Huntington wins MSAC wrestling

PARKERSBURG -Huntington High continued its domination of the Mountain State Athletic Conference wrestling scene, winning the league’s annual tournament for the third straight time on Saturday at Memorial Fieldhouse.

Coach Rob Archer’s Highlanders, the top-ranked team in West Virginia, ran away with the team title, amassing 253 points to 180 for host and runnerup Parkersburg High. Ripley was third with 142.5 points in the 13-team field, followed by George Washington (110), Winfield (105), Spring Valley (50), Riverside (45,) Hurricane (41), St. Albans (29), Capital (28), Nitro (23), South Charleston (12) and Princeton (9.5).

Huntington placed 11 wrestlers in the finals, crowning five champions. Ripley had four first-place winners with Parkersburg capturing a pair of titles.

Big Red coach Chris Way was selected by his peers as the Mountain State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year while the coveted Most Outstanding Wrestler Award went to defending state champion Jake Smith of George Washington, who won the 160-pound title.

Winning titles for the Big Reds were three-time state champion Jared Haught, who needed 2:34 to pin his 182-pound opponent, Carter Capehart of Huntington, and 220-pounder Tyler Riddle, who decisioned Huntington’s Nigale Cabell, 3-1, in the title match. Riddle was the No. 2 seed while Cabell was seeded No. 1.

Coach Way, who appreciated the support of his coaching peers, has come to expect Haught dominating whoever is his opponent and that’s what happened throughout the day. He also was quite pleased with Riddle.

“Tyler wrestled well,” he said. “It was a good match physically.”

Way said the rest of his team must step it up as the regionals and state tournament approach.

“I was not pleased at all,” he said of Parkersburg’s non-champions.

Huntington, preparing for its Thursday night dual meet against visiting Parkersburg South, dominated the lower weights, claiming the first three titles, all against Parkersburg wrestlers. At 106, Logan Grass scored an 18-8 major decision over Big Red Austin Spears. At 113, Jordan Allen recorded a 16-0 technical fall over Nick Johnson, while 120-pounder Johnathan Spence of Huntington, the No. 2 seed, recorded the first upset of the finals by nipping Parkersburg’s Jason West, 4-2.

Parkersburg had two other runners-up as Trapper Hays lost the 132 pound title bout to Ripley’s Austin Hileman, 5-1, and Dylan Richards at 160 was the victim of Smith’s 15-0 technical fall.

Other Huntington champions were Billy Waldeck at 138 and Justin Arthur at 145. Arthur was the most outstanding wrestler at last year’s MS AC meet.

In addition to Hileman, Ripley got titles from Preston Martin at 152, Greg Medina at 195 and Daryl Hicks at 285. Other champions included Winfield’s Bryce Humphrey at 126 and Cabell Midland’s nick Boone at 170. Humphrey, the No. 3 seed, was the only wrestler to win a title who wasn’t seeded first or second.

Parkersburg High has become the home of the MS AC Wrestling Tournament, thanks to the work of PHS Athletics Director Lori Lowers, local tournament organizer Brent Sams and PA announcer Kyle Bratke, who keeps things moving at a good pace.