Patriots cruising at Class AAA state wrestling tourney

St. Marys’ Houser, Wirt’s Moore go for single-A titles today

St. Marys freshman 106-pounder Wiley Houser looks into the crowd with smiles late Friday night inside Big Sandy Superstore Arena following his semifinal win. The Blue Devil trailed 6-4 entering the third, but secured a spot into tonight's championship match after pinning Independence's John Sanders with 19 seconds left in the match. Photo by Jay W. Bennett

HUNTINGTON — Parkersburg South has clinched its state record 22nd championship, which will become official late Saturday night inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

On Friday evening, the Patriots won all nine of their semifinal matches and are on pace to break their state record team total of 277 points set back in 2005. PSHS has 240 points after two days of wrestling and was followed by Huntington (116) and Parkersburg (104.5).

Only three Class AAA weight classes will not feature a grappler from Wood County. In fact, the Patriots and rival Parkersburg will clash in a pair of head-to-head showdowns. The first will come at 132 pounds with freshman Patriot Gavin Quiocho taking on Bo Moler. At 138, South senior Luke Martin squares off against Big Red John Martin Best. Quiocho needed just 29 seconds to pin Elijah Bailey of St. Albans. Moler never trailed in a 7-3 semifinal win vesus Brise Bennett of University. At 138, Best took the lead for good at 4-2 with eight seconds left in the middle period on a takedown en route to a 7-2 win. Martin, who is going after his third career state title, registered an 11-3 major decision agianst St. Albans’ Noah Bailey.

In the Class A team race, Madonna (53.5), Wirt County (46.5) and Greenbrier West (44) occupy the top three spots. However, St. Marys is in fourth with 34 points and the Blue Devils of head coach Jay D. Smith will have a finalist tonight. That’s because 106-pound freshman Wiley Houser was able to overcome a 6-4 deficit after two periods against John Sanders of Independence and pull off a mat slapper, albeit he was up 9-6 at the time, with 19 seconds left in his match.

“Oh, Lord, I can’t take too many more of these,” said a pumped up coach Smith right after the match.

Parkersburg South 182-pound senior Drew Dunbar needed a 3-1 overtime decision to reach Friday night's state semifinals and the Patriot didn't disappoint after sticking Spring Valley's Chase Stevens in 1:42 to advance to tonight's final. Photos by Jay W. Bennett

Wirt County, which is the defending single-A champ, will be represented in tonight’s finals by 170-pounder Hunter Moore. The senior Moore controlled Keyser’s Shayden Daughtery throughout and won 9-2. He now will face Nitro’s Vinny Devaney.

Parkersburg South head coach Shaun Smith was more than stoked to go 9-0 on semifinal Friday night and noted of senior 182-pounder Drew Dunbar’s run to the finals “I thought he could get there. He’s got a good chance to win.”

Dunbar needed overtime to secure a 3-1 quarterfinal win versus then 54-1 Blake Miller of Preston. The Patriot then stuck Chase Stevens of Spring Valley in 1:42 to reach the finals.

South’s first semifinal victory came via fall from Tucker Windland, who stopped Wheeling Park’s Maison Richardson in 3:36 and now has University’s Jake Staud. Brayden Roberts took the lead for good in his 126-pound semi against University’s Jacob Simpson thanks to a takedown with five seconds left in the first period.

Roberts, who will face Musselman’s Joey Miller – an opponent he hasn’t wrestled since peewee – led 5-0 after two and rolled to an 8-0 major decision.

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Wirt County senior Hunter Moore bested Keyser senior Shayden Daughtery 9-2 in the 170-pound Class AA/A state semifinals.

PHS first-year head coach Matt Littleton’s squad, which went 4-1 in the semifinals, got their first win from 106-pounder Garret Donahue, who won 6-1 versus University’s Jace Stockett and now has St. Albans’ Thomas Hartley.

Big Red 145-pounder Stephen Carder managed to get a mat slapper on Ripley’s Hunter Burdette just 12 ticks into the second period. The only thing standing between Carder and his first title is Wheeling Park’s Andrew Shelek.

Josh Humphreys, South’s 152-pounder who is eyeing a fourth straight title, needed only 81 seconds to flatten Spring Valley’s Tyson Hall. He’ll look to conclude a stellar career with a win against University’s Owen Zeiders.

PSHS also had three other semi triumphs thanks to Zane Hinzman at 160, Braxton Amos at 220 and Louden Haga at 285. Hinzman won his 100th career match thanks to a 4-3 win against Greenbrier East’s Jacob Hefner, who was awarded a stall point late. Hinzman now faces Anthony Carman of John Marshall.

The Ironman champ Amos finally got a pin of Wheeling Park’s Dylan Wood, who lasted 3:56. Amos, now 47-0, gets Ripley’s BJ Haynes in the title match. Haynes advanced by securing a 3-1 decision versus Ben Gribble of University.

Haga, a juinor, reached his third straight heavyweight finals after dispatching Riverside’s Austin Chapman, 4-1. The Patriot went ahead in the third on a stall point and added a late takedown. Standing in his way of a title is undefeated Owen Porter (23-0) of Spring Valley.

Big Red 195-pounder CJ Wade couldn’t get any offense going in his 5-0 semifinal loss to Spring Valley’s Cody Stanley. Ripley 170-pounder Jacob Starkey also fell 9-3 to Washington’s Cameron Pine in a 170-pound semifinal.

PSHS also will place Devin Easton (106), Brayden Johnson (113) and Zach Collins (145). Of note, the Patriot Martin had five takedowns in his semifinal triumph. The senior now has 171 career takedowns, surpassing the previous record of 167 held by Nathan Pickens (2001).

The only other two Class AA/A area grapplers to make the semifinals were Roane County’s Jake Whiting at 145 and Ritchie County 182-pounder Josh Mason, who lost 9-1 to Nitro’s Paul Frampton. The Raider Whiting kept it close for a while but lost via a 16-1 technical fall.

Also placing in the top six for Class AA/A from the Mid-Ohio Valley will be St. Marys’ Antone Herring at 220, Ritchie County 120-pounder Connor Spaulding, Williamstown 132-pounder Mason Deem, Roane County 152-pounder Adam Reichard, Wirt County 106-pounder Logan Powell and Braxton County teammates Jacob Whitney (160) and Jordan Williams (170).

Consolation rounds continue at 10:30 a.m. today while the state finals will get underway at 6 p.m. with the first match slated to be 126.