PARKERSBURG - A new champion is expected to be crowned Saturday evening when the 51st annual Little Kanawha Conference wrestling championships conclude at Ritchie County High School.
Defending champion Wirt County has several holes in its lineup and isn't currently ranked in Class AA/A. The fight for the team crown should come down to No. 5 Roane County, No. 6 Calhoun County or No. 9 Williamstown.
The Yellowjackets will have 160-pounder Jake Tracewell back in action. Also, WHS senior Dalton George is trying to become the lone three-time LKC champion this winter. Tracewell, George at 132 and 'Jacket 195-pounder David Hastings earned No. 1 seeds.
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Doddridge County’s Hunter Riffle, top, tries to keep control of Wirt County’s Cody Marks during the Bob Zide Rumble. The two 106-pounders will compete Saturday at the 51st annual Little Kanawha Conference wrestling tournament.
"We might be the favorite, but then again how we match up against Calhoun and the results of those matches will be critical and you've got Williamstown," said Roane County head coach Wayne Jarvis, who has top seeds with Jacob Spencer (106), Cam Moore (113), Joe Copley (152) and heavyweight Caije Nichols.
"We are really trying to emphasize (winning) the LKC. How it pans out is going to be between (those) three teams. I don't think the others have enough firepower, but we will see. It's going to be tough."
Jarvis admits it definitely will take a team effort throughout the lineup for the Raiders to win. That means getting contributions not only from his favored wrestlers, but also from the likes of seniors Dillon Clarkson (126), Luke Scott (160) and 170-pounder Tyler Hammack as well as from guys like Riley White (120), Josh Richards (132), Chancee Hensley (182), Scott Gibson (195) and 220-pounder Garrett Burnside.
Copley, also a Raider senior, has been injured the past couple of weeks, but is ready for Saturday. Clarkson missed five weeks due to a concussion.
"I thought Roane would be favored coming in," said Calhoun County head coach Mike Stump, whose team will have forfeits at 195, 220 and 285 while the Raiders' lone empty weight class is 138.
"We definitely will have some strong contenders. We're giving up that many weight classes, but it doesn't look bleak. We got some quality kids and if we wrestle well we can challenge for the top."
The Red Devils have expected champions in Chris Goad (126), Casey Ritchie (138), Cole Ritchie (145) and 170-pounder Cole Boatright. Calhoun County's Houstin McCune, ranked first in the state at 120, is the No. 2 seed based on criteria behind Ritchie County's Jacob Monn.
Wirt County's Dylan Pickrell (220) and Clay County's Tyler Stewart (182) were awarded the other top seeds.