3 Weight Classes Will Not Wrestle During Class AAA State Tournament

Wheeling Park’s Maison Richardson (120) wrestles Washington’s Andy Felegie during the Class AAA West Virginia state tournmanet. Richardson won by major decision, 11-0. Photo by Kim North

HUNTINGTON — Six Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class AAA wrestlers will not participate in this weekend’s 70th annual W.Va. state tournament at Big Sandy Superstore Arena after a court ruling was upheld prior to the start of the event Thursday night.

The ruling prevented wrestlers in the 145, 152 and 170 pound weight classes from competing in the tournament after a skin issue developed.

“On Tuesday we had heard there was a positive case of skin issues. On Wednesday we had another positive case and as we came down here (Thursday) into an injunction hearing, we heard there was a third case,” Bernie Dolan, W.Va. Secondary Schools Activities Commission executive director, said. “So now we’re at the point where about 20 percent of a tournament we felt like it was in the best interest to postpone those three weight classes, get them beyond the incubation period and then bring them back to wrestle.

“We just thought that was the fairest thing to do.”

He said the incubation period will be over March 8. He said the SSAC will do everything it can do bring those weight classes back to Huntington at some point after that.

The ruling didn’t sit well with coaches or parents.

The affected wrestlers include the Bruins’ Jesse Law CJ Helms (145), Dalton Yost (152) and Colten Zombeck (170); the Monarchs’ Jacob Berisford (152) and Chas McCool (170); and the Patriots’ Kaleb Simpkins (170).

“Kaleb has prepared himself for this weekend all season,” a frustrated Wheeling Park coach Clay Tucker said. “He has no problems at all. He’s ready to go.

“I just had to go tell him he’s not wrestling this weekend and I had to tell his parents who drove four hours and spent money on a motel room and gas,” Tucker said. “Who is going to reimburse them? I don’t know.”

Ted Zervos echoed Tucker’s thoughts.

“I’ve got a 152-pounder and a 170-pounder that aren’t wrestling. They both play spring sports and they both made weight sacrifices. Now they have to hold that weight for three more weeks.

“I guess the SSAC was in a very, very tough position where there wasn’t a winning answer,” Zervos said. “No matter what they chose, it was going to be a losing thing.”

Brooke first-year coach Dan Doyle was really upset.

“It (the ruling) affects almost half of my team I brought here,” he said. “It was a tough decision to be made. It’s going to be hard on everyone involved from the kids to the parents to the coaches.”