Regional wrestling starts today
South, PHS, Ripley meet on Saturday
PARKERSBURG — While two-time defending Class AAA state champion Parkersburg South will have to wait until Saturday to begin its journey toward a three-peat, wrestling regionals across the Mountain State get underway today.
Locally, the place to be for some early wrestling starting at 12:30 this afternoon is in Mt. Zion at Calhoun County where the Class AA/A, Region IV championships are taking place. Both the host Red Devils, Wirt County, Ravenswood and Williamstown are set to compete at the two-day event, which also resumes at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center, the Patriots of second-year head coach Shaun Smith will have the advantage of wrestling at home.
“If the kids wrestle well, I have no doubt that we will be able to qualify all 14,” stated coach Smith, who noted a few Patriots are still trying to fully recover from some sickness.
“As coach, I feel as though we have done our part in preparing them for these next two very important weeks. We cannot do it for them. It’s on them now.”
The Big Reds of head coach Chris Way have 13 entries in the regional and are currently ranked third in the state behind top-ranked South and No. 2 Ripley. Also in Saturday’s regional field are No. 5 Huntington, No. 9 Spring Valley, Cabell Midland and Hurricane.
“We’ve always been in a tough region,” Way admitted. “It might be a little bit tougher this year. We have so many ranked guys in there.
“To be the best, you still have to beat the best and we are going to see these guys at some point. It might work to our advantage in some instances because we know we’ll be split away from those guys at the state tournament, so it’s not all bad.”
Eight of Saturday’s 14 weight classes at the ROAC feature at least the top two ranked grapplers in the Mountain State according to wvmat.com.
In the 152-pound class, second-ranked, but top-seeded Zane Lanham of Huntington will be joined by third-seeded, but top-ranked Zane Hinzman of Parkersburg South. Cabell Midland’s Robbie Holley is seeded second and ranked third.
“I’m looking forward to the weekend,” added coach Smith. “I am hopeful that all of the work that the kids have put in this season will pay off these next two weekends. It could be a very interesting day on Saturday and I know it will not be easy.
“But anything of value is worth the hard work. I am positive that this will be displayed by our team in these final two weeks. I expect the kids to wrestle well. They have been improving each and every week.”
Seven weight classes in triple-A, Region IV feature the top two ranked grapplers in the state. In each instance, the coaches’ expected state champ is also the No. 1 seed.
The weight classes featuring the top two ranked wrestlers are at 120 (John Martin Best, PHS and Tristan Adkins, Huntington); at 132 (Kaleb Creamer, Spring Valley and Hunter Burdette, Ripley); at 138 (Jared Donahue, PHS and Will Jeffers, Huntington); at 170 (T.J. Lambiotte, South and Chase Morgan, Ripley); at 195 (Justin Allman, South and Anthony Jarvis, Ripley); at 220 (B.J. Haynes, Ripley and Owen Porter, Spring Valley) as well as at heavyweight with No. 1 Louden Haga (South) and No. 2 Chaston Holley of Cabell Midland.
“We have 11 guys that are seeded in the top four and we have two guys who are seeded fifth,” Way said. “It’s a long season and everyone is geared up for this week.
“It’s what you train for. It’s what the summer camps and summer conditioning are for. The whole goal is to get qualified for the state tournament. Once you are qualified for state, it’s like a new tournament.”
Also competing this weekend with hopes of making the top four in their respective weight classes to advance to Huntington next week are Magnolia, Ritchie County, St. Marys and Tyler Consolidated in the Class AA/A, Region I tournament in Fairmont as well as Roane County, Braxton County, Clay County and Doddridge County in the Region II championships at Bridgeport.
Region IV Wrestling Championships
106: #1 Garrett Donahue (PHS, 27-10, fr.)
113: #1 Ian Irizarry (South, 25-13, fr.)
120: #1 John Martin Best (PHS, 28-4, fr.)
126: #1 Luke Martin (South, 23-5, jr.)
132: #1 Kaleb Creamer (SV, 48-5, sr.)
138: #1 Jared Daonhue (PHS, 33-2, sr.)
145: #1 Stephen Carder (PHS, 23-7, jr.)
152: #1 Zane Lanham (Hunt, 28-6, so.)
160: #1 Drew Dunbar (South, 32-9, jr.)
170: #1 T.J. Lambiotte (South, 29-4, sr.)
182: #1 Hunter DeLong (South, 27-4, sr.)
195: #1 Justin Allman (South, 22-2, sr.)
220: #1 B.J. Haynes (Ripley, 35-3, jr.)
285: #1 Louden Haga (South, 29-7, so.)
Notes: No. 1 Parkersburg South, No. 2 Ripley, No. 3 Parkersburg, No. 5 Huntington, No. 9 Spring Valley, Cabell Midland and Hurricane will begin wrestling at 11 a.m. Saturday at Parkersburg South High School.