West Virginia Duals scheduled for Saturday
Eight teams expected to compete inside PHS Memorial Fieldhouse
By JAY W. BENNETT
PARKERSBURG — In what is expected to be the final West Virginia Duals, eight teams will converge for a 10 a.m. start Saturday inside Parkersburg’s Memorial Fieldhouse.
Top-ranked and defending Class AAA state champion Parkersburg South along with the host and second-ranked Big Reds of PHS are expected to get the biggest challenge from Mountain View High School out of Virginia, which sports a 21-2 dual record.
Joining the Patriots in Pool B are Lewis County, Ritchie County and Riverside. Along with Mountain View and PHS, Pool A also features Herbert Hoover along with an all-stars squad.
“We had to cancel the Powerade and our home match Wednesday,” admitted PSHS second-year mat coach Shaun Smith because a few of the Patriots had a skin condition they picked up last month. “I think it was the credible thing to do. What we’re trying to do is prevent it form spreading in here (mat room) and prevent it from spreading it to anyone else.
“The guys who are in here right now, they are still plugging away and going hard. It’s just we have a lot of kids sick and a couple of injuries. We’re just trying to be cautious.”
Defending 195-pound state champion Justin Allman is expected to make his debut for the Patriots, but coach Smith was unsure if his squad would fill all 14 weight classes.
“I’m not sure yet. We may not know until Saturday morning,” said the coach. “It’s still very much up in the air. I mean, I’m hoping to. At least have a close to a full lineup. It’s been an interesting second season.
“It’s been frustrating. A lot of stuff we could help, but a lot of stuff we couldn’t and we’re trying to handle it the best way that we can. Just because some kids can’t wrestle doesn’t mean that the kids who can can’t improve.”
PHS mat boss Chris Way is also pumped to get back into the swing of things. In the first installment of the wvmat.com wrestling rankings, the red and white have top-ranked grapplers at 120 with John Martin Best and at 138 with Jared Donahue. Big Red Hunter Ackerman is ranked second at 113.
“It’s been a little time off and we’re pretty excited to get back on the mat,” Way noted. “We actually took a couple days off practice over the weekend and came back strong this week.
“We’ve had some good practices and we’re looking forward to getting back on the mat.”
Parkersburg South boasts top-rated grapplers at 106 with Tucker Windland, at 126 with Luke Martin, at 152 with Zane Hinzman, at 170 with T.J. Lambiotte, at 182 with Hunter DeLong and also at heavyweight with Louden Haga.
“To wrestle well,” replied Smith, whose squad also features second-ranked Brayden Roberts (120) and Mikey Shamblin (132), when asked about his expectations for Saturday.
“I know a lot of kids haven’t wrestled a match in a while. Obviously, the goal is always to win, but overall I think just to try and wrestle the best we can.”
Ritchie County boasts a pair of ranked Class AA/A grapplers in 113-pounder Connor Spaulding (fourth) and 170-pounder Josh Mason (seventh).
Earlier this week, both Hurricane and Wirt County pulled out of the W.Va. Duals. The Tigers of head man Danny Life opted to compete at this weekend’s Pat Vance Invitational in Nitro.