While it was disappointing that the Class AAA state wrestling championship didn't come to Parkersburg -where we feel like it belongs (and it has on 39 occasions) - both Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South gave good accountings of themselves during the three-day tournament in Huntington.
Speaking of Huntington, if anyone other than the Big Reds or Patriots has to win the title, it's good to see the Highlanders on top of the scoreboard. The Archers -Bill and son Robbie -are great representatives of West Virginia wrestling who have more than paid their dues and are deserving of any success that comes their way.
All three Wood County programs produced a state champion with Williamstown leading the way with two, Dalton George at 132 and David Hastings at 195. Parkersburg High saw 152-pounder Trapper Hays complete an undefeated season and Parkersburg South had a freshman, Justin Allman, win the 182-pound title that is usually reserved for more experienced wrestlers.
It was great to see Hays and George be named the Most Outstanding Wrestlers in their respective divisions, a Wood County wrestling first. It did mark the seventh time that a wrestler from one of the Parkersburg schools was selected as the best in Class AAA and a grappler representing a Little Kanawha Conference school received that honor in AA/A.
The wrestling tournament annually is one of the best conducted high school championships that takes place in West Virginia. It appears to have found a permanent home in Huntington. Although the Big Sandy Superstore Arena is somewhat lacking, those who put on the meet know what they are doing. After three long days of wrestling, the Saturday night parade of champions literally brings chills to the spectators. There's not another moment like it at any other state championship.
I remember when the state championship took place at Memorial Fieldhouse, but the tournament won't ever return to Parkersburg unless we build a venue with a large enough seating capacity. It's a shame a community that can claim more than 200 state championships doesn't have better sports facilities. Other than Vienna's Jackson Park -the home of the state high school softball tournament -the only other venue we have that is state tournament worthy is the tennis complex at the Erickson All-Sports Facility but the lack of nearby indoor courts dooms us from conducting the state tennis tournament here.
The WVU Coaches Caravan will make its annual appearance at J.P. Henry's Restaurant on May 2. No details yet. Stay tuned.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org