West Virginia prep wrestlers ready to put a wrap on state tournament

Three weight classes compete March 13-14 at Fairmont Armory

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South junior Luke Martin, right, won his second career Class AAA individual state championship Saturday night via a 15-5 decision against Riverside’s Steven Slack in the 126-pound finals.

HUNTINGTON — The Sunday after the 70th West Virginia state wrestling tournament was like no other since three triple-A weight classes still have to compete next month in Fairmont.

Of course, none of that changes the fact Parkersburg South “earned” its 21st overall state mat crown, which ties rival Parkersburg for the most in Mountain State history.

The runner-up trophy in Class AAA is down to Parkersburg and University and every program which had wrestlers in the 145, 152 and 170 weight classes will need to gear back up and recharge.

“I don’t know. I haven’t even really got that far yet,” PHS head man Chris Way said when asked about practice this coming week. “We are allowed to practice all the way up to the (second) state tournament (March 13-14).

“They never did tell us who was allowed to practice, the whole team or just the individuals, but we are going to start practicing and kind of proceed as we normally would with the tournament two weeks out. It’s hard to wrap your mind around it.”

While PSHS head coach Shaun Smith’s team also will begin doing the same, four-time Patriot state champ Justin Allman was just glad to finally cap off his career in style.

“It means everything,” Allman said of winning it again while noting he wasn’t sure about ever getting back in the matroom. “I’m kind of glad it’s in the bag. It’s a pretty big thing to accomplish.”

Two-time Parkersburg South state champ Luke Martin said he’s never experienced anything like what transpired last week inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

“Everything that’s going on is crazy. It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Those are my brothers,” said the junior of not having Jarritt Flinn (145), Zane Hinzman (152) and T.J. Lambiotte (170) wrestling.

“We thought Jarritt was going to wrestle and then we got here and he’s not wrestling and then he is and then he’s not and now he is in Fairmont in a couple of weeks.”

Patriot sophomore Mikey Shamblin, who won the 132-pound state crown Saturday night, added “I knew we could’ve had three other state finalists and it’s kind of different for them not to be here.”

Coach Way also pondered how student-athletes will handle this unprecedented incident.

“For some of these kids it might be hard to find motivation after the season doing that for another two weeks knowing that every point they score and every bonus point they score could matter in the team race,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard to find that motivation. It’s not that they don’t want to do it, it’s just they’ve had their minds geared toward peaking at the state tournament and geared toward winning that championship in Huntington and it alters their mind going forward. It’s just different.”

Be that as it may, Parkersburg South senior Hunter DeLong is just rolling with the punches even though he’s about to start baseball season.

“We thought we were going to come down here and put a bunch of kids in the finals and have everyone together, but the ruling with the skin issues and stuff, we can’t help that,” stated DeLong, who capped his final year as a Patriot with a 195-pound state crown.

“But, I know there are going to be a bunch of guys that can’t wrestle right now that are going to be in the finals, so we’ll see them in two weeks. We’re all going to go up (to Fairmont) and watch them win.”