Riv. 97 391 4.0 2

J. McClung, GW 61 384 6.3 5

Isaiah Duncan, Mid. 42 354 8.4 4

Derek Keeton, Mid. 54 317 5.9 4

J. McDougale, Hurr. 35 301 8.6 4

Aidan Johnson, GW 41 294 7.2 1

Kerry Martin, Cap. 44 263 6.0 3


Player, School Cmp-Att Yds TD Int

Kerry Martin, Cap. 54-84 909 9 5

Grant Wells, GW 70-148 890 8 4

Ethan Airhart, Park. 80-116 770 6 4

Nathan Roy, SA 38-64 529 6 5

Dylan Plumley, Hur. 34-61 528 5 1

B. Campbell, Rip. 29-75 497 4 3

Trae Murphy, SC 29-54 485 3 2

Mark Scites, River. 34-63 433 3 3

Derek Johnson, SV 34-47 411 7 1

Luke Zban, Hunting. 26-45 387 4 2

Sutton Radford, WW 14-36 288 2 3


Player, School Rec Yds Avg TD

Darnell Brooks, GW 24 433 18.0 6

Karson Snyder, Par. 24 332 13.8 5

Silas Nazario, Cap. 16 288 18.0 4

A. Pittman, Capital 9 262 29.1 4

Dakota Williams, Hur. 12 230 19.2 1

Ryan Thomas, GW 18 229 12.7 1

Brenton Strange, Par. 21 228 10.9 3

Curon Cordon, SC 13 227 17.5 2

Rylan Hamilton, Par. 16 219 13.7 1

Kobe Wright, SA 16 198 12.4 2

Jayson Barrett, SA 11 196 17.8 2

Kane Morrone, SV 16 182 11.4 4

Logan Cook, WW 7 175 25.0 2

Blake Wentz, River. 10 175 17.5 1


Player, School TD FG PAT Pts

Ivan Vaughn, Mid. 11 0 0 66

Derek Johnson, SV 9 0 0 54

Jadon Hayes, Hunt. 7 0 1 44

Jayson Barrett, SA 7 0 0 42

Kalai Clark, Cap. 7 0 0 42

Darnell Brooks, GW 6 0 0 36

Silas Nazario, Cap. 6 0 0 36

Karson Snyder, Park. 6 0 0 36

J. McClung, GW 5 0 0 30

Kane Morrone, SV 5 0 0 30

Dylan Plumley, Hurr. 5 0 0 30

Mark Scites, River. 5 0 0 30



Player, School Att Yds Avg TD

Austin Cook, Sisson. 99 628 6.3 2

T. Browning, Chap. 93 533 5.7 6

Colten Rollyson, HH 49 468 9.6 4

Andrew Huff, Win. 82 399 4.9 9

Chance Brown, Siss. 44 388 8.8 4

Zack Bratton, Win. 55 313 5.7 2

Brody Thomas, HH 60 294 4.9 5

Jeremy Dillon, MC 42 280 6.6 8

Joe Hunt, Mingo 52 276 5.3 6

Caleb Hodges, Poca 45 254 5.6 2

Michael Hall, Logan 16 244 15.3 1

Chase Stover, HH 37 243 6.6 5

David Early, Logan 35 233 6.6 3


Player, School Cmp-Att Yds TD Int

Adam Vance, Chap. 74-105 999 7 4

David Early, Logan 60-99 990 15 7

Jeremy Dillon, MC 56-82 961 12 0

Chance Brown, Sis. 42-78 768 11 3

Andrew Huff, Win. 52-95 712 5 5

J. Buckalew, Nitro 13-40 373 3 2

J. Milum, Wayne 14-42 373 3 2

J. McClanahan, Poca 22-63 338 3 2

Chase Stover, HH 10-28 243 2 1


Player, School Rec Yds Avg TD

Dylan Smith, Chap. 31 453 14.6 5

Drew Hatfield, MC 24 350 14.6 6

Jamal Minter, Logan 20 311 15.6 4

Nick Vance, Win. 9 273 30.3 3

Braxton Goff, Logan 13 260 20.0 5

Michael Hall, Logan 12 253 21.1 4

Billy Shepherd, Chap. 17 240 14.1 1

Bronson Skeens, Poca 11 238 21.6 3

Chris Farha, Winfield 20 231 11.6 1

T. Grimmette, MC 8 200 25.0 3

Grayson Pratt, Way. 7 193 27.6 0

Bryce Taylor, Sisson. 10 186 18.6 2

Colton Faber, Sisson. 10 185 18.5 1


Player, School TD FG PAT Pts

Dylan Smith, Chap. 10 0 1 62

Andrew Huff, Win. 9 0 1 56

Jeremy Dillon, MC 8 0 1 50

Braxton Goff, Logan 8 0 0 48

Joe Hunt, Mingo 7 0 2 46

T. Browning, Chap. 7 0 1 44

Michael Hall, Logan 7 0 1 44

Colten Rollyson, HH 7 0 0 42

Drew Hatfield, MC 6 0 2 40

Austin Cook, Sisson. 5 0 2 34

Chance Brown, Siss. 5 0 1 32

Chase Stover, HH 5 0 0 30

Brody Thomas, HH 5 0 0 30

Other schools


Player, School Att Yds Avg TD

Tyler May, Roane 146 1207 8.3 16

Dylan Lucas, Buffalo 57 1043 18.3 17

Grant Safford, Point 92 718 7.8 8

Alex Casto. Ravens. 77 610 7.9 6

Dawson Elia, TV 68 553 8.1 8

Cason Payne, Point 51 522 10.2 6

Wyatt Edwards, Wah. 94 517 5.5 6

Bailey Kirk, Sher. 42 398 9.5 7

Noah Lucas, TV 46 379 8.2 6

Jaylon Battaile, GE 75 373 5.0 3

Billy Honaker, GE 59 357 6.1 5

C. Arrington, Wah. 73 337 4.6 3

Ben Salmon, Sher. 55 337 6.1 4

Brandon Hall, South 65 282 4.3 4


Player, School Cmp-Att Yds TD Int

