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Parkersburg renames street in honor of world champion wrestler Amos

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, left, speaks to Parkersburg South graduate and Junior World Championship gold medalist wrestler Braxton Amos on Tuesday at a gathering celebrating the renaming of a portion of Beverly Street as Braxton Amos Drive in front of South Parkersburg Baptist Church. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — After earning gold and bronze medals wrestling at the Junior World Championships in Russia, Parkersburg South High School graduate Braxton Amos returned to his hometown and received … a blue street sign.

The latest honor for the freshman University of Wisconsin wrestler — who never had a point scored on him in high school competition — is having a section of Beverly Street renamed in his honor near his alma mater.

“It’s awesome to be able to come home,” Amos said Tuesday after Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce presented him with a sign reading “Braxton Amos Drive.”

The informal ceremony took place in the parking lot of South Parkersburg Baptist Church, just off Blizzard Drive on the newly renamed street.

Amos hadn’t been back in town since May and is soon headed north to begin his academic and athletic career for the Badgers.

Parkersburg South graduate and Junior World Championship gold medalist wrestler Braxton Amos, right, laughs while holding a sign bearing the new name of a section of Beverly Street as Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce speaks Tuesday in the parking lot of South Parkersburg Baptist Church. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

In between, he took on other world-class wrestlers in Ufa, Russia, becoming the first American to win gold and bronze at the championships and just the third to medal twice. He defeated Turkey’s Polat Polatci for the gold in the 97 kg freestyle competition. A few days later, he snagged the bronze by beating Arkyt Orozbekov from Kyrgyzstan in the Greco-Roman competition, according to USA Wrestling.

Joyce said he’s gotten multiple requests to name streets in people’s honor in his time as mayor, but this is the first time he’s done it.

“When you have the opportunity to honor a world champion, those opportunities don’t come around too often,” he said.

Besides spending time with friends and family, Amos said it was nice to return to the city that supports him. He recalled getting messages of encouragement by text and social media during the championships halfway around the world.

“North side, south side, it didn’t matter,” he said. “It was fun to represent Parkersburg and West Virginia.”

Parkersburg South graduate Braxton Amos wears the gold and bronze medals he earned wrestling at last month’s Junior World Championships while posing for photos at a gathering Tuesday in front of South Parkersburg Baptist Church. To his left, his mother Anika holds a sign bearing the new name of a portion of Beverly Street in her son’s honor while his sister Presley wears his championship belt behind him. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Amos has his sights set on a return to the global stage in 2024, specifically in Paris, the site of the next Summer Olympics.

“I am a world champion, but the goal is to be an Olympic champion,” he said to the friends, family and city and school officials assembled Tuesday. “So just keep supporting me.”

Amos was praised for his humility, talent and work ethic by South Principal Betsy Patterson, wrestling Coach Shaun Smith and South announcer Ken Davis.

“It was always fun to watch Braxton,” Davis said. “He’s a quality young man. (He) did himself proud and did the city proud.”

Also in attendance was David Jeffrey, a longtime South wrestling assistant coach who helped Amos with his strength and weight training. He said many people don’t realize the work Amos has put in to excel in his sport.

Beverly Street from Blizzard Drive to 14th Street in Parkersburg has been renamed Braxton Amos Drive in honor of the Parkersburg South graduate’s gold-medal performance in wrestling at the 2021 Junior World Championships. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“It’s just incredible,” he said. To win a gold medal, “you have to really be on the elite level.”

Amos was also honored at halftime of Monday’s Parkersburg South-Capital football game. On Tuesday afternoon, he spoke to students at Lubeck Elementary School.

Parkersburg South graduate and Junior World Championships gold medalist wrestler Braxton Amos speaks to students at Lubeck Elementary School on Tuesday. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

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