The Sports Dogs’ Top 5 for 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, The Sports Dogs reflect on their Top 5 sports stories of the year.

For a full breakdown of Randy and Ryan’s Top 5, check out the latest Sports Dogs Podcast here.

Randy’s Top 5:

  1. The sale of the Washington Commanders from Dan Snyder to Josh Harris, Magic Johnson, and their group.
  2. The Orioles stun the MLB to win the AL East and over 100 games.
  3. The Bob Huggins Era comes to an end in Morgantown after using homophobic slurs on a radio interview and then arrested for drunk driving.
  4. Martinsburg High School secures their 10th WV state championship since 2010
  5. Alderson Broaddus, Randy’s alma mater, closes it’s doors in Philippi.

Ryan’s Top 5:

  1. The debut of The River Rivalry trophy for the Warren County-Skyline football game.
  2. Millbrook High School alum Nazeeh Johnson plays a crucial role in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl run.
  3. James Madison University’s final transitioning year to the FBS features Top 25 rankings, College Gameday, and after threats of lawsuits and litigation, the first bowl appearance in school history.
  4. Local schools earn state championships including Clarke County girls’ soccer and basketball teams and James Wood volleyball’s second consecutive title.
  5. Skyline basketball’s 26-1 season featuring the school’s first state semifinal appearance, a regional championship, and Zack Diggs becoming the first 1000 point scorer in Skyline history.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Chasing The Fox

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Greetings from The Booth!

With the new season of Valley League baseball underway, I was going to wax poetic about the VBL and baseball in general this week, but the Sports Dogs Podcast has that covered, so I urge you to head to the Podcast section of this website and give that a listen, and then make sure you head to a Valley League ballpark a few times this summer, and have some great family fun.

As I get ready for a 6-mile group run this morning, my mind wanders back to my days at North Junior High School in Martinsburg, WV, when I ran the mile for my Blue Devils track team. Going into that 9th grade season, I really didn’t know what my event of choice (or that of my coach) would be. The previous season, I had piddled around on the “B” relay teams, and got into some meets, but nothing notable. I wasn’t sure I was even going to run track in the 9th grade.

But going into that final season at NJHS, the first day of track practice was a team 5-mile run (even the shot and discus guys had to participate), and to everyone’s surprise–even mine–I kept up with the distance men, and finished first along with 2 other runners. I had found my event, the mile run. In our first meet, against Shepherdstown, I really had no strategy, and the butterflies were like 747s in my gut as we lined up on the start line. Prefontaine would not like what I did, but I stayed right behind the fastest runner and in the last 100 yards, kicked past him and won the race! A respectable 5:16, or so I thought. In my euphoria, I blurted out, “I want Chris Fox!”

Chris Fox was the undisputed top dog in Martinsburg, and ran distance for our rival, South Junior High. Fox would go on to lead some pretty elite Martinsburg Cross Country teams, ran in the Olympic Trials if memory serves, and as a coach, went on to build the Syracuse track and cross country programs from the ground up. Even back in junior high, Chris Fox was the gold standard. He even had his own parade while he was at MHS.

Our next meet was a tri-meet against Frederick and South Junior, so I would soon get my chance at the great Chris Fox. I planned the same strategy as the previous meet and tried to stay behind Fox. I quickly found out that Chris was a running machine, one of those athletes who looks like he’s not even trying. As he effortlessly chugged around the cinders, I fell farther and farther behind. I was still running a good race and was in second place most of the way, but I learned that I was not in the same league as Chris Fox. Because I had expended so much effort in trying to stay with him, I was gassed at the end and was passed by a Frederick runner, finishing third at 5:14.5.

That would be the high water mark of my scholastic running career. Injuries followed, and much effort by the Martinsburg HS Cross Country coach to recruit me that Summer fell on deaf ears as I gravitated back to my first love, baseball.

Moral of the story…be careful what you ask for.

So long from The Booth! RW