PARKERSBURG - The Jackson County Invitational will be a one-day affair as wrestling is expected to get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday inside Ravenswood High School.
Ripley, ranked second in Class AAA, is a prohibitive favorite to defend its team title for head coach Matt Smith, whose squad has seven top-seeded wrestlers.
Aside from Ripley, No. 9 Cabell Midland will be joined by Class AA/A top-ranked Wirt County along with Liberty (Raleigh), host Ravenswood, Roane County, Sissonville, Wahama and St. Marys.
Photo by?Jay W. Bennett
Ripley’s Lucas Simpkins has the No. 1 seed in the 126-pound weight class for Saturday’s Jackson County Invitational.
Top seeds for the Vikings are Lucas Simpkins (126), Austin Hileman (132), Jake Martin (138), Preston Martin (152), Nate Starkey (170), Greg Medina (195) and heavyweight Daryl Hicks.
Wirt County head coach Kenny Dye's Tigers have been plagued with injury issues thus far into the campaign and the orange and black will be anything but close to healthy come Saturday. Expected 120-pound No. 1 seed Jon Cain is out for the Tigers, who also will be minus the services of regulars Tyler Cheuvront (126) and Hagan Root (132).
"You take three of your top wrestlers out, and only have 13 kids anyhow, you are down to 10 kids trying to win a tournament and that's rough," said Dye, whose team is without a 113-pounder.
"It's January and it's time to get serious. I'm looking for them to get healed up for later on. It's been a trying year so far, but luckily it's (the injuries) nothing major."
The top seeds for the Tigers are Jake Linville at 138 and 220-pounder Dylan Pickrell, both of whom are No. 2s.
Coach Dye said his team is nowhere near where they hope to be come crunch time later this year, but he's not displeased being the team to beat in Class AA/A according to state coaches.
"I'm not going to say we don't like it, but it's just a ranking and we still have to prove it," said the coach. "If we can get the kids healthy we ought to be all right."
The other No. 1 seeds for the JCI are Roane County's Riley White (106), Liberty's Tristan Harvey (113), Sissonville's Nick Lane (145), Wahama's Kane Roush (160), St. Marys' Jeremy Pratt (182) and Sissonville's Clay Whitney at 220. Roane County's Cam Moore was the No. 2 seed behind Cain.