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Good and bad from Fargo

South’s Amos dealing with leg injury

Photo provided Parkersburg High’s John Martin Best, left, poses with Parkersburg South’s Braxton Amos while holding up the West Virginia state flag. Earlier this month, Best was runner-up at the Fargo Nationals in the 152-pound division while Amos won the 220-pound crown. It was the first time in state history two Junior Division freestyle grapplers made the national finals at the Fargodome in North Dakota.

PARKERSBURG — Earlier this month at North Dakota State University’s Fargodome, the duo of Parkersburg South’s Braxton Amos and Parkersburg High’s John Martin Best accomplished a feat never done before in the Mountain State at the 2019 U.S. Marine Corps Junior Nationals.

Amos won the 220-pound freestyle title while Best grabbed runner-up honors to also earn All-American accolades in the 152-pound weight class.

“It was fun,” Amos said of winning.

“John and I did something special. We were the first time West Virginia had two guys in the finals for the Junior Division. It was a lot of fun. It was a good way to showcase West Virginia.

“There’s always been one or two guys from West Virginia over the course of every five or six years to do it, but it was fun for us. Him and I are the same age and we’re in the same grade. We were beating good wrestlers from other states.”

For Best, it was the fourth time he earned All-American honors at the Fargodome. He’s done it twice each in Greco and freestyle.

“I didn’t really think much of it,” Best said Tuesday evening while taking a break from doing some farm work at his grandparents’ in Louisiana while on vacation. “I just thought we were another pair of West Virginia kids getting ready to wrestle. I was pretty excited about it.”

The run for Best in the 152-pound freestyle class came to an end after he suffered an 8-2 finals setback to Jace Luchau of Selma, Calif. Luchau finished runner-up at 160 in December at the Ironman.

“I thought so, but a lot of people didn’t,” Best replied when asked if he thought he could make the finals. “I don’t really know why. I felt pretty confident in myself. I fell short at Greco (this year).

“I’m still learning. I didn’t do too great in Greco, but in the same setting I did exceptional in freestyle. I was going out there to win. I didn’t really want to hold back. That’s what I’ve been training for.”

Few things can hold back Amos, who earlier this year became the first junior to win the Robert Dutton Award, given annually to the best grappler in the Mountain State.

Following his title in freestyle, Amos was going for career championship No. 6 at the Fargodome. En route to the finals, Amos suffered an injury and after winning in the semifinals, he injury defaulted out in the 220-pound title match and took runner-up.

“I think it was a right one to not wrestle my finals,” Amos said of the tough decision. “Mom and dad didn’t really want me to wrestle in the semis. I kind of put my foot down on that. I’m going to wrestle the semis with or without their blessing, which didn’t make them too happy.

“But I think they realized it was something I had set my mind to and I was going to do it whether I had to amputate the leg or not. I got through the semis that morning.”

After talking with his coaches, his family and the trainers, Amos opted to make his final match the semi.

“It would’ve been fun to be the 11th (all-time) to go six for six,” Amos said of the national titles. “Everyone was telling me not to do it. I was ready for it mentally. Was I ready for it physically? Probably not, but I wanted to go do it.

“It was something. Looking back I was out of my mind thinking I was in a lot better health than I was. Looking back I probably shouldn’t be wrestling the semifinals and not walking on it now, but it is what it is.”

Amos, who like Best is going into his senior season, missed his freshman campaign with an ACL injury. The Patriot grappler hurt the same leg at Fargo.

“I don’t really know where, but it’s completely unrelated,” admitted Amos, who said he should know what’s going on specifically sometime next week. “They know it’s not my ACL. It’s not like my ACL gave out on me again. Not really sure what part.

“I’m preparing for the worst in case the worst news comes. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it right now. You got to roll with the punches and see what happens.”

Obviously, Amos pretty much has his choice when it comes to his future college destination, but Best said he’s pretty much narrowed things down.

“I’ve got two colleges I know that I want to go to for an absolute certainty and I have one that’s a maybe,” Best said of his top choices being the Air Force Academy and West Point. “I’m split 50-50 on them right now.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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