TENNERTON — The first track and field athlete in West Virginia history — male or female — to earn high point honors four years in a row at the West Virginia State Track Meet was inducted into the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday night.
Chelsea Carrier-Eades racked up 148 points over four years of state meet competition.
Mida Peterson, the person who established girls’ sports at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and who recalled watching Carrier-Eades compete in high school, introduced the inductee.
“A cheerleader first, I understand she didn’t run track until eighth grade, but her name began to make headlines while in high school,” Peterson said.
Carrier-Eades captured 11 state titles in her four-year prep career and was voted the 2007 McCoy Award recipient as the state’s Track Person of the Year by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“Carrier-Eades still owns three state records in the 100 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the long jump,” Peterson said. “She jumped 18 feet and 11 inches and there are not many guys who can do that.
Carrier-Eades continued her running career on a full scholarship at West Virginia University where she competed for the Mountaineers and was a 10-time Big East Conference Champion, eight-time All-American recipient and qualified for the U.S. World Championships twice and then the Olympic Trials in 2011 and 2012.
Carrier-Eades said, “It’s truly an honor to be inducted into the athletic hall of fame amongst the greatest athletes to ever walk through the doors at B-UHS. I am humbled and grateful to all of those who have supported me throughout my career. I cannot believe it’s been 10 years since I have walked through these halls, ran on this track and tumbled on the hardwood gymnasium floor and been a part of some of the greatest teams in West Virginia. These were some of the best years of my life and the memories will be cherished forever.”
Carrier-Eades was also a four-year letter winner in cheerleading and an All-NCAC selection her senior year.
“My parents paved the way for my siblings and my sports careers - both being incredibly talented and hard-working athletes themselves,” she said. “I can’t remember not having sports or a competitive nature in my blood. My father had me and my older sister and brother racing on the streets of Florida when I was in diapers.”
Carrier-Eades said she owned much of her success to her parents for their support and teaching about hard work, commitment and dedication can do.”
“I am truly thankful and appreciative to have both of you to shape me into the athlete I am today, ‘she said.
Carrier-Eades also recognized her husband, who she met on the track at 16 years old and who would go on to support her in her college career and after.
She also thanked her coaches Jackie Zuliani and Pat Marsh.
“Without the support from all of you and so many others as well as the good Lord, none of this would have been possible,” she said. “It takes a team to reach your goals in life, not an individual alone. I thank you all for being a part of my team.”
Jamie Jones didn’t plan to be head coach of the varsity B-UHS girls basketball team in the 1999-2000 school year.
“I thought I would be taking the easy jayvee coaching position to learn a little bit about coaching and be surrounded by the game I love,” she said. “Instead I was thrown into an opportunity of a lifetime and an experience I will never forget.”
Head coach Fred Bailey resigned mid-season due to medical reasons and the Lady Bucs had a 3-7 record at the time.
Under Jones, the team pulled together and earned their third state tournament berth in four years.
“Let’s keep in mind I was a typical college student at the time,” she said. “I couldn’t even rent a car and here I am taking these girls on a bus to Charleston. Many didn’t think we would get past the first game. Most of us were in shock when we did.”
The team drew Ripley’s Lady Vikings in the quarter-finals, a team that had just upended the number one team in the state, Capital, and went on to beat Ripley 51-47.
“Good thing we were next to the mall because I needed another outfit,” she joked.
The Lady Bucs then lost in the semi-finals against the Huntington Lady Highlanders ending their season with an 11-14 record.
“You girls were declared the Cinderella team,” she said holding up a picture. “I hope you never forget the time you all put these fancy dresses on with your tennis shoes and we took a group photo. You played your hearts out and you fought for every point. I believed in you. None of you ever gave up.
“You guys went from a losing first half of the season to cutting down the net in victory in the second half. I pray you continue to fight for every dream you pursue.”
The team was inducted into the B-UHS Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday night with Jones and a handful of players able to be present.
“What an amazing honor and privilege to be standing here tonight,” she said. “I hope I can speak for the team when I say thank you to the Hall of Fame committee for considering us and honoring us.
