The winning tradition in Charleston athletics is something that has been built over many years. The current senior high classes of Tigers athletes are young and talented and have already had success in winning district titles and making state playoffs appearances. Now, Charleston looks forward to the addition of a very talented junior high class that will be added to varsity rosters in 2021-22.
The Charleston junior high football Tigers went undefeated in conference pay in the fall of 2020. The junior high football title was then followed by an undefeated conference run in junior high boys basketball. On the girls side, the Lady Tigers volleyball team who advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2020, and the Lady Tigers varsity basketball team who has a bye to the quarterfinals in the district basketball tournament will welcome the addition of a talented group of ladies who were junior high conference runner-ups in basketball.
In short, Charleston will be loaded in virtually all sport over the next three years, and it appears the winning tradition in Tiger Land will continue with no end in sight.
Tigers head football coach Ricky May said that last season’s junior high group exceeded even his expectations. “Junior high (football) went 9-1 on the season with their only loss to Class 4A Pottsville by two points. They won the conference and were led by freshmen Reese Merechka, Hunter Little, Eli Huck, Hayden Claiborne, Jacob Hoffman, Cash Watts, Jacob Kindrix, Dawson Miler, and Allen Thomas. Reese was our leading rusher / receiver and Hunter was our leading tackler. They really exceeded our expectations!”
Charleston also had some key eighth grade players who started for the junior high football team. Colton Rucker played quarterback, David McCamey played offensive and defensive tackle, and Nathan White started at nose man. Ayden Kilpatrick started at safety. The talent depth for Charleston was truly impressive.
In the recently-completed junior high boys basketball season, the junior Tigers were 14-3 overall and 7-0 in conference play. Just like the football season, they won the junior high boys conference as undefeated champions. Tigers boys head basketball coach, B. J. Ross, said of his team, “We had a great team that plays together. Everyone had a role and played it well. Reece Merechka, Drake Dodson, and Eli Huck were our top offensive and defensive players, but Todd Haney, Jackson Soller, Brycen Kindrix and Colten Rucker gave us great minutes and played their roles well. We are excited about them all for next year!”
For the Lady Tigers, the 2020-21 junior girls basketball team went 11-7 overall and 5-1 in conference play. The junior Lady Tigers were conference runner-ups. Charleston times dressed just seven players on any given game night. Charleston head girls basketball coach Jason Rucker said, “We were a really young team that improved as the season went on. They really shoot the ball well.” The Lady Tigers will welcome the increased depth and addition of the talented freshmen to next year’s roster. With the experience of this year’s varsity and the addition of the rising freshmen class, look for the Charleston Lady Tigers to make another deep state tournament run in 2022.
Fielding competitive teams in all sports as a Class 3A school is usually dependent on a core group of athletes that play at least two sports during the year. Schools in this classification are not large enough to have dedicated players to just one sport, there just simply are not enough athletes to go around to the entire athletic department. It is truly impressive that seemingly every year Charleston has a talented core group of athletes that makes them competitive in every sport. The Tigers reload each year whereas a lot of schools face rebuilding over a 3-5 year period to be competitive in high school sports.
And by the looks of this year’s crop of junior high athletes, Charleston is once again reloading for the next three years of high school sports. Look for Charleston to compete for state titles the next three years in volleyball, football, and boys and girls basketball.
Resident Press will take a look at spring sports later in this year. So, Charleston fans, get ready to support your Tigers this year and in the future!