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OHSAA sends Ironton packing

COLUMBUS – Having appeared in the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason playoffs 18 times doesn’t get the Ironton Fighting Tigers any preferential treatment.

Friday, November 19, 1999

COLUMBUS – Having appeared in the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason playoffs 18 times doesn’t get the Ironton Fighting Tigers any preferential treatment.

Trailing only Newark Catholic with 22 and Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller with 19 in playoff appearances, Ironton can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to playoff sites.

The latest off-center site has Ironton traveling 160 miles to Cincinnati Princeton High School Saturday to play Germantown Valley View which is only 33 miles from the school. The 7 p.m. game is for the Division IV Region 16 championship.

Clair Muscaro, Ohio High School Athletic Association commissioner, blamed Ironton’s location for scheduling problems.

"(Princeton) was the best available site we could find. Some of the sites aren’t adequate or aren’t available. We can’t always get equal distance. Sometimes it’s not always going to happen," Muscaro said.

"We’ve run into that with Ironton. We have trouble with sites in Southeast Ohio. It’s difficult to handle. We do the best we can with the schools who submit sites that are adequate to handle sites and crowds."

Ironton, 8-3, finished 8th in the region but Germantown was only 7th. Ironton played at No. 1 Cincinnati Wyoming the first week and Valley View had to travel to Portsmouth.

The second week favored the two well-traveled teams as Ironton played Cincinnati Indian Hill at Portsmouth while Valley View met Wheelersburg at Princeton.

But there was no middle ground this time, much like the 1993 state semifinal game when Ironton played Valley View at Dayton, a mere 15 miles from Germantown but more than a three-hour bus ride for the Fighting Tigers.

"We don’t expect to please everyone. We know that, but we do our best," Muscaro said.

Ironton has played Valley View at Dublin in 1992. However, Ironton played the state semifinals in 1995 against Versailles at Dayton. Versailles is a 25-minute drive to Dayton. Ironton also played Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s for the state championship in…Akron.

The latest long trip has left Ironton athletic director Mike Burcham upset.

"I’ve talked to media in Middletown and the people at the radio station admitted Ironton got shafted and they’re laughing at the fact Valley View is getting preferential treatment again," said Burcham.

"It’s as far for us to go to Portsmouth as it is for them to go to Princeton, and it’s the same for them to go to Portsmouth as it is for us to go to Cincinnati."

The two teams met last season at Washington Court House, which is close to halfway, but the size of the stadium seating and parking was not considered suitable to host the number of fans expected.

Fans who would like to voice their concerns and/or opinions should contact Muscaro at the OHSAA by calling (614) 267-2502 extension 117, or E-mail him at cmuscaro@ohsaa.org