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Bounceback year for ’Jackets’ Bob Zide Rumble

Williamstown’s Ashton Wamser competes in last year’s high school wrestling state tournament. (File Photo)

WILLIAMSTOWN –This year’s Bob Zide Rumble looks to be a return to form when it begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday. In seasons past, the Rumble event has struggled to find teams, but per Williamstown head coach Tyler George, a robust group of squads will make the trek up to Williamstown and challenge Class A’s No. 3 Yellowjackets. The young group led by veteran grapplers Ashton Wasmer and Brayden Buckley has solid expectations, as coach George explained.

“Our season’s been going pretty well,” he said. “We’ve got about 16 freshmen and sophomores combined, so we’re a pretty young team with seven kids who had never wrestled. We started out unranked, but the new coaches’ poll that just came out had us at No. 3. I didn’t think we’d be there this year, so we’re pretty happy with that. This weekend, it’ll be a tough tournament. We’re trying to rebuild this tournament, and last year with COVID happening, there weren’t any tournaments allowed anyway. It’s given us a chance to rebuild, and we’ve got a lot of ranked guys and a lot of ranked teams coming this weekend.”

A select group of grapplers from Class A and AA are coming, including Winfield, Sissonville, Class AAA Nitro, Calhoun County, Doddridge County, Shady Spring, South Harrison, Roane County, Elkins, Liberty (Raleigh), the junior varsity teams from from Class AAA’s University and Parkersburg South, Class AA No. 5 Braxton County and a group of Class A powers including No. 10 Wahama, No. 4 Tyler Consolidated and No. 5 Wirt County. All the more interesting in when you look at where some of the top wrestlers at this year’s event are ranked in Class AA/A.

In total, 32 wrestlers ranked in the top eight of each class are slated to compete.

Wasmer comes in at sixth in 106 for the Yellowjackets. Winfield brings a strong contingent, as Jacob Schilling (seventh in 113), Logan Howell (third in 182), Evan Fuelhart (fifth in 220) and Zander Huffman (seventh in 285) will be there. Class AA No. 9 Sissonville brings brothers Joseph (fifth in 106) and Austin High (fourth in 126) alongside Hunter Burdette (seventh in 285) and 195’s No. 1 Tate Britton. A pair of Calhoun County Red Devils in Jeff Sampson (seventh in 126) and Drew Goad (fourth in 195). Doddridge enters Riley Curran (fifth in 132) and Adam Burnside (sixth in 285), and Shady Spring’s Joshua Goode (third in 126) and Landen Chambers (sixth in 145) also look to make an impact. Roane’s Tyson Pena (eighth at 120) and Russell May (seventh at 132) are there, and the same can be said for Elkins’ Gavin Boland (third in 106), Nick Barrickman (sixth in 195), Justin Bishop (fourth in 220) and Ryder McLaughlin (third in 285). Braxton’s status as a Rumble favorite comes thanks to Blayne Jarvis (second in 138), Logan Bennett (fifth in 145) and Colton Moore (second in 195).

Wahama brings in Kase Stewart (eighth in 138), and Tyler sees the likes of Kaden Huffman (eighth in 113) and Trenton Huffman (third in 160). Last but certainly not least are Wirt’s ranked grapplers. The Tigers bring a strong group that includes Phillip Balis (eighth in 126), Kolton Parsons (fourth in 145), Chase Lowe (fourth in 152), Channing Lowe (sixth in 160) and Kolton Toler (fifth in 285).

George hopes for a complete team performance, as his roster will fill every weight class with the exception of 160 and 170.

“We don’t have too many individual expectations, because we’re on that mindset where we know that we’re pretty young and pretty inexperienced,” he said. “We try not to hold the kids to too high of a standard, and they’ve got to know this is a marathon of a sport and not really a sprint. It’s going to take some time, but I think we can go out there and win some matches. We’re trying to build a mindset and a team culture of what Yellowjacket wrestling is. It’s being hard-nosed and tough as we wrestle. If we come out with a win, we do. If we don’t, at least we gave it everything we have. I’m hoping we can be somewhere in the top 6-7 teams this weekend, hopefully.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

Williamstown’s lineup for Saturday’s Bob Zide Rumble:

106: Ashton Wasmer

113: Cayden Blankenship

120: Jacob Ricucci

126: Logan Borkowski

132: Kipp Freed

138: Landon Dodrill

145: Alex Tawney

152: Isaac Sullivan

182: Brayden Buckley

195: Rex Anderson

220: Jensen Burge

285: Aiden Corbett

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