Heath Cottrill, Brax. 58-100 942 10 3

Cason Payne, Point 34-53 670 10 0

Tate Mayes, Nich. 26-52 503 10 2

Ethan Burgess, Buf. 13-24 358 9 1

Brandon Hall, South 31-63 357 2 2

Bailey Kirk, Sher. 22-44 357 5 4

Cam Simpson, Man 25-48 292 2 0

Tyler May, Roane 11-18 232 3 2


Player, School Rec Yds Avg TD

Tayton Stout, Brax. 13 440 33.8 4

Carter Sebert, Nich. 12 228 19.0 8

Seth Arnold, Brax. 21 227 10.8 2

Jason Wamsley, PP 7 204 29.1 2

Drew Kinder, Roane 9 196 21.8 3

Owen Tillis, Buffalo 6 189 31.5 4

Keshawn Stover, PP 8 162 20.3 3

Tyler Pettry, Sherm. 7 152 21.7 2

Trey Whitt, Man 11 150 13.6 1

Brad Falls, GE 5 143 28.6 2

Dylan Lucas, Buffalo 5 142 28.4 2


Player, School TD FG PAT Pts

Dylan Lucas, Buffalo 22 0 1 134

Tyler May, Roane 16 0 3 102

Carter Sebert, Nich. 10 0 0 60

Dawson Elia, TV 9 0 2 58

Bailey Kirk, Sherm. 8 0 0 48

Grant Safford, Point 8 0 0 48

Brian Campbell, Tol. 7 0 1 44

Alex Casto, Ravens. 7 0 1 44

Jason Schultz, Point 0 5 25 40

Billy Honaker, GE 6 0 1 38

Drew Kinder, Roane 5 0 8 38

Noah Lucas, TV 6 0 1 38

Cason Payne, Point 6 0 1 38

Wyatt Edwards, Wah. 6 0 0 36

Note: Figures do not include Clay County, Lincoln County, Scott, Valley and Van, which have not supplied full reports. Stats can be emailed to rickryan@wvgazette.com by 3 p.m. each Thursday.

Charleston offensive line paving the way http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0208/160929495 GZ0208 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0208/160929495 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:51:02 -0400 Michael Carvelli By Michael Carvelli When they head to the line of scrimmage and see a defense that is loading the box with seven or eight players - knowing that Charleston wants to run the ball - that's the moment the Golden Eagles' offensive linemen live for.

It becomes the biggest challenge, to continue running the ball consistently well even when a team knows that, more often than not, the opponent is going to run the ball.

"We take a lot of pride in making sure our backs can get those tough yards like that," offensive lineman Justin Johnson said. "I think we're the best offensive line in the conference. Teams play us and they know that, so you see them start to put more guys in the box and our goal is to beat as many guys as they throw at us every snap."

Charleston leads the Mountain East Conference in rushing, gaining 203 yards per game on the ground, and is coming off a performance in which it gained 298 yards on 53 carries to pick up its first victory of the season, defeating West Virginia State last week. For the season, UC is running the ball nearly 46 times per game, averaging 4.4 yards per carry - and a good bit of the credit for that is due to the offensive line and the way it has helped to pave the way for the likes of Tevion Cappe, Marvin Elam and Vernard Roberts in the talented UC backfield.

"With the guys we have up front, we know we can still run the ball even if they know what's coming," Charleston coach Pat Kirkland said. "That's not an easy thing to do. They're doing a great job and we put a lot on their plate."

One thing that makes Charleston's offensive line as effective as it has been is the chemistry the players share.

Up front, the Golden Eagles start two seniors, a junior and two sophomores. Four of the five started games together last year.

Senior guards Johnson and Zach Erb were both first-team all-MEC picks a year ago and have continued to be the leaders of the group. The two other returning starters, Adam Peton at left tackle and center Michael Farhat, as well as first-year starting right tackle Austin Ringel, have all come together to round out a formidable group in the trenches.

