Oak Glen Does it Once Again
HUNTINGTON — As he and his team basked in the glow of a 12th consecutive West Virginia Class AA-A wrestling championship Saturday night, Oak Glen coach Larry Shaw took a moment to reflect on what his team had just accomplished.
While one might think Shaw takes championships for granted these days, he doesn’t. They all have their own story, with different kids and different moments defining each title run.
For Shaw, Saturday’s crowning was no less exciting than the first one.
“High school kids come and go and every year you have a new group of kids and a new team dynamic to put together and the kids are working to achieve goals,” Shaw said. “The team worked really hard this season, and this season is no different than any other season … you come in with hopes and aspirations.
“Seeing them achieve those goals is pretty gratifying. We brought 14 and 11 placed.“
Ryan Asbury and Cody Miller both captured individual state crowns as the Golden Bears compiled 189.5 points, well in front of runner-up Point Pleasant’s 129. Calhoun County compiled 116 points to take third, while Berkeley Springs (108.5) and Roane County (105.5) rounded out the top five.
Wheeling Central brought home one state champ, as senior Zach Basich made it to the podium for the fourth time.
Asbury, who finished third the last two seasons at 103 pounds, edged Cameron’s Tevin Hall, 4-3, in the 125-pound final.
The match remained scoreless until just before end of the first period when Asbury picked up two points. The Cameron coaches thought the points came after the buzzer sounded, but their pleas to officials went unheard.
“It felt good to get those two points … it kind of shook off the nerves a little bit,” said Asbury, who was hampered by a bloody nose throughout the match.
Hall fell behind 4-0 before rallying to trim the lead to 4-3 late in the third period, but time ran out before he could make another move.
“Wining the championship finally feels great,” Asbury, a junior, said.
Miller captured the 152-pound crown for the first time with a convincing 8-2 triumph against Derrick Williams of Herbert Hoover.
The senior capped his high school career with a state championship, after finishing second, sixth and fourth the last three seasons.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Miller said. “When the match was over, I looked up into the lights. It was euphoria.“
Oak Glen’s Paden Potts and Zack Six took runner-up honors.
Potts dropped a hard-fought match against St. Marys’ Danny Palmateer by a 7-4 count. The match was tied 3-3 with 45 seconds left, but Palmateer, who was voted the top AA-A wrestler of the tournament, surged ahead with 6 remaining.
Meanwhile, Six ended his career with a second straight runner-up finish. He lost to Point Pleasant’s Anthony Jeffers, 7-1.
“To win a state championship is incredible, and to have two individual state champions is incredible,” Shaw said.
After winning a state title last season at 140 pounds, Basich came back strong at 145 and put away Weirton Madonna’s Max Nogay by a 13-4 major decision.
Basich finished his career with four trips to the awards stand.
“It feels pretty good to go out this way,” Basich said. “I went out and gave it 100 percent. I feels good.”
Wheeling Central had one other wrestler in the finals — Kyle Bauer at 103 pounds. But the freshman couldn’t handle Roane County’s Joshua Fisher, who won 6-3 and finished with a 46-0 mark.
In Saturday’s first session, the Golden Bears had three competitors earn third-place honors, while three more garnered fifth-place accolades.
At 119 pounds, Troy Eckleberry started his day with a 6-1 victory against Oak Hill’s DeAngelo Castro in a consolation semifinal before locking up third with a 3-2 decision against Point Pleasant’s Phillip Allen.
Ethan Dray also pocketed a one-point victory in his third-place match, topping Liberty-Raleigh Jacob Milam, 4-2. Earlier in the day, Dray defeated Shady Spring’s Sonny Harrah, 3-1.
Nick McAvoy finished third at 145 pounds by pinning Greenbrier West’s Brian Gray in 4:29. McAvoy advanced in the consolation bracket earlier Saturday with a 11-4 decision against Keyser’s Blake Mangold.
Oak Glen was 3-for-4 in fifth-place matches.
At 112 pounds, David Mahan topped St. Mary’s Cody Everett, 7-1.
Joel Paolo registered a 15-0 technical fall against Petersburg’s Zach Oates at 135 pounds, while Zac Montero ended his season with a 5-1 victory against Grafton’s Aaron Wood.
Doug Murray had to default due to injury in his fifth-place match against Richwood’s Shawn Murphy.
Weir’s Derrick Rovira capped his impressive tournament run with an 11-8 victory against St. Mary’s CD Cox in the 215-pound third-place battle, avenging a loss to Cox in the finals of the Region I tournament.
Another wrestler who made great strides this weekend — Tyler Consolidated’s Cullen Grover — finished fourth after dropping a 9-7 decision to Greenbrier West’s Kenneth Holland in their third-place match.
Cameron had a paif of competitors grab fifth-place honors in David Schlieper and Paul Blake.
Schlieper, a freshman, finished his first state tournament in fine fashion by pinning Oak Hill’s DeAngelo Castro in 32 seconds in the 119-pound bracket.
Meanwhile, Blake finished fifth at 140 pounds after his opponent, Williamstown’s Tony Jones, defaulted.