PARKERSBURG - The annual West Virginia Duals will take place starting at 4:30 p.m. today inside Parkersburg's Memorial Fieldhouse, but exactly what teams will be competing remains to be seen.
David Jeffrey, the tournament director, said he's afraid Thursday night's battle with Mother Nature could cause several squads to pull out of the two-day event.
Lori Lowers, the athletics director at Parkersburg High School, noted early Thursday evening that "we already had one team drop out coming from far away. We might have more. Mountain View from Virginia dropped out.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg South senior 182-pounder Matt Dixon works on getting into a pinning position against Buckhannon-Upshur’s Cody Helm earlier this season. The Patriots are participating in this weekend’s W.Va. Duals at Parkersburg High School. Action starts at 4:30 p.m. today.
"Their superintendent said they were not going to come tonight. They would have to go through the mountains and they said no."
Two-time defending champion Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy isn't in the field as the Royals opted to forego participating this winter.
"The way the weather is it wouldn't surprise me to see the other Virginia team (Centreville) and maybe Cabell Midland and George Washington not make it," Jeffrey admitted. "Woodrow Wilson is coming in cars and so is Shady Spring."
Although final mat assignments will be determined by early this afternoon, likely before weigh-ins take place from 2-4 p.m., Brent Sams said he's ready for anything.
"I've got a format for four pools of five if we have 20 teams and three pools of six if we get down to 18," said Sams, who takes the lead on computer work for the event.
A year ago, there ended up being two pools of seven teams each. Currently, head coach Donna Dixon's Parkersburg South grapplers, ranked No. 2 in the state just one spot ahead of Class AAA rival Parkersburg, is in pool C with Woodrow Wilson, Shady Spring, John Marshall, Lewis County, Wirt County and Williamsburg (Ohio).
The other two pools feature the Big Reds, Williamstown, Centreville, Springboro, Oak Hill, Roane and Ritchie County in 'A' along with George Washington, Calhoun County, Dayton Christian Academy, Cabell Midland, South's blue team and PHS' red team in pool 'B'.
"It wasn't nasty here until early evening," said Calhoun County head coach Mike Stump, whose Red Devils are expected to fill 10 weight classes this weekend. "We dismissed school at 1:30 and practiced for about an hour and a half before we headed out.
"We're going to leave at noon and we will be there. We don't back down from snow storms."
One team which is making its first appearance at the W.Va. Duals is head coach Ryan Scott's Williamstown Yellowjackets.
"We've had our tournament (Bob Zide Rumble) going for like 11 or 12 years now and it's that last weekend in January," said the coach, who was happy to see the W.Va. Duals move its tournament date up.
"We don't have to travel and that saves us a lot of money not having to get hotel rooms and going somewhere. They bring in some pretty good teams and a lot of teams we don't see anywhere."
Other ranked teams aside from PSHS and PHS in the latest wvmat.com poll expected to compete include GW (No. 11 in AAA) as well as Class AA/A programs Calhoun County (No. 5) and sixth-ranked Roane County.
"As long as we get a bunch of matches in that will be good," coach Scott added. "I think we're only going to forfeit one weight class and that's pretty good for a duals tournament.
"My older kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing and my younger kids are a little green and they are taking some lumps."