South, PHS face off to open mat season
PARKERSBURG — Six-time defending Class AAA state wrestling champion Parkersburg South finally gets to open its season at 7 p.m. today inside Rod Oldham Athletic Center when the Patriots of head coach Shaun Smith welcome in rival Parkersburg for the annual city dual.
The two Wood County programs are far from ready to start the season at full strength and it appears there will be seven contested matches. Expected Patriot 195-pounder Oscar Lemus isn’t ready to go yet and that’s the lone forfeit for coach Smith.
However, the Big Reds of head man Matt Littleton will be without a 106, 126, 132, 138, 145 and 152-pounder.
“We have people on the roster, but I have injuries and one who didn’t have enough practices,” said Littleton, who would’ve had Landon Burnside at 106 and Levi Townsend at 126.
The Big Red coach also noted 182-pounder Michael Owen is “banged up” and Gabe Martin is expected to take his place and face first-year Patriot Aydan Edwards, who was at PHS last season.
“That’s the thing. We’re coming in with little time to prep compared to most years,” Littleton said. “It’s been different to say the least. We’re a very young team, but we have some talent and some kids who are pretty athletic. It’s being able to get them acclimated back to wrestling. That’s been the emphasis, just trying to get in shape on the wrestling mat and be in that position and go through that grind.
“I’ve told all the guys it’s not a typical PHS-South dual with everything going on on both sides of the river. They are dealing with injuries and practice related things and we are dealing with the same problems. One thing I’ve always preached is we control the controllables. We control what we can control and push the rest to the side to do what we have to do to get better and that’s kind of the mentality we’ve approached this with.”
Senior night will be celebrated for the Patriots prior to the start of the match. Patriot 12th-grader Noah Buckalew “is a little banged up right now so he won’t be able to wrestle yet” said his coach, who will fill in with Zane Taylor taking on Big Red Jacob McCune. Devin Easton (120), Brayden Johnson (138) and Gavin Quiocho (160) are the other trio of PSHS seniors. Easton is expected to wrestle Braycon Hedges, Johnson has a forfeit and Quiocho will clash with Carter King.
“They are leaders by example,” coach Smith said of his seniors. “It’s kind of different when you have guys like Brayden Roberts and Braxton Amos. They also had pretty big vocals as well.
“Just trying to get them to be a little more vocal as well. Their leadership is good and they are hard working kids. They are anxious to be able to wrestle.”
The only other contested matches are expected to be at 113 with Big Red George Cantwell facing Brent Bosley, at 170 with PHS’ Bryant Walker facing Jude Childers and at heavyweight where Patriot Demetrius Gearheart tangles with Big Red Jeffrey Jones.
“It’s been up and down,” coach Smith replied when asked how things had been going in the mat room. “For the most part, the kids have responded really well and worked hard and practice has gone well.
“I think once we start getting to compete, I think it will kind of click with them and maybe they need to step up in different areas in practice and things like that. Leading up until now with all the uncertainty going on it’s been a struggle even for myself sometimes and the other coaches. I think we are just looking forward to being able to compete and hopefully that will change things.”
Contact Jay Bennett at email@example.com
Probable wrestling lineups
for tonight’s PHS/South dual
at Rod Oldham Athletic Center
PARKERSBURG vs. PARKERSBURG SOUTH
106: n/a vs. Brady Roberts
113: George Cantwell vs. Brent Bosley
120: Braycon Hedges vs. Devin Easton
126: n/a vs. Nathan Ford/Parker Field
132: n/a vs. Trent Jones
138: n/a vs. Brayden Johnson
145: n/a vs. Gage Wright
152: n/a vs. Robert Shockey
160: Carter King vs. Gavin Quiocho
170: Bryant Walker vs. Jude Childers
182: Gabe Martin vs. Aydan Edwards
195: Zach Howard vs. n/a
220: Jacob McCune vs. Zane Taylor
285: Jeffrey Jones vs. Demetrius Gearheart
Note: The first match is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the Patriots will conduct senior night prior.