“I personally would like to thank God for the opportunities he has brought into my life, the blessings surrounding me with great people and I thank Him for trusting me with the responsibility of coaching.”
Jones also thanked her parents for being there for almost every single game she played and coached as well.
“They supported me throughout every adventure and I appreciate that and cherish them,” she said.
B-UHS athletic director Rick Reynolds also recognized members of the team who returned to their alma mater to share their experiences with the girls’ basketball players.
“One of my daughters was on that team and she still talks about that inspiration that some of these ladies came back to speak to them and cheer them on before they went to the state tournament,” he said. “I do appreciate you doing that.”
Sloan Baisden had joked with his former coach, Eddie Vincent, that he would love to be in the hall of fame, just not be inducted on the same night as Carrier. As fate would have it, he was.
Now principal at B-UHS, Vincent got to share that story and a few others during Saturday’s night’s banquet.
Baisden is a seven-time North Central Athletic Conference champion and won the state 100-meter competition and placed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles.
He still holds a school record in the 100 meters.
On the football field, Baisden was a first-team NCAC choice as defensive back in 2002 and 2003 and first-team Class III All-State selection both of those seasons.
Baisden went on to West Virginia Wesleyan College where his track career brought more awards and he still holds a school record in the 4-x200 meter relay.
On the football field, Vincent said he made Baisden quarterback in his first year of coaching even though Baisden was just a sophomore at the time.
“He was a good athlete, a good student but a natural born leader,” Vincent said of Baisden.
Baisden coached with Vincent in Lewis County and is now coaching in youth football and working with the middle school track athletes. He is also a teacher.
“We are fortunate to have him in our school system,” Vincent said.
Baisden said it had been a while since he thought about his time competing in sports.
“After finding out that I was being inducted, I had some time to reflect on my own career as an athlete,” he said. “I still can’t get over how fortunate I was.”
He recognized his family as one of the reasons that he was successful.
“I learned everything that I know about being a dad from my father,” he said. “My mom and dad let me play any sport I wanted to and they took me where ever I wanted to go. I played a lot of them.
“I couldn’t image taking me and my brother Billy on long car rides, let alone spend the night in a hotel and [my dad] did it every winter. My dad did this in order to spend the entire next day in a sweaty gymnasium watching me wrestle in a tight suit.”
He said he grew up always wanting to be in the middle of what his older brothers and sister were doing and thanked them for their support.
“Most importantly, you took care of me and allowed me to be me,” he said.
Baisden also recognized his extended family who were at his induction ceremony, just like they used to come to his games and track meets.
“In their heads, they were just going to watch the games or to my track meets to watch me run but you guys were a part of my motivation and a major part of my support and I want you to know that it meant a lot and still does,” he said.
Baisden also recognized his coaches as one of the reasons he has a passion for coaching.
“I see what kind of impact a coach can have on a young person’s life and I want to be able to do that,” he said. “I had wonderful coaches at every single level of athletics.”
However, Baisden said it was Vincent who had “impacted my life more than any other person other than my own father.”
Jim Reger was a basketball, football and track standout at B-UHS from 1968-1970.
He earned first-team selections on the Big 10 Conference and Class AAA All-State teams in football in 1969. Reger finished his basketball career with 575 points. During the 1968-1969 season, he earned 12.4 points per game and the following season he scored 18.8 points per game.
Bob Reger accepted the award on behalf of his late brother.
“Once there were four Reger boys and now there are two,” he said. “We lost Bill in 1969 in Vietnam and we just recently lost Jim.”
Bob Reger said he was 10 years older than Jim.
“My greatest remembrance of Jim is I coached the Central Grade School basketball team for three years when I was in college at West Virginia Wesleyan,” he said. “Jim played for me and he was a great athlete. I really enjoyed coaching him.”
Jim Reger had an opportunity to go to Marshall and play football or to be a preferred walk-on at WVU but by that time, he was tired of sports, Bob Reger said.
But Jim would go on to graduate from WVU magna cum laude.
“He wasn’t just an athlete, he was blessed with God-given talent,” he said. “He was an author, a Civil War historian, a singer, a bass guitar player, a teacher, a student, athlete and brother. What a shame he had to check out of the world at an early age.
