Area Sends 4 to State Finals

HUNTINGTON – The Ohio Valley will have four wrestlers going for individual state championships.

After Friday’s second day of the 67th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament, Wheeling Park will have three chances at winning a crown and John Marshall will get one opportunity with 220-pounder Cullen Ebbert.

No area team is going to factor into the championship race as Huntington is well on its way to defending the Class AAA crown. The Highlanders have 156 points and Parkersburg has 134. Wheeling Park is in fourth place and trails Parkersburg South, 98-94.

Oak Glen had a rough going in the semifinals on Friday night and went winless in five attempts. The Golden Bears enter today’s 10:45 a.m. consolation rounds in a three-way tie for fourth place with 77.5 points. It’s the same total for Fairmont Senior and Calhoun County. North Marion is in third with 79 points. Independence has the Class AA/A crown wrapped up as the Patriots lead defending champion Greenbrier West, 153-110.

Wheeling Park junior 145-pounder Dylan Taylor will place for a third time and his position could be atop the podium. The Patriot will face Parkersburg’s Dylan Richards in tonight’s finals after posting an 8-3 decision against Washington Jarod Jones in the semifinals.

Dallas Baciak is hoping a return trip to the state finals will be better this time around. Last year, Baciak was the runner-up at 113. Tonight he will get the chance to win at 120, but his opponent is Robert Dutton Award candidate Jordan Allen of Huntington. Baciak punched his finals ticket thanks to an 8-1 win against Micah Crewdson of St. Albans.

Eric Banks will bring a 25-1 record into the 160-pound finals. The Park senior nipped Musselman’s Danny Arndt, 4-3, and will be challenged by 43-1 Seth Cutright of Buckhannon-Upshur.

Park’s Jonny Davis was turned back in the semifinals during a 9-3 loss to two-time state champion Jake Martin of Ripley at 152. Park’s Geremy Paige also will place in the top six.

Ebbert, now 36-3, flattened Nitro’s Hunter Skeens in the semifinals. Now, the junior will get the chance to be the first person to knock off Preston’s Terrance Fanning, who boasts a 37-0 record following his 10-0 semifinal win against Parkersburg South’s Logan Dilliner. Monarch teammate Dylan Hall will place at 138.

Of Brooke’s six representatives at the state tournament, only heavyweight Preston Wise will stand on the podium.

The Golden Bears suffered semifinal losses from Ryan Debee (106), Danny Wyke (113), Josh Cornell (126), Avery Flowers (132) and 138-pounder Nick Tice. However, those five along with teammates Alex Shuman at 152 and heavyweight Noah Mills all will place.

Magnolia 182-pound freshman Caleb Nice entered Friday’s semifinal round with a sterling 37-1 record, but came up short 3-0 to Clay County’s Tyler Stewart. Nice is the lone Blue Eagle who will finish in the top six.

No other area small school grappler reached the semifinals. However, Cameron 182-pound senior Waylon Miller will place. The Dragon was doubled up 6-3 by undefeated Will Schoonover of Moorefield in the quarterfinals, but fought back in the consolation rounds with a pair of mat slappers. His final pin of the night, which came with 33 seconds left in the opening period against St. Marys’ Anthony Herring, guaranteed him a top-six finish. If Miller hopes to finish as high as third, he’ll have to defeat Nice in his first match today.