Indeed a small world

Much like three-time All-American heavyweight wrestler Louden Haga of Parkersburg South, who recently gave his verbal commitment to join Robert Dutton Award winner Josh Humphreys at Lehigh University, I also have been out on vacation until returning the middle of this past week.

While Haga was enjoying the sun for the last seven days with Ironman champ Braxton Amos in Florida, I had an interesting message left on my voicemail when I returned.

Come to find out it was Charles Elliott of Ritchie County — and no he’s not related to Rebel fireballer Chloe Elliott, who made first team Class A all-state as a freshman pitcher for head softball coach Dave Mossor.

However, the Patriot grappler just found out, as I did thanks to Mr. Elliott, that he’s related to a rider in this year’s Tour de France.

Chad Haga — who is lucky to be alive after being involved in a serious accident with members of his team back in 2016 while training in Spain after getting hit by a vehicle which crossed the center line — has ties to the area.

After talking with Mr. Elliott, I learned Chad Haga’s grandmother — Juanita (Sandy) — as well as his grandfather Paul were graduates of old Cairo High School, which closed down back in 1971. Of course, Harrisville and Pennsboro High Schools later became RCHS.

“We’re going to claim him as Ritchie County,” Elliott quipped. “Way back he was here as a young child. We are very proud of him.

“He has many cousins, including myself and others here in Ritchie and Wood County both.”

Going into today’s ninth stage of the Tour de France, Chad Haga is 74th overall and is the second American behind current third-place rider Tejay Van Garderen.

“The last time I seen him was about 12 years ago,” Elliott continued. “His grandmother was my mother’s sister. They lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I saw him at her funeral.”

The cyclist is a graduate of Texas A&M and earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He’s currently riding for Team Sunweb.

“I keep in contact with his aunt, who still lives in Stillwater,” added Elliott, who was excited to catch a television feature interview of his cousin last week. Chad Haga is also doing a blog for cyclingnews.com.

As for Louden Haga, the Patriot is going to enjoy his final year at PSHS and plans to end it with an individual state championship.

Although he’s finished as state runner-up three times, Haga has left it all on the mat and it will be interesting to see how things go.

“I kind of wanted to get it out of the way so I will be more at ease this season,” stated Louden Haga. “I’ve been up there. I was up there for a camp and my uncle went there for a year so I’ve visited a couple times.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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