Athletes from across the state gather in Charleston to protest delay of winter sports

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CHARLESTON, W.Va.- High school athletes from all across the Mountain State gathered outside of the State Capitol building to protest the delay of winter sports on Friday.

This rally was intended to be much larger after a graphic was shared on social media inviting parents, players, coaches, etc. to gather in Charleston.

But due to the recent events that have occurred in the Nation’s Capitol, many made the decision not to be apart of a large crowd at the rally on Friday.

Nonetheless, parents, athletes, fans and more got together to make their voices heard.

The goal of the rally was clear from the chanting and signs the protesters were holding- high school athletes want to play.

Signs saying “I want a senior season,” and “If you can party, we can play,” filled the hands of ralliers in addition to chanting “Let us play.”

The rally was held outside of the State Capitol building in hopes of catching the attention of Governor Jim Justice on his way in for Friday’s news briefing.

While most of the rally participants were from the Charleston area and from the southern half of the state, the northern half was well represented by Lewis County High School and Robert L. Bland Middle School athletes.

They told 12 News what it would mean for them to have a season.

“As a senior I feel like we really just worked hard and we deserve our senior season. And some of us might need it because I still haven’t decided if I want to play college basketball or not and this is my chance to get that stuff figured out and I need this season and we’ve all put in the work and if we go to school, we should be able to play,” Shyanna James, LCHS basketball player, said.

“I’m here to support our seniors because I feel that it’s wrong that we don’t get a season. And especially for the high schoolers because they have a future ahead of them. Even though I’m in eighth grade, I feel like it still counts and it’s going to prepare me for my freshman year of basketball,” Hope Dever, Robert L. Bland Middle School basketball player, said.

Ralliers did catch the Governor on his way into the Governor’s Mansion and the State Capitol Building ahead of his press conference.

James also touched on how powerful it was to see the state’s athletes coming together to try and reach a common goal. She hopes to have her senior basketball season and a chance to play basketball in college.

Protesters also pointed out through signs that high school winter sports are being played in surrounding states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Maryland.

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