Oak Glen’s Peyton Hall Captains All-Valley Wrestling Squad
WHEELING — Peyton Hall had a remarkable wrestling career at Oak Glen. The West Virginia University recruit became the first Golden Bear to win four West Virginia state championships in the school’s storied mat history. For his accomplishments, which are many, he’s been named captain of the 2019-20 All-Valley Wrestling Team.
The talent-ladened team includes a freshman, who won a West Virginia state championship; five Mountain State runnersup; and seven Ohio grapplers who qualified for the state tournament as district champions, runnersup or had an exceptional season on the mat. The Buckeye State canceled its state tournament earlier this week due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
Eight Ohio Valley Athletic Conference schools are represented on the 14-member squad.
A brief capsule of each honoree follows:
HALL established a school record for victories with 179. All but 46 of them ended in pins just like his prep career did inside Mountain Health Arena in late February when he took care of Point Pleasant’s Wyatt Wilson in 2-minutes, 34-seconds. Not only was it Hall’s fourth title, but he did it in four different weight classes. He prevailed as a freshman at 120; won as a sophomore at 132 and at 138 as a junior.
“It’s been an honor to coach Peyton for all four years. He has done unbelievable things for our program and I just hope people will look up to him for what he has accomplished,” Oak Glen head coach Patrick McGillian said. “He’s quality on-and-off the mat. I think the world of him.”
He is a three-time OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament champion and a four-time finalist. He was the first freshman to be voted the prestigious Bierkortte Award winner. He is the 48th Oak Glen state champion and one of five OVAC matmen to claim four West Virginia state championships.
He suffered just 13 losses.
KOEN KISH, St. Clairsville, won an OVAC championship this season as a junior after finishing third a year ago. He was also a Division II district champion at Claymont and is a two-time state qualifier.
“Koen works hard in the room and outside of practice. He had set some very high goals for this season and accomplished most of them,” St. Clairsville head coach Joel Sansone said.
Kish finished 43-3 this season and has compiled 132 career wins.
REESE SKAGGS, St. Clairsville, is another junior standout who collected his 100th career win at the district in Claymont where he finished fourth. He is 46-8 this year.
“Reese has been solid for us since his freshman year but he really took off this season, showing how hard he has been working when he pinned his way through the OVAC tournament,” Sansone said.
BRIAN PALMER JR., Buckeye Local, is no stranger to the state tournament. Like the aforementioned McFarland, this would’ve been the junior’s third trip to Columbus. He placed sixth as a freshman at 120 and third last season at 132.
“I was expecting big things from Brian this year at the state tournament,” Buckeye Local head coach Willie Saxton said.
Palmer Jr., who was 43-3 this season and is 132-20 for his career, finished second at the district. He was ranked No. 3 in the Buckeye State by Borofan.
DAVID TUTTLE, Steubenville, qualified for his third state tournament by winning the Division II Steubenville sectional before placing third at the Claymont district. He finished his season at 36-6 and was 165-44 for his career. He placed eighth as a sophomore at 170 and finished fourth at 182 as a junior. He was an alternate his freshman season. He also won the OVAC title at 182 this season.
KEITH BODNAR, Steubenville, captured the Division II Steubenville sectional and the Claymont district championships and was 39-5 headed to Columbus for the second time. He was also an OVAC runnerup at 195. His career record was 141-55.
“Both of those guys have had some ups-and-downs this season, but they’ve continued to battle and fought their way to the state tournament,” Steubenville head coach Mike Blackburn said. “I thought both of them chances off placing high on the podium.”
GRIFFEN STEPHEN, Barnesville, is already a two-time state qualifier as a sophomore.
“Griffen is one of the hardest working kids I have been fortunate enough to coach. He digs deep and his inner strength amazes me,” Barnesville head coach Jayson Stephen said of his oldest of four sons. “That is something that can’t be taught. Griffen really is an example of how working hard and putting the time in leads to success in this sport.”
A two-time sectional and district champ already in his young career, Stephen is 81-14, including 45-4 this season.
ERICK BROTHERS JR., Wheeling Park, burst onto the high school by winning the 182-pound West Virginia Class AAA state championship with a 4-2 victory over rival St. Albans’ Elijah Edge. Brothers Jr., who finished with a 38-7 record, also placed third in the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament after losing by a point in the semifinals.
“We knew that Erick was really talented at the junior high and youth levels,” Wheeling Park head coach Brian Leggett said. “He grew so much during the season wrestling-wise, and he showed it by winning the state title.”
Brothers Jr. was also a Region I titlist.
IAN BUSH, Cameron, went from a state qualifier as a freshman to state runnerup at 170 pounds this winter. He finished 45-3 and is 80-10 for his two seasons. He was an OVAC Tournament champion.
“Ian had a really good season for us,” Cameron head coach Tim Jones said. “He won our first OVAC title in more than a decade and he was a state runnerup. I’m very proud of him. He has a lot of wrestling still ahead of him.”
ANDREW SHELEK, Wheeling Park, finished his stellar career by placing second at 138. He lost 9-7 to Mussleman’s Joey Miller who became a three-time champion. For his career, the West Liberty recruit was 105-20 and a three-time state runnerup. He did, however, capture an OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament title as the No. 4 seed in a very tough weight class.
“Andrew left everything on the mat each and every time he stepped out there,” Leggett noted. “He battled injuries and surgeries early in his career, but he overcame them and made the (state) finals three straight years.”
Shelek was 35-4 this season and a three-time Region I champion.
RICHARD McFARLAND, Martins Ferry, is a three-time state qualifier who continually got better as his career progressed. He improved from a fourth-place district finisher as a junior to winning a Division III district title this season at 195 pounds.
“Richie has gotten better each and every year up to this point in his senior year. He gained confidence in himself in each match that he wrestled,” second-year Martins Ferry head coach Chad Ware said.
“Richie had a tremendous district tournament putting himself in a great position for the state tournament. We, as coaches, believed that Richie not only had the ability to place at the state tournament, but finish very high on the podium.”
McFarland finished with 105 career wins and placed fourth at the OVACs.
STEVIE MITCHELL, Wheeling Park, also finished as a state runnerup at 145, dropping a close 7-4 decision to Parkersburg South’s Gavin Quiocho in the finals. He was 40-9 this season and also lost, 3-2, to the Wood County Patriot in the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament finals.
The junior won the Region I title.
“Stevie had a very good season for us,” Leggett said. “He’s another one of those guys that leave it all out on the mat. I thought he wrestled one of his better matches in the (state) finals. One little mistake cost him.”
JONATHAN CREESE, Oak Glen, concluded his Golden Bear career with a state runnerup finish at 145 pounds. He was 33-12 this season and 129-56 for his career.
He was third at the same weight as a junior.
“Jonathan had a really good career, especially the last two seasons,” McGillian said.
“He kind of ran into a buzzsaw in the state finals, but he wrestled really well at the state tournament.”
Creese was a Region I kingpin.
CHARLIE TAMBURIN, Wheeling Park, had the dubious task of facing Parkersburg South ‘s undefeated Braxton Amos in the 220-pound finals. However, the loss didn’t tarnish a fine 35-11 junior season that included a Region I crown.
“Charlie really wrestled this season,” Leggett said.
“He really came on strong as the season progressed. We’re looking for big things from him next year.”