PARKERSBURG - Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy will be out to defend its West Virginia Duals wrestling crown from last winter when the two-day tournament gets under way at 4:15 p.m. this afternoon inside Parkersburg's Memorial Fieldhouse.
The host Big Reds of head coach Chris Way, who lost the Mountain State's third-ranked Class AAA 195-pounder Adam Lindamood for the season due to knee surgery, will be in the same eight-team pool along with CVCA. The Royals boast three-time Ohio state champion and the nation's top-ranked 120-pounder in Ohio State recruit Nathan Tomasello.
Tomasello has plenty of help in the lineup as the Royals boast several Ohio state tournament placers from a year ago after taking third as a team in the Buckeye State in Division II.
"I'm looking forward to wrestling some good teams this year," said coach Way. "We get to wrestle the defending champions and I was hoping we would get them in our pool.
"I think we can match up with them pretty well and hopefully we beat them and get an opportunity to wrestle Parkersburg South again."
The Big Reds, who are led by Virginia Tech signee Jared Haught at 182 (ranked seventh nationally by Amateur Wrestling News), also will be competing against Lewis County, George Washington, Springboro, Cabell Midland, Woodrow Wilson and the Parkersburg South 'B' team.
First-year PSHS head coach Donna Dixon's Patriots are coming off a runner-up effort last weekend at the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships. Parkersburg South will be out to top its runner-up finish a year ago to CVCA.
"The boys are eager and I'm excited to get to see both teams at the same time," said Dixon, who is trying to guide No. 2 Parkersburg South to a record fifth straight triple-A state title.
"What I want for our boys is to go out and wrestle the hardest and best they can and whatever the outcome is we will accept that. We ask for them to do the best job they can do."
PSHS is joined by fellow Class AAA programs Shady Spring (No. 8) and Brooke (No. 9) along with ranked Class AA/A squads in Calhoun County (No. 8) and Roane County (No. 11). Also competing in Pool B are Hedgesville, Ritchie County and Dayton Christian, which features eighth-rated 145-pound Jacob Danishek, who won Ohio's Division III 132-pound state crown last season.
Six mats will be on the main floor at PHS while the other two mats will run downstairs in the Jack Stephens Gymnasium.
Aside from Haught, the only other top-ranked grappler according to the coaches' rankings on wvmat.com is George Washington 160-pounder Jake Smith.
Lance Hill of Parkersburg South is ranked second at 113 while Calhoun County's Casey Ritchie is currently rated second at 126.