Round 5 for Bears’ Hall, Riders’ Rea
OVAC?will have at least one state champ
HUNTINGTON — The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference is guaranteed at least one champion as the 71st annual West Virginia Class A-AA state wrestling championships enter its third — and final — day.
Five individuals qualified for the finals Friday night inside Big Sandy Superstore Arena, with Oak Glen sophomore Peyton Hall and Weir senior Caleb Rea will do battle for the fifth time this season in the rubber match of their intense 132-pound rivalry. Both wrestlers have won twice, but Rea claimed the OVAC Ron Mauck and Region I crowns.
Hall, a defending state champion at 120, earned his place with a 5-2 decision over East Fairmont’s Lane Flint in the semifinals.
“I think this is the match that most people came to see,” Oak Glen coach Patrick McGillian said. “It should be a good one.”
Rea advanced with a dominating performance over Independence’s defending state titlist Hunter Taylor, 14-6 in a major decision. The Red Rider is 42-4.
“Caleb is the most focused wrestler I’ve ever coached,” Weir coach Tom Taylor said. “He’s been wrestling very well. This is a match that everyone wanted to see.”
Moore stunned Grafton’s Noah Hodges, 2-0 in overtime, at 113 pounds. Hodges was a defending champion at 106 where he fashioned a perfect 59-0 mark last year as a sophomore.
Moore (37-8) scored a takedown with 21 seconds left in the one-minute extra session.
“I knew Shawn had a tough road coming in here because he had to wrestle a kid that placed sixth last year,” McGillian said. “We had wrestled Hodges before this year and beat him 7-5 in overtime, but he’s a defending state champion.
“He wrestled a fantastic match. Now we get our third shot at (East Fairmont’s Blake Whorton).”
Whorton (43-2) won by a 2-1 decision.
The Golden Bears also placed freshman Gavin Ray at 126. He will wrestle in the consolation semifinals today.
Oak Glen sits in third place behind Independence and East Fairmont.
Independence has already clinched the Class AA team title. It is their fifth straight and sixth overall.
Madonna has a pair of finalists in Alec Cook (138) and Donavan Kirby (195).
Cook, a runnerup last season, is 47-5 after his 14-1 major decision over East Fairmont’s Khaleb Fazenbaker.
Kirby (38-7) decisioned Winfield’s Alex Hale 3-2 to earn his trip to the finals.
Also earning all-state honors was Garret Cook (182), who lost his semifinal match in overtime to Adam Daniels of Independence.
Weir heavyweight Jordan Brueck lost in the semifinals, but has earned all-state accolades as an alternate.
∫ Three Ohio valley officials are working the tournament. They include Shane Kildow, Kenny McWilliams and Jim Copney.
∫ Weir’s Blaze Cain was disqualified from the tournament after his quarterfinal loss for unsportsmanlike conduct.