Wrestlers headed to nationals

Every summer when the calendar hits the middle of July, that means one thing for wrestling fans — the Fargo Nationals.

Seven area grapplers are leaving today to make the trek to the Fargodome to compete in the U.S. Marine Corps Junior and Cadet Nationals and that includes Parkersburg South sophomore-to-be Braxton Amos.

During this past wrestling season, it truly was a little bit disappointing to not have the opportunity to watch Amos in action.

He missed his freshman campaign for Patriot head coach Shaun Smith due to an ACL tear he suffered in mid-September. However, Amos made it through surgery and his rehab and was cleared in mid-May to get back on the mats.

Although the Patriots obviously didn’t need Amos to win a third consecutive Class AAA state title, the heavy favorite for a four-peat got a whole lot stronger with the addition of three-time state champion Josh Humphreys, who won his first title at Huntington and his last two at St. Albans.

“It was rough. There were times it was really tough. At the end of the day, I knew I was going to be back and I knew I had to keep my mind set on Fargo,” admitted the All-American Amos, who won the 195-pound freestyle and Greco-Roman Cadet crowns last year in North Dakota.

“Josh and I have known each other for a while through West Virginia wrestling. I’m excited for him coming to South. My first season on the team and his last high school season.”

Humphreys isn’t making the trek to Fargo, but Parkersburg High School All-American John Martin Best is. Best, who won a state title as a freshman for Big Red boss Chris Way at 120 pounds, earned his All-American status by finishing seventh this spring at 126 during the National High School Coaches Association Freshman Nationals.

“They’ve put a lot of hours in and they are ready to go,” Way said of Best, current Big Red Garrett Donahue (106) and now ex-Big Red Jared Donahue (138). “They have goals of going out there and winning matches and trying to become an All-American. They are going to go out there and measure themselves against some of the best in the country.”

Parkersburg South also will have 120-pounder Brayden Roberts competing in the Cadet division, but Jared Donahue is in the Junior division.

Patriot heavyweight Louden Haga, who will be a junior and is a two-time state runner-up and also an All-American, is competing as a Cadet and will be on Team Ohio. South’s Samantha Miller, who also is competing for Team Ohio, will wrestle at 94 pounds in the women’s Cadet division.

“I’m looking forward to Jared doing pretty good,” Way added of the Wheeling Jesuit recruit. “I’ve seen a big jump in his maturity.

“He’s already seeing himself as a college athlete. He’s been a leader in the practice room and he’s definitely elevated his wrestling since February.”

Freestyle competition begins on Saturday and the Greco-Roman portion gets underway early next week.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com.