South’s Amos wins two titles

Four locals receive All-American honors

From left, Parkersburg South’s Louden Haga, Braxton Amos, Brayden Roberts and Parkersburg High’s John Martin Best pose for a picture after earning All-American honors at the U.S. Marine Corps Cadet Nationals. Photo courtesy Anika Amos.

FARGO, N.D. — Parkersburg South’s Braxton Amos put himself in some elite company here Friday following the completion of the Greco Roman U.S. Marine Corps Cadet Nationals held inside the Fargodome.

The Patriot sophomore-to-be, who won national titles at 195 pounds last summer in both freestyle and Greco Roman, earned two more championships and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler. After capturing the 220-pound crown in freestyle, Amos won in Greco Roman at 220 and collected his fourth national championship.

“Mental-wise, I know the kid across from me didn’t pay the price that I did to get to where I was,” Amos said. “He didn’t go through the heart break of tearing an ACL.

“Before today there were 14 guys who got four Cadet championships and I’m number 15. That’s pretty nice, but the fun part about it was I got to wrestle. I missed Ironman and I missed everything except for Fargo. It’s nice in a way I guess to end or begin, depending on how you look at it, my year.”

PSHS teammate Louden Haga, who finished runner-up in freestyle and fifth in Greco Roman, also earned double All-American status at heavyweight.

“It would’ve been nice to win, but I had a pretty good week,” said the two-time Class AAA state runner-up. “Greco is a lot more brutal than freestyle. Greco is basically a fight with a few rules.”

Although he wasn’t making excuses, Haga said he was hindered somewhat by a tweaked knee he suffered during the Cadet Duals in York, Pa.

“It happened about a month ago,” added Haga, who said of the difference between wrestling for a state title in Huntington and competing in North Dakota “Fargo just seems a lot bigger because it’s a national tournament and college coaches are watching.

“(Last year) it kind of showed me what was going on and how much better I needed to get after going 0-2 in freestyle and 1-2 in Greco. I’m not completely content with how it ended up, but I’m glad I got All-American and it was a good experience.”

Parkersburg Big Red John Martin Best concluded his Greco Roman tournament by finishing fourth at 132.

“This is my first time,” said Best, who had to finish in the top eight to earn All-American honors. “Actually, on my free time at freestyle practice I do mess around with Greco and I do enjoy it. It’s between the mindset and the body, really. The way I looked at it, I’m here for fun. I need to go out and I need to do my best. The competition out here is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“It’s all seriousness out here. Not a bad week. Mostly, I enjoyed being part of team West Virginia and everything, but I want to redo it all again just to get that feeling. Now, I have to come back home. Overall, out here it was a great feeling. After taking this (All-American) I’m going to work harder.”

Parkersburg South’s Brayden Roberts, who was upended by Best in the 120-pound Class AAA state finals in Huntington, also left Fargo as an All-American after placing fourth at 120 in Greco Roman on Friday.

“I had never been to Fargo and this was my first year. Last year I wasn’t old enough to go,” Roberts explained. “I was a first-year Cadet and I was able to go this year. After freestyle, it was just making weight and getting ready and preparing for Greco because that’s really what I liked.

“After freestyle, I was bummed out. I had a better record than most of the kids in my bracket, but I wish I could’ve gotten another placement.”

Roberts said of the adjustment from freestyle to Greco, “It’s not really too difficult, but sometimes you get in trouble because you touch a leg in Greco where you are used to wrestling freestyle. It was a great experience. It was awesome.

“I’m super happy that I came and got to hang out with a couple new people from across the state and got to meet a bunch of new people from different states. It got hard for a while cutting weight for it, but it was definitely worth it.”

Amos is also pumped to know he’ll have the chance to qualify for the Cadet World Team next year, which was an opportunity he lost with his knee injury.

“It’s a blast,” Amos said of being back in the Fargodome. “It’s unreal, but it’s been almost a year since I’ve been on the mat. It’s great to be back.

“I’m excited (for the high school season). We will have a really good team this year and our schedule is one of the toughest out there that’s not a private school. It should be pretty fun.”