This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference. Established on April 3, 1943, OVAC is reported to be largest high school sports league of its kind in the entire nation, according to the organization’s website.

Today, 46 schools with over 12,000 student athletes in Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia are divided into five categories, Class A, 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A based on enrollment, the official website reveals.

Local school classes include Beallsville, A; Shenandoah, 2A; Barnesville, Buckeye Trail and Union Local, 3A.

Barnesville joined the conference in 1953, followed by Union Local in 1959, Beallsville in 1960, Buckeye Trail (formerly Zane Trace) in 1977, and Shenandoah in 1973.

Prior to joining OVAC, Barnesville was active in an older league, the East Ohio Athletic League, that included some area high schools as well as some of the larger districts in Tuscarawas County.