"We all have to be on the same page every snap, which can be hard sometimes because you can play as many as 80 snaps in a game," Johnson said. "If one guy isn't on the same page, it can mess the whole play up. That's why it's so great that we all know each other so well.

"When you have a bunch of guys who have played together for a long time, you get that understanding and that chemistry. We know what our strengths are."

Sitting at 1-3 heading into this week's game against Concord, the Golden Eagles know how big of a factor it is going to be to continue running the ball effectively if they want to have success.

Dating back to the 2014 season, Charleston is 16-2 in games when it ran for 200 or more yards and is 3-6 when it ran for less than that. Last week's win over West Virginia State was the first time the Golden Eagles eclipsed the 200-yard mark in 2016.

"We just have to block the guys in front of us because we know we have the backs that can make plays," Johnson said. "It's great because we know one of them can break a run off for 50 yards and then they'll come out and the next guy can get another big play right after that. You never know where it's going to come from, but you know they can always make the play."

Contact Michael Carvelli at 304-348-4810 or michael.carvelli@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @carvelli3.

Mitch Vingle: WVU-K-State; MU, WVU hoops; and a lost poll http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ020401/160929496 GZ020401 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ020401/160929496 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:49:33 -0400 Mitch Vingle By Mitch Vingle Ye olde notebook:

n When West Virginia hosts Kansas State in Big 12 football play on Saturday, it will do so as a slight favorite, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.

The Mountaineers should be a favorite, just as they should have been last season. They lost to a physically inferior Wildcat team in Manhattan, which should provide motivation for WVU this time around.

Yet the WVU coaches should be even more eager to win.

First, there was that play call last December that had a gimpy Skyler Howard running on a fourth-and-2 situation instead of handing the ball to Wendell Smallwood, who finished with 144 yards rushing. That play sent the Mountaineers to a 24-23 loss and kicked up calls for Dana Holgorsen's job.

Then, of course, there's Holgorsen's 0-4 record against K-State coach Bill Snyder, now 79 years young. Beating Snyder has to be a goal in the name of pride for the Mountaineer coach.

n We've reported that WVU's basketball practice begins this coming Sunday. Well, Marshall's practice begins at 3 p.m. on Monday, and the Thundering Herd roster has a distinctive Mountain State flavor.

Eight of the 17 players (including walk-ons) listed on the current MU roster are from West Virginia. The scholarship players are Stevie Browning (Logan), C.J. Burks (Martinsburg), Jon Elmore (Charleston), Rondale Watson (Lewisburg) and Phil Bledsoe (Wheeling). Jacob Kilgore (Huntington), Ot Elmore (Charleston) and Noah Frampton (Poca) are listed as walk-ons.

"If you look at our entire roster, if it isn't West Virginia, it's close," said MU coach Dan D'Antoni. "Louisville is about the furthest away. If you do that, we're probably at 12. I just feel there's enough talent here that we can be very competitive in Conference USA with a good chance to get in the NCAA tournament and be a top team.

"I came back [to the state] with that in mind. I believe in the West Virginia kids and I'll give it my best to see if we can pull this off."

D'Antoni also has a commitment from Clarksburg Notre Dame's Jarrod West for 2017 and Mingo Central's Jeremy Dillon for 2018. D'Antoni just missed on Poca's Luke Frampton, who committed to Davidson. Also, D'Antoni considers walk-on Ky're Allison of Portsmouth, Ohio, a local.

"I'm making an all-out effort to get the best we can out of the state of West Virginia - and I think they're good enough to take us where we want to go," said the coach. "We'll supplement with others as we can and see what happens."

Athlon magazine, by the way, predicted MU to finish fourth in C-USA.

"That's nose-bleed section," D'Antoni said. "I'll probably have a headache all night now."

n While on the subject of basketball recruiting, WVU's Bob Huggins touched on the subject this past Wednesday. He spoke on Villanova, specifically, which won an NCAA title this past March.

"They had a couple McDonald's All-Americans," he said, "but the guy that made the shot [Kris Jenkins] a lot of people didn't recruit."

He paused.

"I've always kind of thought I should take the guys I like and not the ones the [recruiting analysts] with the out-of-date sneakers and pants like," Huggins said. "[Former Cincinnati and NBA player] Jason Maxiell wasn't a Top 200 player until one of those guys said, 'Why are you recruiting him?' I said, 'Watch him.' All of a sudden he became a Top 100 player.

"[Sagaba Konate] wasn't a Top 100 player. But wait until you see some of the things he can do. I don't really care what those guys say. I don't get caught up in all that stuff."

Huggins, by the way, is at 791 victories with No. 800 looming. So how many is enough?

"I don't want to think about it because then I think about how damn old I am," he said. "I honestly don't pay attention to that stuff. If [assistant] Billy [Hahn] wouldn't tell me, I wouldn't have any idea. I pay attention to how many we win in a year."

Huggins is 63.

n A tip of the cap to West Virginia's SSAC and the way it's worked on the organization's website. Now you can go there and not only check out a football team's ranking, but its wins and losses and bonus points.

Very nice, folks.

n It was interesting to see how USA Today characterized the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team by comparing it to Morgantown native (University High) and ex-WVU player Jedd Gyorko.

