South, CVCA headed toward finals rematch

PARKERSBURG-Hall of Fame coach Joe Handlan has seen a lot of wrestling tournaments during his time. But, even the former Parkersburg Big Reds’ leader was impressed with what he witnessed during the opening night of the West Virginia Duals at Memorial Fieldhouse.

“We had our big tournaments when I coached,” said Handlan while watching the Big Reds take on Springboro, Ohio, in a second- round matchup. “But, this is impressive. It’s great to see all of these kids out here on a night like tonight competing.

“It’s great for the wrestling fans around our area to be able to come to an event of this magnitude.”

The two-day tournament, which began at 4:15 p.m., was to feature 8-team pools, however, the inclement weather that hit around the Mountain State caused three squads-Shady Spring, George Washington and Woodrow Wilson-not to show and forced Cabell Midland to forfeit all of its matches on Friday. The Knights are expected to be on hand when wrestling begins today at 9 a.m.

“We were forced to go to two 7-team pools,” said PHS Director of Athletics Lori Lowers. “And, one of those is an all-star team made up of wrestlers from different schools to make up for Shady Spring.”

Despite the missing programs, action got under way with both the defending duals champion Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and four-time defending Class AAA W.VA. state champion breezing through the first two rounds of action.

CVCA made short work of Little Kanawha Conference member Ritchie County, 66-18, in its opening round matchup and then recorded a 55-18 decision over the Parkersburg South ‘B’ team in second round to head into its matchup with the host Big Reds with a 2-0 mark.

A record that was equaled by the host squad as Parkersburg opened the evening with a 74-12 win over Lewis County followed by a 37-25 win over Springboro to set up a battle of unbeatens in Round 3.

“This is what we hoped for when we found out we were going to be in the same pool,” said Big Reds’ head coach Chris Way. “We built up some momentum with those first two wins, so we’ll see how much of that carries over to this one (against CVCA).”

The Royals, led by 120-pounder Nathan Tomasello’s technical fall over the Big Reds’ Jason West, pulled out a 38-24 victory to remain undefeated heading into Saturday’s final rounds. The Big Reds, now 2-1 in the tourney, were paced by senior 182-pounder Jared Haught, who recorded three pins on the evening.

The Patriots of head coach Donna Dixon had an equally easy time of it in the opening two rounds as Parkersburg South’s A-team blew past Hedgesville, 74-3, and then added the Bruins from Brooke High School to its list of defeated opponents one round later.

South improved to 3-0 on the day with a 53-17 win over Dayton Christian.

In one of the featured bouts of the night, the Patriots’ Lance Hill was matched up against Dayton Christian’s Christian Clary as the two teams met in one of the third round matchups. Hill, who had already captured a pair of pins over Hedgeville’s Sandy Grant (3:33) and Brooke’s Michael Max (0:42), and Clary finished regulation tied at one.

Hill, ranked second at 113 in the Mountain State, pulled out a 2-1 victory in overtime.

“He (Clary) had been given a warning for stalling so I got to pick which position I wanted to start overtime,” said Hill. “I picked the down position because I felt like I could get away from him.”

The decision worked as the Patriot grappler pulled away early during the one-minute extra period to remain unbeaten on the night heading into Parkesburg South’s fourth match of the night against Calhoun County.

Action is expected to get under way at 9 a.m. with competition in the final three rounds of pool play. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the championship round where the winner of Pool A will take on the runner-up in Pool B and the winner of Pool B will face the runner-up in Pool A.

Following those matches, the champions of both pools will meet for the tournament championship expected to begin between 11:30 a.m. and 12 noon.

The remaining five teams will be matched up in two other brackets with the No. 3 and No. 4 team in each pool in one bracket and No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 rounding out the other bracket.