Braxton packin’: South wrestling standout ready for his next journey

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg South’s Braxton Amos, pictured here getting back points against Ripley’s BJ Haynes in the Class AAA 220-pound state finals at Huntington’s Big Sandy Superstore Arena, plans to stay busy on the mat in the coming months.

PARKERSBURG — Sophomore Braxton Amos has been a state wrestling champion for basically a week, but the Parkersburg South 220-pounder already has his sights set on what lies ahead for the warmer months of 2018.

As impressive as his 48-0 campaign was, which included Ironman and Powerade championships while not allowing a single takedown, reversal or near-fall point to an opponent, he was just as excited to be part of the Patriots’ fourth straight Class AAA title as anything he personally accomplished on the mat.

“It was a lot of fun,” Amos said of finishing his first healthy varsity season with a title after pinning Ripley’s BJ Haynes in the state finals. “But it was a lot more fun competing as a team. Ironman and Powerade, we didn’t have a full team.

“We still competed well and placed pretty high against some of the best teams in America. To compete with the South guys and breaking the record that coach (Shaun) Smith helped set, it was definitely something to remember.”

Of course, this year’s South squad finished the state meet with 288 points, which broke the previous record of 277 held by the Patriots since 2005 when Smith was a senior.

“It was a blast,” Amos added of being part of the championship team. “It’s something I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to see what we can do next year with a lot of our guys coming back and the new group of guys coming up from Edison and Blennerhassett.”

Wrestling for the love of the sport and not individual accolades is just the way Amos goes about his business.

A top candidate along with 152-pound four-time state champion Patriot teammate Josh Humpheys for the Robert Dutton Award, which will be announced next Sunday, Amos admitted the following about his first-year teammate.

“Josh and I would roll around every once in a while. It was honestly kind of pretty even,” stated Amos, who has the obvious weight advantage. “It was a self check for me as far as keeping a level head.”

While Amos checked in on the scales at 218 pounds for his final prep match, he’s been working hard since the state tournament to prepare for the Northeast Regional Championships on April 20-22 in East Stroudsburg, Pa., where he will try to qualify in Greco-Roman and Freestyle for the Cadet Pan American Championships, which are set for May 25-27 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Amos will be wrestling at the 92 kg weight, which is 202.8 pounds. Patriot teammates Louden Haga and Brayden Roberts are also expected to compete there and the following weekend on June 1-3 in Akron at the UWW Cadet World Team Qualifier. Qualifiers from there make the world team, which competes the week of July 4 in Croatia.

“If I make the world team, no,” Amos said when asked if he would be heading out to Fargo for the nationals. “The way it’s set up is if I make the world team, I fly out in late June to Croatia and competition starts July 2-3 through the 8th.

“Then we’d fly back, which I would literally fly back, come home, get everything washed and get on a bus to Fargo. I don’t really want to put my body through that if I don’t have to.”

Through it all, Amos said he’s fairly content with how his first full year of varsity wrestling ended up.

“With this being the first year I’ve had a truly grind of a schedule, I’m kind of happy with the results that I displayed,” he said.

As far as what weight class he might end up at for his junior campaign?

“I’m going to have to wait until this summer to figure that out,” Amos added. “I’ve definitely already starting talking to my dad and my coaches where they would want me to be at and I’m waiting to see where a couple people might go to maybe chase them and get them the matches they said they wanted to have. It should be a pretty interesting fall and winter next year.”