"The Cardinals merely sit back and hit homers, with infielder Jeff Gyorko epitomizing the team's offense," said the paper on Wednesday. "He has 27 home runs and 55 RBI but has produced only 12 RBI in the 358 at-bats in which he hasn't hit a homer."

n And finally ...

In the Who Knew? Department, an email hit my inbox that took me back a bit.

In case you didn't know, yes, there still is a Lambert Trophy given out to football teams in the East. And currently in first place is West Virginia University.

The Mountaineers lead Navy, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Penn State, Connecticut and Army in voting.

So now you know.

Contact Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827 or mitchvingle@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @MitchVingle.

Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz healthy and happy in return to starting role http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0201/160929497 GZ0201 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0201/160929497 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:44:09 -0400 Mike Casazza By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN - In the final week of August last year, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder told Jesse Ertz he was the team's starting quarterback, that he'd beaten out two others in an intense competition, that he'd lead the Wildcats in their season opener against South Dakota.

Ideally, he'd start 12 times after that.

Ertz lasted one play.

"It's actually a funny story," said the sophomore from Burlington, Iowa. "I got rear-ended the week of the game. It was like seeing a black cat or something. That was a bad start to the week."

The season? It couldn't have started any better.

The Wildcats returned the season's opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. South Dakota missed a field goal. With 12:28 left in the first quarter, Ertz trotted onto the field, the ball at his 5-yard line, the rest of his career in front of him.

It had been a while since Ertz was in this position. He played a few games the year before, but he was the third-string quarterback behind starter Jake Waters and backup Joe Hubener, one of the two options Ertz bested in the 2015 preseason, and he never threw a pass. But Ertz was a top recruiting target in the 2013 class, the 2012 Gatorade state player of the year and a Parade Magazine honorable mention All-American.

He set a state record with 98 touchdown passes in his career and finished with 7,317 passing yards, the fifth best total in state history. But Ertz could also run. He had almost 2,000 yards rushing in his high school career and added 32 touchdowns. He ran track at Mediapolis High and was on a state-championship 4x100-meter relay team.

So on the first play of his first series as a starting quarterback in college, his first starter snap since the championship game of the 2012 state playoffs, Ertz did what so many other Kansas State quarterbacks had done before him.

He ran with the ball.

"It was the first time since high school that I'd been tackled," he said. "You really don't get a ton of practice doing that, and the quarterback run game we use, it can be a shock to the system. You're used to running tall and you're not used to getting hit. Quarterbacks don't get hit in practice."

Ertz picked up 5 yards, but as he was tackled, he felt a familiar pain in his right knee. Ertz tore the anterior cruciate ligament, the same thing that happened to him in the state playoffs three years earlier. That happened on a designed run when he tried to make a cut out in the open. This was different.

"Just a freak accident," he said. "The guy who tackled me, as he was sliding down, his own weight kind of fell on the outside of my leg. I was pulling my leg out in an odd way it just kind of twisted it from the outside."

He was helped off the field, and Kansas State fumbled on the next play. The offense recovered in that moment, but it really never recovered the rest of the season. In a 3-1 start, Hubener and Alex Delton suffered injuries, and an illness sidelined another backup. Kansas State had to use Kody Cook, a receiver, from time to time, but even he got hurt along the way.

The Wildcats finished 6-7, and quarterbacks completed 46.5 percent of their passes and had 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

"We really struggled the first four weeks with injuries," Ertz said. "It was hard to watch. It was sad. But that's football. You really can't complain about it."

Ertz is once again the starter, and he leads Kansas State (2-1) into Saturday's 3:30 p.m. ESPNU game against West Virginia (3-0) at Mountaineer Field. His first play of the season at Stanford was a hand-off for no gain. The second was an incomplete pass that was nearly intercepted. On the third down, Ertz stood in the shotgun, didn't see anyone open and ran for 19 yards before stepping out of bounds.

Everything was back to normal for him, for the offense and even for opponents.

"He resembles the guys they've had for a long, long time," Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said.

Ertz is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, more Waters (6-1, 205) than Collin Klein (6-5, 225), but he does many of the things the quarterbacks before him at Kansas State have done. He hasn't played much the past two games, though. Ertz played three series after halftime in a 63-7 win against Florida Atlantic. There was no second half against Missouri State last week. A 35-0 game was called at halftime because of bad weather.

He's completed 31 of 55 passes for 418 yards, four touchdowns and an interception, but he also leads the team in carries (25) and rushing yards (145). Against Missouri State, he completed 7 of 8 passes - the one incomplete pass was a drop - for 94 yards and two touchdowns. He carried three times for 85 yards and was tripped up twice by the last defender.

Ertz, who first tore the ACL in high school in the state quarterfinals and not only finished the game but led the team through the semifinal and to the title game, seemed like himself. He cut his left elbow and bled down his arm and onto his hand but never winced.

"The whole bloody knuckles thing, that's just what a Kansas State Wildcat is," Holgorsen said. "They're good football players, they like to play the game and they're tough, so that's something that's not surprising to see."

