Parkersburg South wrestling sitting pretty for another state title run
Patriot grapplers return eight state placers/qualifiers
PARKERSBURG — Even with so much change in the Mountain State, one thing in Class AAA’s wrestling scene remains the same: Parkersburg South is ready to chase another state championship.
There’s no replacing NCAA Divison I wrestlers Braxton Amos and Brayden Roberts, but the Patriots turn to eight returning 2019 state placers or qualifiers alongside the rest of the team to compile the needed points.
“We do have a solid team coming back and with some of the freshman coming in that will help solidify the lineup,” Parkersburg South head coach Shaun Smith said.
To his point, Brady Roberts, Brayden Johnson and Gavin Quiocho won state championships.
Nathan Ford, Trent Jones, Noah Buckalew, Oscar Lemus and Devin Easton placed in the top six of their respective weight class.
And Jude Childers qualified to make the trip to Huntington.
Pair all of it with incoming freshmen, like Gage Wright, and other wrestlers who were good enough to make the starting lineup last season in Brent Bosley, Parker Field and Ryan Martin, and nearly every weight class is filled before the Patriots even step on the mat.
That experience is an overwhelming amount nearly no one else in the state can say they own.
And, according to Smith, it is going to help.
“In a short season you have to stay focused the whole year as opposed to towards the middle and the end,” he said.
With so many kids who have tasted success back, that shouldn’t be a problem.
It also should help with another conundrum facing the Patriots.
Even though they won’t grab their usual amount of time with out-of-state powers at the Powerade and Ironman tournaments, Smith sees a certain silver line when it comes time for the weigh-in inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena for the state tournament.
“At first I thought it was going to be bad for us because that is where we gain a lot of the advantages from wrestling a tough schedule, but it will help keep us more fresh as we are wrestling three times a week with limited practice,” he said.
“We may not be getting to practice but they still know what they need to do. They mostly understand what they need to improve on. Hopefully the hard work will take care of itself.”
The Patriots open the season with a crosstown dual against rival Parkersburg at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. And Smith doesn’t believe a seventh straight title is out of the picture as his team welcomes in the Big Reds.
“I think if we continue to work hard and focus on what we are doing than I don’t see any reason why we can’t chase title No. 7. Mainly, we just need to try and stay healthy and the kids need to keep doing what they are supposed to be doing. No practice time can be wasted because we won’t get very much of it,” Smith said.