LOGAN — While last Saturday’s Southeastern Ohio Athletic League track and field meet in Logan Chieftain Stadium wasn’t the final event in the league’s long and storied history, it did mark a historic end on two fronts.
First and foremost, it marked Gallia Academy’s final SEOAL appearance.
A charter member of the SEOAL in 1925, Gallipolis now leaves the league for full-time membership in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Blue Devils and Blue Angels played in both the SEOAL and OVC during the 2015-16 school year.
Also on Saturday, Logan High School clinched its third consecutive SEOAL all-sports championship and will now permanently keep the William E. (Bill) Thomas All-Sports Trophy.
SEOAL administrators voted last summer to discontinue awarding the All-Sports Trophy unless there are at least four full-time members.
With only Jackson, Logan and Warren remaining in the league for the 2016-17 school year, league officials decided to retire the award unless/until league membership again reached at least four full-time schools.
However, with charter member Jackson High School having given notice last week that it will leave the SEOAL at the end of the 2016-17 school year, that isn’t likely to happen.
Jackson is poised to join McClain, Hillsboro, Miami Trace, Washington Court House and former SEOAL member Chillicothe in forming a new conference beginning in the fall of 2017.
That will leave just Warren and charter member Logan as the SEOAL’s only members, and it would take the addition of at least two more full-time members to save the league.
The SEOAL will likely fold at the end of the 2016-17 school year, its 92nd consecutive season of operation.
Ironically, the SEOAL began with a track and field meet in 1925 — and will more than likely end with a track and field meet Saturday, May 13, at Warren High School.
By winning the boys and girls track and field championships, Logan finished with 45.5 points, placing eight points in front of runner-up Warren (37.5), which was second in both meets.
Jackson (28.5) climbed past Gallipolis (26.5) to finish third.
The track titles were the only championships Logan won during the spring, but the Chiefs and Lady Chiefs either won outright or shared half of the league’s 16 titles in 2015-16.
Logan also won golf, boys and girls cross country, wrestling and girls basketball and shared the boys basketball crown with Warren.
Warren actually had more points (13.5) than Logan (13), Jackson (12.5) and Gallipolis (7) during the spring season after claiming the softball title and sharing the baseball crown with Jackson.
The Ironmen, meanwhile, won the school’s first boys tennis championship in 40 years.
Jackson claimed back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976 when the winner was decided via a one-day tournament.
Jackson also won football and girls soccer titles during the 2015-16 school year, while Gallia Academy earned the volleyball crown.
Associate member Athens took the boys soccer and girls tennis championships.
According to SEOAL rules, three-fourths of full-time member schools must field a team (or in the case of cross country, register a team score) for that sport to count in the AST standings.
This season, 15 of the 16 sports counted with the exception of girls tennis because neither Warren nor Gallia Academy had girls tennis teams.
Placement by associate members Athens (tennis and soccer) and Alexander (soccer) do not count in the All-Sports Trophy standings.
Points are figured either on a 4-3-2-1 (first through fourth places) or 3-2-1 (first through third) basis among full-time SEOAL schools only.
One of the longest-running prep conferences in the state, the SEOAL was formed by William E. (Bill) Thomas of Wellston in 1925 and began competition with a boys track meet that spring, with 1925-26 being the first full season of conference competition.