HUNTINGTON - Nine area wrestlers will vie for state championships tonight when the 65th annual West Virginia High School Championships conclude at Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Five grapplers in Class AA/A and four in Class AAA will battle for individual championships at 6:30 p.m. In addition, 12 will compete for third-place in consolation matches which begin at 10:45 this morning.
Thanks to a strong second day, Ripley has the lead in the AAA team standings with 155. Three-time defending champ Parkersburg South is second with 149.5.
PHOTO BY RICK THORP
Cameron’s Tyler Schwertfeger, back, wrestles Roane County’s Sam Whiting.
Point Pleasant, the two-time defending winner in AA/A, has a big lead against Clay County, 181-106.5
One title bout in each class - both at 195 pounds - will have a strictly Upper Ohio Valley flavor, guaranteeing the area at least two individual champs.
In AAA, Brooke junior Nathan Dawson will look to move up from a runner-up finish last year when he tangles with John Marshall's Thomas Schwing.
Dawson defeated Lewis County's Ryan Carson and Ripley's Greg Medina on Friday, while Schwing toppled Washington's Mikah Skubon and Bridgeport's Nick Smith.
At the same time, on the AA/A mat, Madonna's Christian Roe, also a runner-up last year, will battle Cameron's Taylor Neely.
Roe downed Richwood's Curtis Starcher and Independence's Chris Nelson, while Neely took care of Braxton County's Nathan Greene and Herbert Hoover's Zane Weese.
Oak Glen has two finalists - Zach Brown (113) and Dylan Davis (220).
Brown, going for his first crown after back-to-back runner-up showings, defeated Liberty Raleigh's Tristan Harvey and Wirt County's Tyler Cheuvront. Davis downed pinned Petersburg's Jon Paul Nichols and advanced in the semis when Liberty Raleigh's Tyler Bays was disqualified.
Weir senior Darren Starr, a fourth-place finisher two years ago, will compete for the heavyweight crown after victories against Greenbrier West's Andrew Spade and Ravenswood's Billy Knicely.
Still alive in the consolation bracket in AA/A are Oak Glen's Tyler Brown (120) and Kyle Mack (126), Weir's Reno Castelli (145) and Cameron's Tyler Schwertfeger (152), Austin Worsens (160) and Andrew Hale (170).
Wheeling Park has two finalists - Dylan Taylor (126) and Danny Colby (152).
Taylor, a freshman, advanced with pins against Jensen Lorea of George Washington and Kody Kernan of Mussleman. Colby posted 4-3 decisions against Ripley's Nate Starkey and Huntington's Demadre Turner.
The Patriots have four wrestlers alive in the consolation bracket. They are Eric Banks (138), Kodiac Garcia (160), Cody Amos (170) and Luke Braunlich (182).
Amos fell for the third straight year to Ripley's Adam Bicak, who defeated him in the finals the last two years. Bicak jumped out to a 2-0 lead before winning 6-3.
Casey Mowder (113) and Cullen Ebbert (220) will compete in the consolation round.