Contact Mike Casazza at 304-319-1142 or mikec@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikecasazza and read his blog at http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/wvu/.

Undefeated Hurricane travels to Spring Valley in MSAC showdown http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0203/160929498 GZ0203 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0203/160929498 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:41:55 -0400 Ryan Pritt By Ryan Pritt Perhaps one of the biggest surprises midway through the prep football season is Hurricane, which remains one of only two undefeated teams in Class AAA - along with Martinsburg - and climbed to No. 2 in this week's SSAC playoff ratings.

But one person buying in completely to what the Redskins (4-0) have done is Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess, whose Timberwolves (4-1) sit at No. 5 in the current ratings.

The two teams get together in West Huntington on Friday night in a Mountain State Athletic Conference showdown, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

"Yeah, I think they're for real," Dingess said. "They're one of, if not the best team we've played so far. They're solid all the way across. They have a good line, good quarterback, good running back, they just have no weaknesses. They don't have the big stars or names people talked about coming into the season, but sometimes that's a good thing. We've got to play perfect football to beat them, that's for sure."

Stretches of consecutive tough games are inevitable in the MSAC. After finding ways to knock off Winfield, Parkersburg, Cabell Midland and Brooke, Hurricane is about to embark on a three-game road trip against some of the other best teams in the state.

Starting with the No. 5 Timberwolves on Friday, the Redskins then visit No. 3 Capital next week and No. 4 Huntington the following week.

Those three teams have a combined three losses, two of them coming against each other (Huntington beat Spring Valley, Capital defeated Huntington).

Any lingering doubts about Hurricane's merits will be squelched or validated in the next three weeks, and coach Jeremy Taylor knows just what his team faces.

"The good news is, we're not looking ahead, there's no way we can," Taylor said. "It's not like next we've got someone with one win. The next three games, we are not favored in, I don't care what anyone says."

Hurricane has certainly thrived in the underdog role this season, especially in a thrilling 34-31 win over Cabell Midland in which the Redskins scored in the final seconds.

What has made the Redskins tick, especially on offense, has been its balance behind quarterback Dylan Plumley, a converted tight end who has already thrown for 528 yards and five touchdowns against just one interception.

He is flanked by sprinter James McDougale, who has come into his own as Hurricane's home-run threat. He has a team-high 301 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries and is a nice change-up from possession backs Nick Williams and Payton Lunsford.

"They're the most well-balanced team we play," Dingess said. "In some of these games we've played, we could either stack the box on people or take a guy out and play a nickel package, but you can't do that with them and that's what makes them dangerous."

Statistically, Spring Valley is not as multi-faceted. This year, though, the Timberwolves have been able to throw behind quarterback Derek Johnson, who has completed 34 of 47 passes for 411 yards, seven touchdowns and one pick while leading the Timberwolves grueling running attack with 653 yards and nine touchdowns.

Mason Brubeck heads up a stable of capable backs with 435 yards and a pair of scores on the season.

But whoever is carrying the ball, they're plowing behind an offensive line with Tennessee-commit Riley Locklear and heavily recruited sophomore Doug Nester, who has received offers from Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Marshall.

They spearhead a unit in the trenches that has the ability to take over games and has done so as the Timberwolves have won three straight since their lone loss to the Highlanders.

"If I had to compare them to somebody I guess I'd say Alabama or someone like that," Taylor said. "If I had to compare them to somebody that we've played, I don't know, they are huge. Midland was big, but they are ridiculous. But in years past they've had big linemen, but this year they have speed to go with it.

"Our defensive coordinator kind of said, 'Good luck' after watching the film. We're going to have to move people around. We've had success against them the last few years we've played, but it's a different ball game this year."

But Hurricane has already made people pay for doubting them this season, and another win in a big spot would further prove what they've already proven this year - the Redskins know how to win football games.

"Hopefully they'll trip over us or something and maybe we'll be OK from there," Taylor said. "We're going to have to play a game like we did against Midland where we don't have turnovers, we cause a couple and we get a little bit of luck. If they play a perfect game, have no turnovers and are able to establish the running game, we'll have a hard time stopping them.

"I can tell you we're not going to run away from them."

Contact Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948 or ryan.pritt@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @rpritt.

Friday night prep football previews: Resilient Winfield hosts Sissonville http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0203/160929499 GZ0203 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0203/160929499 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:37:22 -0400 Derek Redd By Derek Redd During its three-game win streak, in which it has climbed into the top 10 of the SSAC's Class AA playoff ratings, the Winfield football team has made Fridays anything but boring.

There was the Generals' Week 2 comeback from a 20-point halftime hole to beat Scott. Then came their rebound from a 24-point third-quarter deficit to stun Herbert Hoover in Week 4. Last Friday, Winfield needed a fourth-quarter field goal and a late defensive stand to pull out a 23-22 win over Wayne.

Life likely won't get any easier for the Generals at 7:30 p.m. Friday, as they host Sissonville in a contest between two of the three teams tied for No. 9 in the SSAC Class AA playoff ratings. Winfield (3-1) and Sissonville (3-1) share that spot with Herbert Hoover.

