BLACKSVILLE — “In order to build the present for the future, you have to respect the past.”
Beginning in February, Clay-Battelle High School will establish and begin accepting nominations for the Clay-Battelle Athletic Hall of Fame.
First-year C-B athletic director J.R. Krafft, who also serves as a P.E. teacher at the school, said this is something he has thought of for a while now, and with the new role, he has done what his mind was set to.
“The main reason I wanted to begin this hall of fame is because we are one of the only schools in the immediate area that doesn’t honor traditions of the past,” Krafft said. “We want to remember the foundation of the ones that came before us. Athletes before us have also sacrificed, put in the work, and put in the time. The closest we’ve been to a state title in boys’ basketball was 1995-96 when we were state runner-up, so if the team now wants to know what it takes they can talk to those guys and maybe see what it takes for a small school to get to the top.”
Former C-B player Ryan Wilson, now the longtime head football coach of the Cee-Bees, agrees with Krafft, and thinks the community will love the idea also.
“I think it is a great idea,” Wilson said. “It’s always special for people to recognize others for accomplishments. Sports at C-B has been a huge part of my life from playing and now being a coach. Our community has always been very supportive of our teams.”
Krafft says building the culture of C-B athletics has been something of importance. Establishing a hall of fame will give athletes even more motivation to work harder at their skills, something Krafft says he’s already seen happen over time at the school.
“We are seeing more and more athletes become more dedicated to their sport,” he said. “Before I may have had kids that didn’t want to put any extra time in, and now I have kids in the weight room that I’ve never seen before. I have basketball players playing travel ball during the offseason. It’s something I hadn’t seen before here until recently.”
At C-B, classes held at the school are for grades 6-12, as the high school and middle school are combined into one. There is an obvious motivation for the high school athletes to succeed with the hall of fame and the athletes that have come before them, but the younger Cee-Bees (grades 6-8) get to look up to the current athletes at the school that are helping build the C-B culture Krafft spoke of.
“For me, it really builds that culture for our athletic department,” Krafft said on the dynamic of having 6th-to-12th-grade students in one building. “This is nothing against University or Morgantown or any other school, but they have these big feeder schools that send them students every year. We don’t have that. Our kids are already in the building. They get to experience this from the sixth grade. They get to go to the Friday night football games, the band got to play for the football team through the hallway when they made states from the pep rally. That connection with athletics, and the school culture in general, gets boosted from just that.”
Krafft says that the first C-B athletic HoF meeting will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 6th in the school’s library. Anyone from the school or community is welcome to attend. Nominations will be taken during the meeting.
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