PHS second, South third at state mat
HUNTINGTON – For the second consecutive year, the Parkersburg Big Reds finished as the Class AAA state runner-up behind host Huntington, which easily defended its crown with a 188-151 victory following Saturday’s final session of the 67th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament.
The Big Reds had four finalists, but only 152-pound junior Trapper Hays – the Class AAA Most Outstanding Wrestler – won a crown. Hays finished his 49-0 season with a pin of two-time state champion Jake Martin of Ripley in 4:59.
Martin actually led 2-0, but Hays countered with a reversal at the end of the first period and took control in the second with three near-fall points and a penalty point. Hays’ reversal in the third, which made it 8-2, led to the mat-slapper.
“This is the ultimate feeling,” said Hays, who twice has been a state runner-up including at 120 as a freshman when he lost to Martin.
“The worst feeling in the world is when I lost those state titles my freshman and sophomore year and that was motivation to win this. I succeeded, came out here and got the job done.”
Dalton George of Williamstown became a three-time state champion when the Class AA/A Most Outstanding Wrestler managed to win an overtime rideout against Greenbrier West 132-pounder Dustin Yoakum, 5-4. Yellowjacket teammate David Hastings never trailed in his 195-pound state-title win against Jeremy Pratt of St. Marys. Hastings won the match 7-2 and Pratt had to stop for blood time on several instances.
Parkersburg South freshman Justin Allman pulled off a finals shocker when he stuck Washington’s Zane Bradbury in 4:43. Bradbury got the first takedown of the match and appeared to be in control after registering five near-fall points for a 7-1 cushion after the opening period.
“It means a lot because I’m only a freshman and I’ve got three years to go,” said Allman, who fought back and trailed 8-4 entering the third.
“I was in a little bit better shape and that helped out a lot. Once I had him down (in the third) he was out of breath.”
Ripley sophomore Lucas Simpkins had an interesting championship win, beating Huntington’s Johnathan Spence 6-5 in overtime at 126.
“I tried to take him down (in overtime) and I was on my way when he grabbed my singlet,” Simpkins said of the winning penalty point in the one-minute sudden death.
“It was just a great feeling when I won. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. Losing last year (in the 126 finals) motivated me to work harder than I really ever have.”
Big Red Jared Donahue lost a 9-1 major decision to Huntington’s Logan Grass and PHS’ Austin Spears was doubled up 4-2 by Buckhannon-Upshur’s Brandon Tenney in the 113 finals.
Dylan Richards of Parkersburg got behind 5-0 and fought back in the 145-pound finals, but came up short to Wheeling Park’s Dylan Taylor, 6-4.
Huntington head coach Rob Archer was selected for the Rod Oldham Coaching Award. Parkersburg South finished third in the team standings with 132 points, ahead of Wheeling Park (110) and Point Pleasant (107).
Also in Class AA/A, Independence rolled to the team crown with 181 points. Oak Glen nipped Greenbrier West for runner-up honors, 118.5-118.
Clay County senior Jack Cummings ended his prep career with a bang as the Panther senior capped his 43-3 campaign with a 55-second pin of Calhoun County’s Allen Metheney in the 106-pound finals.
“I got the single leg, locked it into a cradle and held it as long as I could,” said Cummings, who lost to the freshman Metheney (47-5) via pin in the Region IV finals.
“All that hard work, the blood and sweat paid off. It feels great. It was my last chance to do great things for Clay County and I want to thank coach (Geoff) Hamrick for getting me this far.”
Fellow Panther senior teammate Tyler Stewart led 3-0 midway through his match against Nicholas County’s Jake Tyler, who used reversals at the end of the second and start of the third period to take a 4-3 cushion.
However, Stewart finished his year at 10-0 with the 182-pound title, thanks to a 7-6 triumph.
Williamstown and Clay County were the only Little Kanawha Conference members to claim two state championships.
Roane County junior heavyweight Caije Nichols was in the final match of the night, but let Fairmont Senior’s Brent Barber out of his grasp with seven seconds remaining in the final overtime rideout period.
However, Raider sophomore Cam Moore finished a stellar 43-3 season with a 2-1 win against Logan Robertson of Greenbrier West. Moore’s takedown with 11 seconds remaining in the first period proved decisive.
Ritchie County’s Jacob Monn was looking for his second career title, but Ryan Elliott of North Marion repeated as the 120-pound state champion following his 10-1 win.
Independence’s Cliff Warden was honored with the Class AA/A Dix Manning Coaching Award.
PHS also had a third-place effort from 195-pounder Max Chefren. Codie Barrows (170) and Nick Johnson (132) finished fifth while Joey Butcher (120) and Raymond Davila (126) took sixth.
Aside from Allman’s finals appearance, the other Patriot placers included heavyweight Thomas Hall (third), fourth places from Tyler Newhart (195) and Hunter Cline (106) and a trio of fifth-place showings by Austin Harris at 126, Dylan Alexander at 152 and 220-pounder Logan Dilliner.
Ripley’s Preston Martin fought back to finish third at 160. The two-time state runner-up is a four-time career state placer.
Small school placers included Calhoun County’s Houstin McCune (3rd, 120), Cole Ritchie (3rd, 145), Cole Boatright (5th, 170) and Chris Goad (6th, 126); Williamstown’s Jake Tracewell (5th, 152) and Austin Raines (6th, 145); Roane County’s Jacob Spencer (3rd, 106) and Luke Scott (6th, 160); Clay County’s Brandon White (3rd, 195) and Wyatt Dawson (3rd, 220); St. Marys’ Tyler Davis (5th, 285); Magnolia’s Caleb Nice (4th, 182); Wahama’s Randale Robie (3rd, 132), Kane Roush (3rd, 170) and Jacob Bennett (5th, 126); Wirt County’s Dylan Pickrell (4th, 220) and Cody Ferguson (6th, 138); Braxton County’s Levi Jarvis (5th, 160) and Bryson Dennison (6th, 170) as well as Doddridge County’s Hunter Riffle, who finished fourth at 106.