PARKERSBURG - The biggest wrestling reunion in the history of Wood County will take place today at Memorial Fieldhouse.
That's where the 50th annual Wood County Middle School Wrestling Championship will take place, with preliminary action to begin at 10 a.m. and the finals set for 5 p.m.
Allan Johnson, the Wood County Middle School Athletic Coordinator, and Brent Sams, who has served as the scorekeeper for the tournament for a number of years, have gone all-out in their effort to make the event a special one not only for the participating wrestlers, but for anyone who attends.
They've invited back any wrestler who ever won a Wood County junior high or middle school championship as well as any person who ever served as a head coach.
They are to meet at Gate 2 by 4:30 p.m. to form the Ring of Honor.
Leading them into the gymnasium will be two local wrestling coaches who are members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame -Joe Handlan Jr. of Parkersburg High School and Bob Pickens of Williamstown High School -who have been designated as the honorary parade marshals.
Once the wrestling begins, awards for each weight class will be presented by three-time Wood County champions. There have been 19 winners of three county titles. Sams isn't sure which ones will attend but they are: Ray Vensel, Washington, 1965-67; John Curry, Washington, 1967-69; Steve Bosley, Franklin 1969-71; Fred Pence, Hamilton, 1969-71; Jim Weatherholt, Edison, 1970-72; Gig Dornick, Franklin/Parkersburg South, 1973-73; Greg Bradshaw, Hamilton, 1976-78; Rich Underwood, Franklin, 1978-80; Scott Farrar, VanDevender, 1981-83; Mike Lantz, VanDevender, 1981-83; Dave Nedeff, Hamilton, 1982-84; Kevin Cochran, Franklin, 1983-85; Dave McNemar, Jackson, 1986-88; Jason Barton, Edison, 1986-88; Jeremy Cochran, Blennerhassett, 1987-89; Dustin Wright, Blennerhassett, 1989-91; Nathan Pickens, Edison, 1997-99; Felix Osuna-Cotto, Blennerhassett, 1999-2001; MacKenzie Peters, Williamstown, 2003-05; Cody Richards, Edison/Blennerhassett, 2005-07.
Presenting major awards will be:
Participating teams are Edison, Blennerhassett, Hamilton, Jackson, VanDevender, Williamstown, Ritchie County, Wirt County and Ripley.