Road to State Wrestling Meet Begins Saturday
Regionals set for Brooke, Fairmont
The road to the West Virginia state wrestling tournament begins this weekend with regional tournament action and concludes Feb. 22-24 inside Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.
Wrestlers in Class AAA Region One converge on Brooke High School in Wellsburg on Saturday where action begins at 11 a.m. The championship finals are set for approximately 3-3:30 p.m. The top four placers in each weight class advance to the state tournament.
In addition to the host Bruins, other teams involved include Buckhannon-Upshur, John Marshall, Morgantown, Preston County, Wheeling Park and University.
The Hawks placed third in the state behind Parkersburg South and Parkersburg, while Wheeling Park was sixth.
Nineteen state placers return for a repeat trip to Huntington, led by Buckhannon-Upshur, John Marshall and Wheeling Park with five each. University has four.
The Hawks’ Jake Staud (106) and the Patriots’ Austin Loew (195) each finished as state runnerup.
Wheeling Park’s John Nash (160), Kaleb Simpkins (170) and Dylan Wood (220) were all third-place finishers, while Canon Welker (113) was sixth.
Nash and Simpkins have been banged up of late, but Patriots coach Clay Tucker expects both seniors to be on the mat. Nash missed an opportunity to win his third OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament championship last month, while Simpkins claimed his first.
John Marshall’s Jordan Wood (120) and Austin Love (126) both finished fourth, while Ethan Gray (106), Jacob Berisford (152) and Brandon Durrah (182) all placed sixth.
The Monarchs also boast senior Anthony Carman (160). He was disqualified from the state tournament last year because of a skin infraction.
University’s Owen Zeiders (145) was fourth, Braeden Pauley (132) fifth and Jacob Simpson (120) sixth.
In Class A-AA, wrestlers from Berkeley Springs, Cameron, East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior, Frankfort, Keyser, Madonna, Magnolia, North Marion, Oak Glen, Paden City, Petersburg, Ritchie County, St. Marys, Tyler Consolidated and Weir travel to Fairmont Senior’s Field House on Mary Lou Retton Drive.
Action begins Friday at 3 p.m. on three mats. Saturday’s wrestling continues at 10:30 a.m. with consolation quarterfinal matches. Championship semifinals are scheduled for 11, with the finals (matches for 1st-, 3rd- and 5th-places) starting at approximately 2 p.m.
Only four OVAC matmen return as state placers, but two of them are defending state champions who are likely headed for a fourth showdown this winter.
Oak Glen’s Peyton Hall (120) and Weir’s Caleb Rea (126) each stood high stop the podium last season and both entered at 132 this year. They have met three times already this season, with Hall prevailing in the first two. However, Rea turned the tables in the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament finals, winning 5-4. Rea also stunned No. 3-ranked Gavin Teasdale in the 132-pound finals last weekend in the Ohio Coatings Panther Classic at Buckeye Local.
Other returning state placers are Madonna’s Alec Cook (132) and Tyler Consolidated’s Tyler Chipps (285).
The Blue Dons, who finished third in Class A last season, have a chance at winning the Class A title. They recently won the W.Va. Class A Challenge. Wirt County won the small school meet, while Magnolia was second. Independence won Class AA. Oak Glen was fourth.
∫ There are 20 defending state champions that were underclassmen last year, 10 in each in Class A-AA and Class AAA.