Zide Rumble, MSAC slated for today

Wrestling matches at Williamstown, Parkersburg High

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Parkersburg High School senior Hunter Ackerman, pictured here controlling Parkersburg South’s Jude Childers at the annual city dual, has the top seed at 132 and will be vying for his first Mountain State Athletic Conference championship. Action begins at 10 a.m. today inside Memorial Fieldhouse as the Big Reds seek a MSAC three-peat.

PARKERSBURG — Area wrestling fans will have two options today if they wish to take in some mat action in Wood County.

The annual Williamstown Bob Zide Rumble as well as Parkersburg’s Memorial Fieldhouse being the host site for the Mountain State Athletic Conference championships are the options with both events getting underway at 10 a.m.

PHS head coach Matt Littleton’s squad is seeking a three-peat at the MSAC after narrowly besting Huntington last winter, 160.5 to 159.5.

“Honestly, I think we can win it. We’re the favorite to win along with Huntington looking to chase us. I think Cabell Midland can try and sneak in there,” admitted the coach, who has top seeds in Garret Donahue (120), Hunter Ackerman (132), Bo Moler (138), John Martin Best (152) and Chace Mathess (160) as well as No. 2 seeds with Kage Mathess (113) and 195-pounder CJ Wade.

“I think we are going to have eight or nine wrestlers. I’m not sure about our 182-pounder. We got kids who have been banged up and the flu hit us hard, but by regionals we should have nine,” noted Williamstown head coach Ryan Scott, whose team will be competing against Bridgeport, Weir, Cameron, Robert C. Byrd, East Fairmont, Marietta and Belpre.

“Shadyside ended up pulling out. We are going to try and maximize it (the tournament). It’s just one of those things we keep treading water and in a couple years we are going to be back to normal when they move the state tournament back.”

With teams going to the A Challenge in Ritchie County, it’s hurt the Rumble’s attendance the past three years and Scott noted they could end up doing what St. Marys did for its alumni tournament earlier this month. Some of the weight classes will be bracketed while the smallest will go with a round-robin format.

Leading the charge for the Yellowjackets is fifth-ranked 145-pounder Casch Somerville. WHS also has state-ranked grapplers in 106-pounder Brandon Burrell (9th), 126-pounder Colton Slagle (10th) and 138-pounder Mason Deem (8th).

“Casch has been wrestling well,” noted coach Scott. “If we can keep him wrestling the way we want to he’s tough to beat. Mason has been sick since Christmas. He’s finally getting healthy again and I expect him to come on strong.

“Now, Brandon is not the smallest 106-pounder. Last year he weighed about 95 pounds and he was tiny. He’s still not the biggest 106-pounder out there, but he’s got some size on him and he can compete now. Colton was banged up and we didn’t wrestle him at Winner’s Choice, but he’s been looking pretty good in practice.”

A trio of grapplers, which includes the Big Reds’ Best, will be vying for their third career MSAC crown. Best was the 138-pound champ last winter and took the 120-pound title in 2017.

St. Albans’ Brandon Holt, the top seed at 126, captured 106 two years ago and won at 113 last winter. Also, Huntington’s Zane Lanham — top seeded at 182 — is the defending weight class champ and won the 152-pound crown two years ago.

One of the marquee expected finals matches at the MSAC should come at 120 with Donahue and No. 2 seed Thomas Hartley of St. Albans looking to clash. In last year’s Class AAA 106-pound state finals, the Red Dragon upended Donahue, 5-2.

“G is coming off a big win against South over (Brayden) Johnson and he’s going to turn around and probably have Hartley, so really no breaks for him,” Littleton said of Donahue.

“We saw them (Spring Valley 195-pound top seed Chase Stevens) at a dual and it was a pretty tight close match. CJ is looking for revenge there and some of our young guys are looking to avenge some of their losses they had earlier in the year as well.”

Aside from Lanham, the Highlanders of head coach Rob Archer also sport No. 1 seeds with Jaishawn Lyles (106), London Bowen (113) and 170-pounder Clayton Stewart along with No. 2 seeds Alex Viars (126), Gabe Dempsey (145) and A.J. Dempsey (152).

Also expected to have top of the podium finishes are Riverside teammates Izak Petry at 145 and heavyweight Austin Chapman as well as Woodrow Wilson 195-pounder Ryan Williams.

Fans planning to attend the Rumble should keep in mind the Williamstown American Legion will have the $5 pancake and sausage breakfast from 8-10 a.m. in the school cafeteria.