Big Reds in second place

HUNTINGTON – Following Friday’s second day of the 67th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament being held inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, 15 grapplers from the Mid-Ohio Valley will have a chance to win an individual state championship tonight.

The team race is all but over as Independence leads Class AA/A with 153 points, well ahead of Greenbrier West’s 110. Defending Class AAA champion Huntington hasn’t technically clinched, but the Highlanders lead Parkersburg 156-134. HHS has five in the finals and will place 10 while the Big Reds of head coach Chris Way have four in the finals and will place nine.

One of the marquee matches many will be focused on comes at 152 where 48-0 Big Red Trapper Hays will take on Ripley’s Jake Martin. Hays, who beat Parkersburg South’s Dylan Alexander 12-0 to reach the finals, has defeated Martin twice this year and they both came in overtime. Martin, a junior who is vying for his third career state mat crown, made the finals by handing Wheeling Park’s Jonny Davis a 9-3 setback.

Two other state finals matches will pit Little Kanawha Conference rivals in Class AA/A. At 106, Calhoun County’s Allen Metheney will face Clay County’s Jack Cummings and the 195-pound title match will feature Jeremy Pratt of St. Marys against Williamstown’s David Hastings. Pratt scored a 7-4 overtime triumph versus Trey Williams of Independence while Hastings needed just 43 seconds to stick semifinal opponent Mark Sutton of Bluefield. Metheney cruised past Oak Glen’s Ryan Debee 9-4 and Cummings pinned Roane County’s Jacob Spencer in 53 seconds.

Williamstown’s Dalton George will go after his third career state crown tonight as the 132-pound senior rushed Oak Glen’s Avery Flowers just seven ticks in for an easy double-leg takedown and cruised to an 8-1 decision. George will tangle with Greenbrier West’s Dustin Yoakum.

“The only thing going through my mind right now is winning another state championship. I’ve got nothing else on my mind,” George said matter of factly moments after his win.

“Nothing matters. All I see is gold. All I see is first and I’m coming after it. Yoakum is a defending state champ (at 132 last year) and I wrestled him once at the WSAZ and beat him 4-1.”

PHS also has finalists with Jared Donahue (106), Austin Spears (113) and Dylan Richards (145). Donahue pinned Kinneson Leslie of Point Pleasant in 2:40 and has Highlander Logan Grass. Spears notched a 12-4 major decision against Logan Adkins of Cabell Midland and will take on Brandon Tenney of Buckhannon-Upshur. Richards is set to face Wheeling Park’s Dylan Taylor after handing Spring Valley’s Zach Gwinn a 5-2 setback.

Joey Butcher (120), Raymond Davila (126), Nick Johnson (132), Codie Barrows (170) and Max Chefren (195) all will place for the Big Reds.

Parkersburg South, which holds a 98-94 edge against Wheeling Park for third heading into today’s final consolation rounds set to begin at 10:45 a.m., will place seven wrestlers. Coach Donna Dixon’s club went 1-4 during the semifinal round and the lone Patriot in the finals is 182-pounder Justin Allman.

The Patriot freshman used a reversal in overtime to beat Point Pleasant’s Jon Peterson. His opponent is Zane Bradbury of Washington. Hunter Cline (106), Logan Dilliner (220) and heavyweight Thomas Hall joined Alexander in losing their first match in the semifinals. Hall fell just short to Huntington’s Nigale Cabell when the Highlander escaped late in the final overtime session for a 3-2 win.

Austin Harris (126) and Tyler Newhart (195) also will place for PSHS.

Ripley’s Martin will be joined in the finals by 126-pound teammate Lucas Simpkins, who edged Guy Fisher of Point Pleasant, 3-2. The top-ranked Simpkins squares off with fifth-ranked Johnathan Spence of Huntington. Viking Preston Martin will place in the top six at 160.

No LKC program has more than two finalists and in the team race Calhoun County is in a three-way tie for fourth at 77.5 with Oak Glen and Fairmont Senior. North Marion’s 79 points are currently good for third.

Roane County teammates Cam Moore at 113 and heavyweight Caije Nichols reached the finals. Moore major decisioned Oak Glen’s Danny Wyke and the top-ranked Raider will face second-ranked Logan Robertson of Greenbrier West. Nichols will square off against Fairmont Senior’s Brent Barber after the junior doubled up Liberty’s (Harrison) Ryan Moore, 2-1, in the semifinals. Raiders Jacob Spencer (106) and Luke Scott (160) will place, but lost in the semifinals. Scott had a tough 6-5 overtime loss to Dustin Justice of Independence.

George and Hastings were hoping to be joined in the finals by 152-pound teammate Jake Tracewell, but the senior came up short 10-1 to 49-2 Hayden Stewart of East Fairmont. WHS’ Austin Raines will place at 145.

Cummings will be joined in the finals by Clay County 182-pound teammate Tyler Stewart, who blanked Magnolia’s Caleb Nice, the only Blue Eagle who will place.

The other area state finalist is Ritchie County’s Jacob Monn, who won a crown as a freshman. The Rebel had a 9-0 win against Caleb Currence of Greenbrier West and now faces Ryan Elliott of North Marion. The Huskie is ranked second and Monn is third.

Also placing this year for the locals between third and sixth are Doddridge County’s Hunter Riffle (106), Braxton County’s Levi Jarvis (160) and Bryson Dennison (170), Wirt County’s Cody Ferguson (138) and Dylan Pickrell (220), the Wahama trio of Jacob Bennett (126), Randale Robie (132) and Kane Roush (170), St. Marys heavyweight Tyler Davis, Clay County’s Brandon White (195) and Wyatt Dawson (220) along with Calhoun County’s Houstin McCune (120), Chris Goad (126), Cole Ritchie (145) and 170-pounder Cole Boatright.