South, PHS set for dual

PARKERSBURG – Less than four days after losing by a single point to rival Parkersburg, the Parkersburg South wrestling team will head back to Memorial Fieldhouse for tonight’s annual city dual.

PHS head coach Chris Way’s Big Reds captured the West Virginia Duals at home Saturday thanks to upending the Patriots in the championship match, 31-30.

At 7 p.m. today, a rare third battle of the season will get underway with PSHS head coach Donna Dixon’s troops aiming to return to form. Back on Dec. 28, the Patriots topped the Big Reds 38-27 at the Wheeling Park Duals.

“Honestly, I don’t know about three times,” Way said if the two rivals ever met thrice head-to-head in a single season. “Anytime you are wrestling your city rival it’s an important match. I’m sure Parkersburg South will be pretty pumped up and be ready to wrestle.”

Despite having to forfeit the 220-pound weight class, which gave Patriot Logan Dilliner an easy victory last week, PHS still managed to overcome the six-point spot in the end. Turning the clock back to last year’s annual dual, PHS had to forfeit two weight classes en route to losing 44-28 at the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. The Patriots also had a full team at the Wheeling Park Duals while PHS once again gave Dilliner a forfeit victory.

“We’ve been trying to stay consistent and you have to wrestle like you are trying to accomplish something. You just can’t relax after a big match,” said Way, who noted both 160-pounder Codie Barrows and heavyweight Charley Conley are nearing a return to the lineup.

While each match is important in the final outcome, both coaches know one of the biggest keys to winning is getting those pins and at the same time trying to avoid giving them up.

The Big Reds registered a quartet of mat slappers on Saturday that proved key in the narrow win. Nick Johnson pinned T.J. Lambiotte at 132 while Dylan Richards did the same at 145 to Hunter DeLong. Trapper Hays moved up to 160 to get six points against Damon Gandee and Big Red junior Max Chefren sealed the win with a pin at 195 versus Tyler Newhart.

Lambiotte, though, only suffered a 6-5 setback to Johnson at the Wheeling Park Duals and DeLong was just doubled up 4-2 by Richards that same day as well. Chefren actually lost 6-2 in Wheeling against Patriot Matt Dixon, who is now competing at 170.

According to last week’s rankings on wvmat.com, Patriot heavyweight Thomas Hall and 113-pound teammate Logan Ball were the only current expected state champions from Parkersburg South. Of course, Ball just suffered a 12-11 overtime defeat to second-ranked Big Red Austin Spears, who was pinned in the first period by his Patriot rival at the Wheeling Park Duals.

Aside from Spears, the Big Reds also had No. 2 ranked grapplers in 106-pounder Jared Donahue, Richards and the 152-pound Hays.

“It’s been a good season so far and we’re just trying to build upon what we accomplished Saturday at the (W.Va.) Duals,” Way added. “We’re still training like we want to be state champs and South wants to be state champs.

“We know Huntington is a very good team and they want a repeat. We are just training to still get better every day. That’s the goal to get better every single day and the kids have bought into that all year.”

Despite Wood County schools being closed today, the match will take place as scheduled. Weigh-ins are slated for 6 p.m. and junior varsity action should begin shortly after that.