Life has been more enjoyable, however, for Winfield in moving back to Class AA from Class AAA. Coach Craig Snyder said the Generals' struggles during their tenure in the Mountain State Athletic Conference started to wear, and his team has been having a great time in the Cardinal Conference.

"We're happy we're in games and competing with people," Snyder said. "I'm happy we've won any way we can. All of our guys are."

Sissonville's three victories haven't been at the same nail-biter level. After a 22-15 win over Chapmanville to open the season, the Indians sandwiched a 38-12 win over Wayne and a 40-18 win over Scott around a 30-point loss to Mingo Central. Sissonville head coach Marc Wilson said his team isn't banking on another easy week, especially with the resiliency the Generals have shown to begin the season.

"The fact is they are a team that has come back in three different games," Wilson said. "They're a team that will play all four quarters. We have to make good decisions, win turnovers and capitalize and play a four-quarter game. It's what we've stressed all season and it's nothing new for us."

Sissonville brings a punishing running game into the contest, led by the 1-2 punch of running back Austin Cook and quarterback Chance Brown. Cook leads the Cardinal Conference with 628 rushing yards while scoring two touchdowns, while Brown has rushed for 388 yards and four touchdowns and thrown for 768 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Winfield quarterback Andrew Huff is a dual threat. He's fourth in the conference with 399 yards and leads the Cardinal with nine rushing TDs. He also has thrown for 712 yards and five touchdowns.

George Washington (2-3) at Woodrow Wilson (1-3): The Patriots stopped a two-game skid last Friday with a 24-point win at Ripley and will have quarterback Grant Wells (second in the MSAC with 890 passing yards) leading the way. Woodrow is recovering from its worst loss of the season, a 62-0 thumping at the hands of Cabell Midland.

St. Albans (1-4) at Wheeling Park (3-2): The Patriots won this contest 27-16 last season, but Park coach Chris Daugherty had pulled most of his starters after the first quarter with his team holding a 27-0 lead. The Red Dragons defense is allowing an average of 49.4 points per game this year.

Liberty Raleigh (3-1) at Riverside (3-2): Beating St. Albans last week put the Warriors above .500 after five games for the first time since the 2009 campaign. Class AA Liberty has won three straight, beating Oak Hill, Pike View and Clay County, and steps up to face a Class AAA foe for the first and only time this season.

Poca (0-5) at Herbert Hoover (3-1): The Huskies had an open week to shrug off their 51-48 loss to Winfield. Colten Rollyson is Hoover's big-play threat, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. Poca is hoping to get anything going, its losing streak now at 32. The Huskies trampled the Dots last season 71-42 and led 56-8 at halftime.

Chapmanville (3-2) at Nitro (1-3): The Wildcats are looking for any spark on offense. Nitro has scored just 14 total points over its last two games and has been held to single digits in three of its first four games. Chapmanville is riding a three-game win streak after dropping its first two.

Tug Valley (3-2) at Buffalo (4-0): Tug Valley will be the latest to attempt stopping Bison running back Dylan Lucas, who has 1,043 yards and 22 total touchdowns over his first four games. Quarterback Ethan Burgess is dangerous as well. Nine of his 13 completions this season have been for touchdowns.

Ripley (2-3) at Huntington (4-1): The Highlanders fell from the top spot in the Class AAA playoff ratings following a 35-18 loss at Capital. Ripley gave up 459 yards of offense, 368 of it on the ground, to George Washington in a 45-21 loss.

Parkersburg South (2-3) at Point Pleasant (5-0): The Big Blacks offense is rolling, averaging 46 points per game this season and breaking the 60-point barrier in two of its last three games. The Patriots are on a two-game winning streak and coming off a 44-12 win over John Marshall.

Mingo Central (4-0) at Wayne (1-3): Miners quarterback Jeremy Dillon has accounted for 20 touchdowns so far this season. He has thrown 82 passes without an interception, but with 12 TDs. Wayne averages 25 points per game, but scored 58 in a win over Oak Hill. In three losses, the Pioneers have averaged 14 points.

Contact Derek Redd at 304-348-1712 or derek.redd@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

Pitt RB James Conner not slowing down after cancer treatment http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0202/160929500 GZ0202 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0202/160929500 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:35:14 -0400 Doug Smock By Doug Smock HUNTINGTON - Each week, the story is more about James Conner, the award-winning running back for the Pittsburgh Panthers, and not as much about James Conner, the cancer patient.

Which makes Conner's story that much more inspiring.

As Marshall prepares to tangle with Pitt at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Heinz Field, coaches and players are plotting to slow down Conner, who was the Atlantic Coast Conference's 2014 player of the year.

But the more important story of the junior from Erie, Pennsylvania, always brings admiration from the opposing side.

"No. 1, you get a kid who beats cancer the way he did," said Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday. "But his attitude ... the attitude he took toward tackling that fight he wanted to fight is just unbelievable.