“Jim suffered from bio-polarism and anxiety and he accomplished all of this despite going through that,” he said. “I want to thank the committee for picking Jim as a member of the 2017 class. It’s truly an outstanding honor and the Reger family is grateful for that. We thank you.
“Mom and dad would have been very proud to see this honor for their youngest son, Jim.”
Roland “Bucky” Rutherford started in football, basketball and baseball for B-UHS. But it was in basketball that he became an All-State first-team honoree his senior season in 1942.
He earned a basketball and baseball scholarship to Marshall University in 1942 but ended up serving in the Army from 1943-1945 where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the war, Rutherford returned to college – this time at Marietta College where he played football, basketball and baseball and was inducted into the Marietta Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mel Hager, who announced the award for Rutherford, said that Rutherford’s athletic accomplishments despite his small statute were an inspiration for him and others growing up after the Rutherford era.
“Knowing he had made all-state at that height, he helped me as a small guy and all of us other little guys know that we could play varsity basketball,” he said. “You never know at that age, how someone makes an impression on you.”
Tom Rutherford, who was inducted into the B-UHS Hall of Fame in 2004 as an individual and later as part of the 1952 basketball team, accepted the award on behalf of his late brother.
“Roland was 10 years older than I,” he said. “I can remember growing up people asking Dad, “Well, do you think Tommy will ever be as fast as Roland? Will he be as good as Roland?” Any success I might have had in athletics, sometimes I think I was trying to keep up with my brother’s accomplishments.”
“He was a smart guy, an honor student, president of his senior class. Speed and quickness were probably his greatest assets as an athlete,” he said.
After graduating from Marietta, Rutherford returned home briefly.
“His first job out of college was right here at Buckhannon-Upshur High School,” he said. He was a junior high football and basketball coach.”
After just one year, Rutherford was offered a job in Ohio and went on to have a successful coaching and education career until he had to give it up.
Rutherford contracted meningitis and was in a coma for 21 days. When he emerged from the coma, the medicines that he had been given destroyed Rutherford’s hearing which put an end to his teaching career.
However, Rutherford and his second wife went on to operate a very successful marina on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. Rutherford died after a massive heart attack when he was just 61 years old.
“I think if he were here tonight, he would be very proud of his accomplishments that you have recognized,” Tom Rutherford said. “My only regret is that our father cannot be here tonight to see his two sons in this hall of fame. I think he might say, “for a couple little squirts, you guys did OK and made me very proud.”
Scott Zalaznik played basketball for three seasons for coach Jim Marsh and his senior season for coach Murphy. He also played football and ran track.
Marsh said, “He was a leader on the court and off the court.
“We’ve had a lot of good athletes here but I got to tell you Scott Zalaznik is one of the best.”
Zalaznik was a first-team North Central Athletic Conference selection in 1991 and 1992 and an all-state special honorable mention both of those years.
In football, he was an All-Mon Valley pick in 1991.
On the track, Zalaznik was a state silver medalist in the high jump in 1992.
At Waynesburg College, Zalaznik was a three-year starter on the basketball squad and averaged 10 points per game – ending his collegiate career with 700 career points.
Zalaznik recognized Marsh during his remarks.
“He is selfless, he is a hard worker, he is tenacious, a competitor and for me, I have a fantastic father, but he was a father like figure on the court.”
He also recognized his parents for their support.
“My dad was a great athlete,” he said. “I think the greatest gift they gave me was they actually put no pressure on me in sports. I was very lucky. I loved every minute of every game I played. I never felt a minute of pain or strife. I was lucky.
“Part of that was because of me and their leadership. They pushed me in the school room; they pushed me in the shenanigans I got into which were not infrequent.”
But Zalaznik said he never felt pressure in athletics which helped to make the experience fun for him.
He also said that Murphy taught him to be a floor leader and he recognized the role of his teammates in his success.
“For those of us who are lucky to play sports, it’s an amazing experience,” he said. “I hope for my children and I hope for all the young Bucs that I see out here that what you focus on most is the love of the game. Find that fun in playing sports. You will find great people around you, you will find coaches who believe in you and you will have a pretty good time.”