Park’s Taylor captures crown

HUNTINGTON -When Saturday’s final round of the 67th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament concluded at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Wheeling Park 145-pounder Dylan Taylor was the lone champion from the Ohio Valley and Oak Glen held on to claim runner-up honors in Class AA/A.

Taylor’s bout against Parkersburg’s Dylan Richards was a rematch of last weekend’s Region I championship and the result didn’t change.

Taylor led for good during his 6-4 victory against the Big Red Richards when he registered a takedown with 15 seconds left in the opening period.

An escape early in the second and another takedown led to a 5-0 cushion. Richards fought back with two escapes and a takedown, but didn’t have enough.

“It feels amazing,” said Taylor, who ended the year 41-3 and was state runner-up at 126 as a freshman. “I mean other then back when I won nationals as a seventh-eighth grader, there’s nothing that compares to this. Nothing at all. He is a great wrestler and everything.

“I’ve just put my whole life to this sport. I used to play football and baseball. I blew that aside and went straight wrestling and trained all year. I’ve got great coaches and I’ve been given all the tools and materials to do what I did.”

Prior to Taylor’s first state crown, 120-pound teammate Dallas Baciak put up a solid battle, but came up short 6-1 to Huntington’s Jordan Allen. Baciak was a state runner-up last year at 113 and it was the junior Allen’s third straight title.

Wheeling Park’s final chance for another state crown came at 160 when senior Eric Banks tangled with Seth Cutright of Buckhannon-Upshur. Following a scoreless opening two minutes, Banks started the second in the down position. Cutright, though, worked a half-nelson into a pin and ended Banks’ title dreams in 2:27.

John Marshall senior Cullen Ebbert entered his 220-pound finals showdown with a 36-3 record, but he was up against Terrance Fanning of Preston. The Knight senior, who didn’t allow a single takedown all year long and will wrestle for Wheeling Jesuit, was too tough for the Monarch as he came away with an 8-0 victory to cap his senior year at 38-0.

In the AAA team race, Huntington defended its state crown and knocked off runner-up Parkersburg, 188-151. Parkersburg South was third (132) and Wheeling Park nipped Point Pleasant for fourth, 110-107. Rob Archer of

Huntington was given the Rod Oldham Coaching Award and the triple-A Most Outstanding Wrestler Award went to Parkersburg’s Trapper Hays, who pinned Ripley two-time champion Jake Martin in the 152-pound finals.

Independence rolled to the Class AA/A team crown and Patriot coach Cliff Warden picked up the Dix Manning Coaching Award. IHS had 181 points while Oak Glen’s 118.5 was just better than Greenbrier West’s 118 for runner-up honors. Three-time state champion Dalton George of Williamstown was the Class AA/A Most Outstanding Wrestler.

In earlier Saturday action during the consolation rounds – Wheeling Park’s Geremy Paige won both of his 220-pound matches on Saturday to finish third. He knocked off Parkersburg South’s Logan Dilliner 3-1 and then scored a 3-2 decision versus Jacob Duncan of Point Pleasant.

Park teammate Jonny Davis at 152 knocked off Dakota Miller of Oak Hill, 5-1, but settled for fourth after falling 5-3 to University’s Ryan Lopez.

Brooke heavyweight Preston Wise and John Marshall 138-pounder Dylan Hall also placed. Hall’s 8-2 decision against St. Albans’ Trey Harman gave him a shot to wrestle for third, but Buckhannon-Upshur’s Dakota Linger secured a 5-0 triumph. Wise lost 2-1 to Thomas Hall of Parkersburg South, but fought back and earned fifth after pinning Buckhannon-Upshur’s Daniel Nolte in 1:39.

Of Oak Glen’s seven placers in Class AA/A, three finished third overall – Danny Wyke (113), Josh Cornell (126) and 138-pounder Nick Tice.

Wyke pinned his way to third place by sticking Sissonville’s Ryan Keckley in 3:33 and then took care of Independence’s Teddy Stover in 4:37. Cornell scored a pair of narrow decisions on Saturday morning. His first was a 5-3 decision versus Chris Goad of Calhoun County and his last match was a 3-2 triumph against Fayetteville’s Bailey Bowles.

Tice needed overtime to win 5-3 against Wirt County’s Cody Ferguson and secured third during a 3-1 decision against Brent Wyne of Fairmont Senior.

Golden Bear Alex Shuman pinned Williamstown’s Jake Tracewell in 2:04 and then lost 3-0 to Grafton’s Tyler Moore en route to taking fourth at 152. OGHS heavyweight Noah Mills also finished fourth. Although he pinned Liberty’s (Harrison) Ryan Moore in 2:24, he was pinned in 2:49 by Noah Markley of Bridgeport.

Avery Flowers finished fifth and Ryan Debee took sixth for the Golden Bears. Flowers avoided sixth when he decisioned North Marion’s Kyle Elliott, 2-0.

In the 182-pound division, Magnolia’s Caleb Nice finished fourth and Cameron’s Waylon Miller was sixth. Miller suffered an 11-2 major decision setback to Nice and then came up short 7-1 to Thomas Williams of Independence. Nice just missed out on winning the consolation final during his 3-2 loss to Moorefield’s Will Schoonover.