"You've got to give that kid a lot of credit, and I'm sure he was surrounded by coaches and trainers and doctors that deserve a lot of credit. You've got to be happy for a kid that battles like he battles, and gets the results he did."

After rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2014, Conner tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the 2015 opener against Youngstown State.

As he continued his rehabilitation in the fall, he fell ill - fatigue, night sweats, bloating. At first, doctors thought it was a routine illness such as the flu. When it became it clearly wasn't the case, he was eventually diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

He was told it was 85 percent curable, which sounds nice until you contemplate the other 15 percent. The sober reality: Nothing is guaranteed.

The Pittsburgh area rallies behind its sports heroes like few others. Hockey legend Mario Lemieux missed two months of the 1992-93 season with Hodgkin's lymphoma, amazingly returning and rallying to a scoring title. Steelers player Merrill Hoge, nine years after his retirement, beat back non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Conner was still undergoing chemotherapy treatment when the Pirates invited him to throw the ceremonial first pitch - not at just any game, but Opening Day. "I bounced it. That's why I give the pitchers credit; it's farther than it looks," he said.

But Conner's battle grabbed the attention of the nation, beyond the world of football. He stayed in contact with another high-profile Hodgkin's survivor, safety Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs. The two met on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in a surprise arrangement.

"I knew before the cancer came out [publicly], I'd have a decent impact, but I didn't know it would take off like this," Conner said. "I'm just happy in the end it's a good story and no bad came out of it, it gave a lot of inspiration and gave a lot of people strength.

"I didn't know it was going to be this big."

During his 12 chemotherapy treatments, Conner worked out as much as he could with his teammates, often wearing a mask because of his compromised immune system. He said he didn't lose any weight, amazingly enough.

He had his last treatment on May 9, and was declared to be in complete remission on May 23. Once the scar from the port that was planted in his chest cleared up, he was given the green flag for full football activity.

That came in early June, two months before the start of camp and three before the Panthers' Sept. 3 opener against Villanova. He had to regain the stamina and strength he used in running hard and stiff-arming tacklers.

He has scored in all four games, six times in all. He leads the team in rushing with 347 yards with four TDs, and also leads in receptions with 13, for 169 and two scores. All told, he is averaging 23 touches a game.

A good workload, but not close to the 38 carries he had in gaining 263 yards in a 2014 double-overtime win over Duke.

Then again, Pitt can afford to work him in. In the 37-36 loss to North Carolina last week, the Panthers had 10 different people with carries, with jet-sweeping receiver Quadree Henderson gaining 107 yards on just nine carries.

Marshall would just as soon Conner not get into player-of-the-year form by Saturday, but has to prepare for him as if he will. For his part, Conner is embracing the game of football more than he ever has, and all that goes with it.

"On the field, I know they've got a job to do," he said. "They're coming for me, just like I'm coming for them."

Contact Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsmock@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougsmock and read his blog at http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/dougsmock/.

Truck rental facility going up on MacCorkle Avenue http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ03/160929501 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ03/160929501 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:12:31 -0400 Elaina Sauber By Elaina Sauber The world's largest car rental company is opening another branch in Charleston.

Enterprise Holdings is developing a truck rental branch at 320 MacCorkle Ave. S.E., at the site of the former Steak and Ale restaurant.

The corporation recently bought the one-acre property for $900,000.

Crews with A&L Construction broke ground last week. The development is slated for completion by late November or early December, said Katie Bowring, a spokeswoman for Enterprise Holdings.

Bowring said this will be the first Enterprise Truck Rental branch in the state.

"The location will offer a diverse fleet of box trucks, cargo vans and pickup trucks for rent for both business and personal use," she said.

The branch will operate out of a building that's currently under construction, but Bowring said she didn't know what the square footage would be.

She added that the branch will initially employ three people.

The location is just a few hundred yards from the former General Electric Service Center, where workers serviced motors, transformers, electric appliances and minnig equipment until it closed in 2014.

The site is being cleaned up and monitored through a voluntary remediation program that GE sought from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The cleanup is expected to last through mid-2018, at which time GE plans to sell the property.

The main concerns over the site are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), used as coolant fluids, and other cleaning solvents, which may have leeched into the soil.

Once the sample results are collected, a site assessment report will be submitted to DEP.

Common remediation methods include soil removal and capping the site, or portions of the site.

Because of the site's history, the future owners will only be able use it for commercial or industrial purposes. It's currently zoned for commercial use.

Reach Elaina Sauber at elaina.sauber@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-3051 or follow @ElainaSauber on Twitter.

WV has second-highest student loan default rate in nation http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0114/160929502 GZ0114 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ0114/160929502 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:01:32 -0400 Jake Jarvis By Jake Jarvis Of the more than 57,000 West Virginians who started to repay their federal student loans in the 2012-13 fiscal year, 8,035 have since fallen into default, according to data released this week by the U.S. Department of Education.

West Virginia's 16.2 percent rate of students defaulting is the second highest in the nation, although the state's rate actually fell from last year's 18.2 percent. Only New Mexico has a higher default rate this year than the Mountain State, with 18.9 percent of its students defaulting. In 2015, West Virginia ranked third highest in the nation.

