The 7th Annual “March Madness in the Mountains Basketball Tournament”


It’s March, and that means it’s time for some basketball tournaments.  Here locally, The Highland County Recreation Commission is hosting the 7th Annual “March Madness in the Mountains Basketball Tournament” on Saturday, March 3rd starting at 10:00 a.m at the Highland County Public Schools.  The tournament will feature five teams from Highland, Bath, Marlinton, Hillsboro and Green Bank in a round robin format.  The tournament is co-ed for fourth and fifth graders, and sometimes even those in younger grades if needed, and the teams have been practicing for the big day.

Recreation Director, Catie King, has more on the history of this community event.  She says, “March Madness, actually, started back in 2010 when the Recreation Director, Kenny Hiner and George Deem wanted to, kind of, revitalize the basketball program, so they began teaching fundamentals to younger kids so that they could gain some interest as they had that momentum through basketball and moving forward in to middle school and high school.  They had no intentions to necessarily start as a team and be playing in tournaments, but once they saw a lot of improvement in these kids, then Sherry Sullenberger took them to a tournament in West Virginia.  There was a co-ed tournament, and they actually won and did really well, so with that excitement, they ended up developing this March Madness in the Mountains Tournament, and it’s grown from there.”

The day is important to the community because it brings children together to learn and improve skills early on in their lives, which will hopefully extend in to later years.  Ms. King continues, “The Recreation Commission has been trying to get kids involved to also help feed in to continuing their involvement in sports as they go through middle school and high school and continuing their passion in any of these sports programs that we have.  Not only do we want to feed in to that, but we also want to bring our community together and show support in that regard.  We want to support our teams and our children as they continue to see Highland County as their home.”

Highland County’s team is known as the Bobcats, and they have performed well in previous years.  Ms. King says, “In the past, our Highland Bobcats have won the tournament overall twice and just missed winning the third one this past year to a tie-breaking decision, so we’re excited to see what they can bring this year in the tournament.

“I would love to thank Cole and Leslie Armstrong, who have been our long-time coaches for the Highland County Bobcats.  They put in a lot of hard work and commitment in to our program, and these kids, and it’s very important and wonderful to see that.”

Ms. King concludes with some final details about the event.  She says, “So, our admission ticket price for adults is $5, and $2 for kids.  We have the concessions open, as well, with baked goods, and all of the proceeds go to the Recreation Commission.  If you want to find out any more information about the tournament, we have flyers posted around town in some of our local restaurants and local businesses, as well as our Facebook group and our website.”

For folks with any further questions, Catie King can be reached at 540-468-2978.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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