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Athletic Trainer

It took him awhile, but Colin Sorrels has finally come home.

The 2013 Parry McCluer graduate has returned to his alma mater after six years, hired this summer to serve as the athletic program’s athletic trainer. 

“I can’t put it into words,” Sorrels said. “As soon as I walked into the school for the first time, I was like, ‘Man, this is home.’ It’s awesome.”

Folks at Parry McCluer probably feel the same way. For years, the sports teams in Buena Vista have had to make do without an athletic trainer, a burden on everyone involved with the athletic program. Now, for the first time ever, Parry McCluer has its own, working exclusively for Buena Vista City Public Schools. 

“When a school does not have an athletic trainer, it’s a real liability issue,” Sorrels explained. “This takes some liability away from the school and away from the coaches, and it lets the coaches do what they are there to do, which is coach. It takes a lot of responsibility away from coaches and administrators and people who didn’t go to school for that.” 

Sorrels earned his degree in athletic training from Radford University, but the road to earning that degree was not an easy one. After three semesters of slogging through prerequisites, Sorrels had to apply to enter the program, and he was one of only 20 accepted. By the time he was ready to graduate, only 10 of those students remained. The others had dropped out because of the demands or had not maintained the necessary grades to continue. 

“Once you get into the program, it’s a lot of injury evaluation, emergency preparation, everything you can possible think of in the medical field,” said Sorrels. “One top of the classes, there are a lot of clinical hours.” 

Sorrels did many of his hours at Christiansburg and Radford high schools. He also worked with the men’s soccer, women’s lacrosse and baseball teams at Radford University, as well as putting in hours with doctors and physical therapists.
 

After graduation, Sorrels spend two years at Eastern Montgomery High School before fate brought him back home. But it almost didn’t happen. 

His journey back to Buena Vista began with a casual conversation with PM principal Melissa Cobb. From there, it moved to more formal conversations with Cobb and BVCPS Superintendent Dr. John Keeler. Sorrels was offered a position; the problem was that he had already accepted a job elsewhere. Thankfully, for Sorrels, who was a captain on the PM baseball team as a senior, and Parry McCluer, that job fell through. Thus, he packed his bags to move back home. 

Now that he is here, Sorrels has spent much of his time setting up concussion protocols with all of the fall athletes. He has also begun putting together emergency action plans, neither of which had been given much attention prior to his arrival. 

“It’s been a lot of set-up, ordering stuff and getting some policies and procedures put together,” Sorrels said. 

“I’m here to have [the athletes] play and to play safely,” he added, “to keep them from getting injured, to educate them on how not to get injured. I’m here to help.” 

Here, of course is Parry McCluer, and for Colin Sorrels, that means home.

 

Football Field Gets Facelift

When Parry McCluer’s football team takes the field for the season-opener against Rockbridge County Aug. 30, many might not recognize the place.
 

After performing a major overhaul on the gymnasium last year, including a new floor plan and stadium seating, the PMHS athletic department focused on the football field this past summer. Robert E. “Bobby” Williams Field now boasts a new scoreboard, made possible by a number of corporate sponsors, and the fence at the north end of the field now features logos of all of the Pioneer District schools, a feature that was donated by Everbrite in Buena Vista. 

At the same time, the field itself is getting a facelift. Rock Haven Turf Specialties in Boones Mill has been hired to bring the field back to life, and preliminary work on the field has included new seeding and fertilization. The company will return to Buena Vista several times over the course of the next year to continue its transformation of the PM turf. 

“We’re trying to make the field better for this year and even better for next year,” said new Parry McCluer athletic director Mike Cartolaro. “I would rank us up there in the top five percent of Group A facilities, and this will help us to continue to improve.” 

Cartolaro also said he hopes the gym and the football field are just the beginning of PM’s facilities upgrades. Plans are in the works now to improve the track, and he has designs on seeing lights on the baseball and softball fields in the near future. 

“I think good facilities are the foundations for solid teams and bringing athletes out to participate,” Cartolaro said. “I hope it will allow us to play host to some big events as well.” 

The improvement of the football field is not the only thing new in the Parry McCluer athletic department, however. The Blues have created a sports information department and have for the first time hired a full-time athletic trainer.

The sports information department will be responsible for maintaining a presence on social media as well as working in conjunction with local media. The department has already created accounts with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and is currently working on overhauling the athletics web site. The department will continuously update social media with announcements and results, and the web site will feature stories of coaches and athletes that do not usually get told to the public. 

Collin Sorrels is the new Parry McCluer athletic trainer, the first ever to be an employee of Buena Vista City Public Schools. Sorrels, a 2013 graduate of Parry McCluer, earned his athletic training degree from Radford University and spent the last two years working as the trainer at Eastern Montgomery High School. 

“That’s certainly a big deal for us, for sure,” said Cartolaro. “We have needed a full-time trainer for a number of years." 

 

 

Five New Members to Join Hall of Fame

Joining the group of outstanding PMHS athletes honored by the Hall of Fame Committee will be Ted “Footsey” Vest, Leon “Cute” Coleman, Tommy Cash, Neal Mohler and Horace “Plug” Henson.

A standout on Parry McCluer’s baseball team, Vest was undefeated as a pitcher from 1950-53, recording a perfect 15-0 record. He signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates the day after he graduated and reached the AAA level before an injury ended his career.

Coleman earned four letters in baseball and was part of the teams that posted three straight undefeated seasons in the early 1950s, but he was best known as a fullback and linebacker on the football team, earning four letters and serving as co-captain in 1952. After graduating from Virginia Tech, Coleman served as a teacher, coach and administrator for over 30 years, coaching at Natural Bridge High School, Andrew Lewis, Floyd County and Parry McCluer.

Cash was a standout baseball and football player, earning four letters in each sport. Following three years in the U.S. Army, Cash attended Ferrum Junior College, where he was a starting guard for the 1968 football team that won the junior college national championship. He was also a catcher for the baseball team that reached the national title game. Cash later served as a member of the Southwest Community College faculty, developing and coaching the baseball team from 1995-99.

Mohler was a four-year starter in both basketball and football at Parry McCluer, playing on two state championship football teams in 1977 and 1979. An all-district performer in both sports in 1979 and 1980, Mohler earned all-state football honors in 1980 and played in the East-West All-Star game. Mohler received a football scholarship to James Madison University, where he played four years for the nationally-ranked Dukes.

In the early years of Parry McCluer athletics, baseball was king, and Henson was one of the most outstanding players. Earning four monograms in both baseball and football, Henson was awarded an athletic scholarship to Roanoke College in 1937, and the next year, he signed a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians. An injury sidelined his baseball career, but he went on to serve as an umpire with the NCAA and Virginia High School League. Henson passed away in 2000.

All of the honorees, as well as members of the 1979 state championship football team, will be recognized at halftime of the football game Friday, Sept. 27. They will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame the next night at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5 p.m.

Tickets for the banquet are $25 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at the Buena Vista School Board office or at CornerStone Bank in Buena Vista.

JJ's Meat Shak Signs on for PM Sports


Parry McCluer athletic director Mike Cartolaro has announced that JJ's Meat Shak will serve as the official concessions vendor for PMHS sports beginning this fall.

At the same time, the popular local menu released the menu it will be offering when it sets up shop at the first football scrimmage Aug. 16. The menu is as follows:

Pulled pork sandwich
Kicken Chicken sandwich
JV Burger (single patty) cheese 50 cents
Big Blue Burger (double patty) cheese 75 cents
Hot Dawg (add chili for a Dirty Dawg)
Fries
Chips
Candy