Wirt County’s Hunter Moore got his

Wirt County captured the first Class A state wrestling championship last winter.

This past weekend, the Tigers finished as the state runner-up to Madonna, but head coach Danny Life watched 170-pound senior Hunter Moore capture a thrilling 3-2 triple-overtime decision against Nitro’s Vinny Devaney, which gave the orange and black mat boss his first state champion.

Moore, who finished 35-5 at 145 as a junior and placed third, tried to make a run to last year’s state championship, but got derailed in the semifinals by Berkeley Springs’ Davy Mundey. Mundey, this year’s 152-pound champ, nipped Moore in overtime, 4-2.

A long season was finally capped off by Moore, who went 36-5 this winter, with something every wrestler hopes to get at least once — a state title.

“It feels extremely good,” admitted Moore. “Everybody has been congratulating me.”

Of course, after losing in the state semifinals a year ago, Moore’s routine was quite different this past Saturday as he wasn’t going to have to wrestle early in the morning, but rather wait all day and most of the evening before he got on the mat for one final time as a Tiger.

“It felt good that I got to go back to my room and not have to wrestle all those matches (Saturday morning). It was pretty nice, honestly, to just go back and sleep and get ready for the finals,” he added.

Although Moore had to get up early and go to Big Sandy for weigh-ins, he then was able to go back to his hotel room, get some more rest and focus on the Wildcats’ Devaney.

“I had a bunch of people who talked to me,” Moore said of trying to prepare for his state finals match. “I had beat him three times so I had a little confidence going into it. My coach just said you know how hard you have worked throughout the season.”

After a pair of overtimes, Moore had the choice of how he wanted to spend the final 30 seconds of his prep career — choosing down or up and either having to escape in 30 seconds or hold down Devany for the same amount of time. Moore chose down and the rest is history as he became the Tigers’ 29th all-time state champ.

“I wasn’t really thinking. I just knew I had to get out for the win,” Moore replied when asked if anything in particular was going through his head. “I kind of knew he was going to throw a leg in.

“He tried to throw a leg in and I kind of caught it. I just got up from there. I don’t remember a whole lot of it. I gave it my all to get out of it. I was pretty gassed.”

Moore was pleased to kind of match his twin sister Haley, a two-time first-team all-state volleyball player who won a pair of state titles.

“I’d been pretty distraught if I hadn’t won it my senior year,” said the expected future Ohio Valley University wrestler.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com.