W. Va. state wrestling tournament resumes today

HUNTINGTON — Two-time defending Class AAA state champion Parkersburg South held the team lead following day one of the 70th West Virginia state wrestling tournament being held inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena while Wirt County had the team lead among single-A programs in the Class AA/A division.

Action started nearly an hour later than expected on Thursday as controversy erupted all day in the Mountain State about the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV1).

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission ultimately decided three weight classes would not be permitted to compete this weekend in the Class AAA division.

“Where to run a three weight class tournament? I’m trying to figure out,” lamented Bill Archer, the former Huntington High School coach and state tournament director.

As it stands, the Class AAA weight classes of 145, 152 and 170 are expected to compete sometime in the next two-plus weeks.

“I haven’t got any information,” Archer noted when asked about specifics.

He also was unable to confirm through the WVSSAC one way or the other whether or not the three separate classes, once completed, will count toward this weekend’s standings.

Affected wrestlers, all of whom came out of Region IV, include three each from Parkersburg South (Jarritt Flinn, 145; Zane Hinzman, 152; T.J. Lambiotte, 170) and Parkersburg (Stephen Carder, 145; Matt Fox, 152; Jalen King, 170) as well as Ripley 145-pounder Jacob Starkey and 170-pounder Chase Morgan, who like Carder was a regional champion.

“We’re in unprecedented territory,” admitted Big Red head coach Chris Way, whose team was in fifth place after day one and went 5-2 overall, which included a 37-second pin by 120-pounder John Martin Best against George Washington’s Isaiah Isabell. “We’ve never encountered a situation like this and really we were going through discussions and weighing it the best we could.

“It got kind of ugly with coaches debating with the SSAC and doctors and parents and going through all of the different scenarios for what was best for every kid in the state. Ultimately, moving it is going to allow every kid to wresle so I think it’s the most fair. It’s certainly not ideal.”

Parkersburg South went 9-1 with seven pins and leads second place University, 35-30.

Patriot senior 182-pounder Hunter DeLong had the quickest mat slapper for South thanks to his 17-second pin of Hedgesville’s Gage Abrecht.

Wirt County head coach Danny Life’s program, which is trying to win the first Class A title in state history since this is the first year a single-A champ and team runner-up will be recognized, had 14 points.

Action resumes at 11:30 a.m. today.