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Big Reds Sports

Wsonga Officially Becomes a Big Red

Posted Saturday, August 01, 2009 by By Rick Ryan, Charleston Gazette

Allan_WsongaThe Allan Wasonga saga looks like it's finally over.

The multi-talented athlete, who starred as a sophomore at Point Pleasant, has been ruled eligible to compete at Parkersburg. The Secondary School Activities Commission completed its check on Wasonga's status this week.

"Those issues have been reviewed, and the student in question is an eligible student at Parkersburg High School,'' said Gary Ray, the SSAC's executive director. "Everybody understands the situation, and everybody has been communicated with. We wish everybody the best.''

Point Pleasant officials had asked the SSAC to look into the situation after the Wasonga family announced its plans last spring to move to Wood County and enroll Allan and his sister at Parkersburg.

Willis Wasonga, Allan's father, said in a June interview with the Gazette that the move was prompted by family finances, and not Allan's budding football future. The transfer process was completed before the three-week approved summer practice period, allowing Allan Wasonga to participate in football drills at PHS.

After that, however, there were conflicting reports on whether the family actually left Mason County and was living in Wood County, which eventually led to the SSAC review. Willis Wasonga was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening, and Big Reds football coach Bernie Buttrey did not return calls from the Gazette.

Ray said Parkersburg officials, especially athletic director Richard Lance, "handled it nicely'' when the SSAC delved into the matter.

"He and his sister enrolled here,'' Lance said, "and moved into the district, and basically that's about it. They moved here on their own free will. We never contacted them. It's their family's decision. It's what they decided to do. It was a bona fide change of residence. As long as they meet all the eligibility requirements - attendance and grades and everything - they can participate in extracurricular activities.''

Allan Wasonga's grades certainly won't hold him back. He was carrying a 3.5 grade-point average at Point Pleasant last year. And Lance confirmed that the family has been living in Parkersburg - in fact, close enough to the school that they're within walking distance of Stadium Field. Allan is also a top-notch sprinter in track season.

"I think it's more [a relief] for the Wasongas [that the inquiry is over],'' Lance said. "I'm impressed with the whole family, I really am. It seems like they're settled in, and that's the main thing. They're happy they're here.''

Buttrey was apparently rankled at Internet message board rumors that the Big Reds recruited the Wasongas.

Allan Wasonga ran for 1,937 yards and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore last season as Point Pleasant went 7-4 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1998. Parkersburg, meanwhile, wound up 4-6 and missed the playoffs after capturing two straight Class AAA titles in 2006-07. The Big Reds' leading rusher managed just 637 yards last year.

"Let's face it,'' Lance said. "There are a lot of places where people say, 'We're going to transfer to Parkersburg,' or 'We're going to transfer to Wheeling Park.' Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't - for whatever reasons. That's up to them. There's not a whole lot we can do.

"Allan looks to be a terrific athlete. Wherever he goes, he's going to have an impact on a program. We'll just see what happens.''

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