PHS practice partners claim state titles

HUNTINGTON – A Class AAA runner-up finish and a 2-2 effort in Saturday night’s state wrestling finals wasn’t exactly what Parkersburg head coach Chris Way was looking for, but he was still proud of his Big Reds.

“We wrestled really well and we left some points out there I thought we could’ve got,” said Way, who got state runner-up efforts from Trapper Hays (132) and Skyler Terrell (138).

“I was hoping a couple guys could’ve placed a little higher here or there. I thought Trapper and Skyler had a good shot at winning a state title as well, but you know, it is what it is.”

Parkersburg’s last title of the year inside the Big Sandy Super Store Arena came from 220-pound senior Tyler Riddle during a 9-4 victory against John Marshall’s Cullen Ebbert.

The title was especially sweet for Riddle, who finished the year 43-9 and more than made the most out of his first career finals appearance.

“Tyler has worked really hard,” added Way, who noted of the runner-up finish “second place, it’s good, but it kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth as well.

“The goal all along was to win a state championship and we believed all along we could win a state championship.”

Riddle’s practice partner, 182-pounder Jared Haught, secured his third career title – his second at PHS to go along with one at Calhoun County where he also had a state runner-up effort as a Red Devil freshman – when he defeated Lewis County’s Ryan Carson, 11-7.

While Haught’s championship wasn’t unexpected as he capped a 50-0 campaign, coach Way was hoping Riddle would join the red and white wall of champions.

“Tyler paid his dues practicing with Jared Haught all year long,” added the coach. “It’s kind of a tribute to Jared in a way as well because a good teammate makes his partner better as well. The proof was there with the two state champs together right there.”

Although Haught had a hiccup in his match with Carson when the sophomore hit a four-point move and led 5-2 after the first period, Haught’s experience on the mat more than paid off in the end.

“I’m really happy. It was a very special moment,” said Haught, who is the first Big Red to go undefeated since Tim Higgins went 25-0 and won the 130-pound state title in 1995. “I went out there and my goal was to push the pace and I went out with a little too much intensity and I was too out of control.

“I just got sloppy and got put on my back. I just kept my head on straight and made sure that I could get the win. I’m real excited to finish the season with a 50-0 record.”