— Story by Taylor Kennedy
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Teams all across West Virginia are gearing up for the beginning of the winter athletics season. The expected start is set for February 15th.
Among those teams is Charleston Catholic. Head coach Hunter Moles will be going into his second season with the Irish. Last season, CCHS finished with a 19-5 record, which earned them the No. 2 seed in the Class A boys basketball state tournament.
“You have to take it one day at a time, and it has been the message to our program ever since our state tournament got canceled last year. Control what you can control. We always say that it is bigger than basketball. That is something that you have to learn in life, and that is that you have to control what you can control,” said Moles.
“You try to be a better person, athlete, teammate, son, daughter, or whatever it is you have to be better every day.”
Coaches have seen their players deal with a lot over the last 10 months. From the unknown and uncertainty of when they are going to play, to know that they have to wait even longer to play. Now, teams have an understanding of when everything should commence. Moles says that he has seen his team go through a lot.
“It has been hard for them. It is something that no one has gone through before. No one knows what is going to happen. They are losing a lot of trusts, and they are losing a lot of hope. That is kind of our job as coaches, athletic directors, and administrators is to try and keep the hope alive. Stay ready, that way you do not have to get ready. Just keep going and stay motivated,” said Moles.
Moles says that it is evident that this is hitting his seniors the hardest.
“It has been a tough time for these seniors. It has been a tough time to be a high school athlete. You have to feel for them,” says Moles.
Coaches have not been able to be around their players as often as they would like. Teams cannot gather in a weight room and workout, or gather in a gymnasium and get shots up like normal. Moles says that he is relying on his guys to come prepared.
“We have not been doing anything as a team. It is all up to the kids as individuals to be working out on their own. It is hard to get these high school athletes to realize how to work out on their own. They are still learning that process of doing things on their own. I do not know who is coming in shape. We will see. I am telling them to come in shape, but we are going to see who is going to come in good enough shape because we practice very hard,” said Moles.
There are coaches, however, that will send workouts and basketball drills that their players can go through. For Moles, it is different. Moles wants to see his guys workout on their own, and learn that if they want to be an athlete then they need to do the right things.
“I have not sent any workout because at the end of the day you have to learn how to become a better basketball player on your own. When you walk into the gym, you have to put in the work. I can give you a workout, but if you go through it easy then you are not getting anything out of it. I do not care what they are doing as long as they are doing something. If you are going to be an athlete, you have to take care of your body,” said Moles.
Moles also said that he will check in on his guys, but he also has others helping him out.
“I will check in with them from time-to-time asking who has been working out. I got some people around town. I know who is working out and who is not,” said Moles.
Charleston Catholic lost a lot of guys from last year’s senior class, but the Irish do return a stellar backcourt in seniors Aiden Satterfield and Zion Suddeth. Moles is still high on this year’s team despite losing a lot of guys last year.
“We have the captain of the Class A all-state team, Aiden Satterfield, back. He is 6-7 now he was 6-6 last year. He has gained about 15 pounds. He also recently committed to West Liberty, which is awesome. Zion Suddeth has gained some muscle as well. He had another outstanding soccer season as well. For some reason, he was only on second-team all-state basketball last year. He is going to come back and have a big year. He recently committed to Wheeling University. All they are trying to do is win a state championship,” said Moles.
Along with Satterfield and Suddeth, Moles still likes what he is seeing from the rest of his squad.
“We lost some good players for sure. Anthony Minardi will probably play the point guard position. He played quite a bit last year. I am looking for a big senior season from him. Ferris Murad played quite a bit as a sophomore. He is a very good glue guy. He does not do too many things wrong to be honest he just tries to do everything solidly. Chase Dalporto did not play a whole lot last year, but I will bet he is one of the strongest kids in the weight room in the state of West Virginia. He puts in the work. Then you got J.P. McCutcheon. Another high energy player. Jonathan McComas coming back. I mean John McComas, he was scoring 20 a game in JV. He is between 6-2 and 6-3. He is tall and lengthy, and he can shoot it. Then you got J. Allen Turner as a freshman that can dunk. We got some players. We got some guys that can play,” said Moles.
Moles reflects on what his senior class has had to go through over the last 10 months, and sees how they set the example of getting through tough times as the legacy they will leave.
“I think everyone will remember what they had to go through. They will remember it like, ‘Hey that was the class that their junior year they were in the state tournament and it got shut down and they did not get to play.’ Hopefully, they come out and have a big year and lead by example. Just show they worked through the adversity, and they are going to grow a lot as people this year. They have a really good chance of leaving a great legacy,” said Moles.
The Irish will open the 2021 season at home against the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights on March 5.