“We're slowly seeing a decline in the default rates, which mirrors the smaller drop nationally. We're getting there,” said Brian Weingart, the senior director for financial aid at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. “Schools have started offering more financial literacy as part of first-year experience courses, and that's not as measurable, but we think that's having an impact, as far as educating students on their repayment options.”

The data records the number of students who have gone more than 360 days without making a payment on their federal student loans. The data released this year includes students who began repaying in the 2012-13 fiscal year, and last year's data included students who began paying in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

“It's not really a good reflection of what's been happening recently, as far as what we've been trying to do as a state,” Weingart said,.

He pointed instead to the HEPC's data on the total number of students who have to take out loans to go to school.

“If you look at our data, in the 2014-15 academic year, only half of our students took out a student loan in our public four-year institutions, and only 25 percent borrowed a student loan in our two-year public institutions.”

Across the nation, the default rate fell marginally, from 11.8 percent in 2015 to 11.3 percent this year. Within that rate are different subsets of different kinds of schools that have different average default rates. In general, public schools have lower default rates than for-profit schools. The Department of Education allows people to search for a specific institution's default rate online.

In West Virginia, the four-year public college with the highest default rate is Bluefield State College, coming in at 19.5 percent. That rate is significantly down from the group of students who began repaying their loans in the 2010-11 fiscal year, where 26.8 eventually defaulted.

Jim Nelson, a spokesman for Bluefield State, said the college has been working hard to lower its default rate by establishing, three years ago, a default rate task force to tackle the problem.

“What happens with many of our students is, they are bound to this area,” Nelson said. “The average student age is 27 years old, and 60 percent are female. As a result of family and life obligations, it's difficult for those students to relocate where the economies are more robust.”

And since the school doesn't have any on-campus housing, most of its students come from the immediate area or drive in from neighboring communities. Nelson said that this means students have a hard time finding well-paying jobs near them.

Bluefield State is followed by Glenville State College, which had a 16.8 percent default rate, and West Virginia State University, with a 15.4 percent default rate.

The four-year, public schools with the lowest default rate are West Virginia University, at 7.4 percent, and Marshall University and Shepherd University, both at 9.5 percent.

Sometimes, students at community colleges don't have to take out student loans because the programs there are more affordable. Weingart said that when a school has a small group of students taking out these loans, and then a few default, the default rate can paint an image of the school that's worse than it actually is.

West Virginia's public two-year community colleges, as a whole, had the highest default rates in the state, with none coming in below 20 percent.

The highest came from Pierpont Community and Technical College, at 27.6 percent. Of its students who began repaying their loans in the 2010-11 fiscal year, 36.7 ultimately defaulted.

At Pierpont, about 72 percent of students end up taking out federal student loans, said Leslie Lovett, the school's provost.

Lovett said that although the school's default rate is higher than administrators would like it to be, the rate isn't too high, considering what little power the school has over a student's federal financial aid.

Lovett said Pierpont used to require students to complete financial aid literacy course before being eligible for any kind of financial aid, but then the U.S. Department of Education said the school wasn't allowed add extra requirements to federal financial aid.

Schools also can't limit how much a student takes out in federal student loans, Weingart said. If the federal government says the student is eligible for $5,000 in loans, for example, the school can't then limit the student to only taking out $1,000, even if they won't actually need the full amount.

“I'd like if we could get [Pierpont's rate] down to 20 percent and be a little more in line with the rest of the community colleges in West Virginia,” Lovett said.

Pierpont was followed by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, which had a 25.9 percent default rate, and New River Community and Technical College at 25.5 percent.

BridgeValley Community and Technical College had the lowest default rate of all public, community colleges, at 20.4 percent.

Lovett and Nelson said a relatively new partnership with EdFinancial and Inceptia has helped their students figure out ways to repay their loans without falling into default. In 2013, the HEPC and the Community and Technical College System contracted the two companies to provide support so that schools could send in information about at-risk students, and the companies could help those students figure out a repayment plan.

Reach Jake Jarvis at jake.jarvis@wvgazettemail.com, Facebook.com/newsroomjake, 304-348-7939 or follow @NewsroomJake on Twitter.

Regional job and resource fair in South Charleston http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ03/160929503 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160929/GZ03/160929503 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 18:31:07 -0400 Staff reports By Staff reports More than 100 employers will meet with job seekers between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today at the Advanced Technology Center at BridgeValley Community and Technical College, at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.

Job seekers are encouraged to attend in business attire with multiple copies of their resume.

Along with industry representatives, WorkForce West Virginia will offer free support for those who need help strengthening their resume, developing interview skills, or interested in changing careers. Job seekers can upload their resume to be electronically shared with every employer participating in the event.

BridgeValley is collaborating with West Virginia University, West Virginia University Medicine, WorkForce West Virginia, the West Virginia National Guard, Region III Workforce Investment Board, Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin to host this opportunity for companies to engage with potential employees.

For information, call Jamie Moore at 304-558-0342, ext. 3043.