Parkersburg South’s Luke Martin enjoyed the ride

Patriot senior won third state title

The Patriots’ Zane Hinzman (on top) grapples John Marshall’s Anthony Carman in the state finals of the 160-pound weight class. Hinzman took a 3-1 decision.

HUNTINGTON — When Parkersburg South senior Luke Martin walked off the mat Saturday night at the 71st West Virginia state wrestling tournament with his third career crown, Patriot mat boss Shaun Smith told him “that was the best match I’ve seen you wrestle in a long time.”

The 138-pound Martin went from holding a narrow 2-1 lead against Parkersburg’s John Martin Best to a commanding 7-1 advantage after hitting a five-point move in the second period.

“Since he beat me at PHS, since that day, all of my coaches have been on me about certain stuff,” Martin admitted. “My sophomore year in the state finals I wrestled a kid from GW (George Washington’s Phillip Sharp) and I did the same thing with the first takedown, but I didn’t get back points.

“I do it a lot. It’s like a desperation type thing. Like, he shot and I grabbed my shin through like his arms and I just reached over his leg and grabbed his wrist and pulled it through and started getting back points.

“As soon as I did it, I just knew there was no way he was going to come back from that. That blew it wide open.”

Parkersburg South’s Brayden Roberts (on bottom) battles against Musselman’s Joey Miller in the finals of the 126-point weight class. Roberts won the match, 4-2.

Like Martin, Patriot 126-pound teammate Brayden Roberts had to wait until his 10th-grade campaign to win his first state title.

Roberts was pitted against Musselman’s Joey Miller, who finally cut the Patriot with 35 seconds remaining to give the PSHS grappler a 4-2 lead.

However, Miller managed to get a shot on Roberts’ right leg as the third period came to a close, but he couldn’t quite get control for an overtime-forcing takedown.

“We worked all week on shot defense and I kind of knew it was coming and I knew what to do in that situation,” Roberts said.

“All my teammates and my coaches, everybody helped me get ready for those kind of shots. I got to expect the unexpected and be ready for anything.”

Martin had quite the run inside Big Sandy’s Superstore Arena with his only loss coming via a pin against now Patriot teammate and four-time state champ Josh Humphreys in the 2015 semifinals.

“They told me Josh was moving up here and I was like ‘all right, cool, I get to wrestle with him’ and then he comes into the room and he just makes everybody better all around us. He makes all of us better all the time,” Martin explained.

“I love it (being a Patriot). There is no place I would have rather went to high school. I love these guys. They are like my brothers.”

First-time PSHS state champ Zane Hinzman, who carried a 3-0 lead into the final period before emerging with a 3-1 160-pound title versus John Marshall’s Anthony Carman,” knows all about Humphreys.

“I had the best wrestling partner in Josh Humphreys,” Hinzman said. “He’s the best kid in the state and probably the best kid in the country in my opinion. He should’ve beat David Carr (of Massillon Perry) at Ironman, but I’m not the ref so I can’t call the calls. But he should’ve won Ironman.”

The junior Hinzman was quick to point out following his crown “I’m just blessed. I want to thank all my coaches for helping me to get to the point where I’m at.

“My dad, my brother and all my coaches coming up, just travelling all the time with me, going to places to wrestle great talent so I’m ready for these moments.”

A runner-up finish last year at 152 for Hinzman gave him plenty of motivation this season and he’s hoping for another title run next winter.

“My freshman year I came down here and I was supposed to place,” he said. “It was kind of heart-breaking. I worked so hard last year in the offseason to get back to where I was in middle school.

“I was a really good wrestler in middle school. I wanted to get back into the finals and win it. I didn’t get to wrestle here (Big Sandy) because of the whole herpes outbreak was ridiculous last year.”

While Hinzman’s and Roberts’ time on the mat for the Patriots of head coach Shaun Smith isn’t over, Martin gave a reminder about cherishing every moment, no matter how things turn out.

“It goes by fast. That’s for sure,” admited Martin. “I remember being here my freshman year and I remember thinking this is never going to end.

“It’s going to take forever. Now that it is over and I’ve wrestled my last match in a South singlet it’s bittersweet.”