Class AA/A wrestling teams ready for state
PARKERSBURG – A trio of Class AA/A wrestlers, including two from the Mid-Ohio Valley, will take undefeated records into today’s opening round of the 69th annual West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament being held inside Huntington’s Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Magnolia junior Caleb Nice sports a 38-0 record at 220 and Calhoun County 11th-grader Seth Moore enters the final weekend of the season with a 34-0 mark at 170. East Fairmont sophomore Cole Laya is 49-0 at 106.
Locally, Williamstown has four wrestlers competing this weekend while St. Marys boats only one – 220-pounder Antone Herring. The sophomore Blue Devil, who is 26-10, is making his first trip to the big show.
The Yellowackets have a pair of first-time state entrants in 126-pound junior Josh Frye (7-25) and heavyweight classmate Jake Seckman, who sports a 21-10 record.
WHS head coach Ryan Scott’s squad has a little more experience with seniors Dalton Smith at 138 and Austin Raines at 160. Smith, a state qualifier at 106 as a freshman and a fifth-place finisher last year at 132, brings a 13-9 record into his final state tournament. Raines (24-11) finished sixth at 145 as a sophomore and qualified to Huntington as a freshman at 132.
While Independence is out for a three-peat in the team race, 120-pound Roane County senior Cam Moore (47-1) is trying to become a three-time state champion. The Raiders of head coach Wayne Jarvis are coming off an unlikely 181-181 tie with Little Kanawha Conference champion Calhoun County last Saturday at the Region IV championships held in Spencer.
“That was exciting the way that regional finished up,” admitted Jarvis, whose team will send eight to state while Calhoun County qualified nine. “It was eerily similar to the LKC. (Garrett) Burnside was able to beat (Clay’s Ryan) Stewart (at 220).
“He had what we thought was a pin twice. We thought we had him pinned twice and we would’ve won it outright. It was a pretty exciting regional. I had never been involved or seen a tournament where two teams tied for first.”
Nice leads a quartet of Blue Eagles to the state tournament and is coming off a Region III title for head coach Vince Monseau.
“We had hoped to get more than four, but it’s a tough region,” Monseau said. “Last year’s 195 state champion (IHS’ Alex Daniels) is in his top half of the bracket. If they win their first two matches, they’ll meet in the semifinals.
“But, if you are going to be the champion you have to beat them all anyway. We’re glad for the four who are there. We wish we would’ve had more.”
Blue Eagle 138-pounder Clay Adams will face Roane County’s Adam Reichard in the opening round. In all, seven area head-to-head battles will take place on Thursday with the Adams-Reichard match being the only non-all-LKC showdown.
“There are some tough matches, even for some of our guys who have a little more potential (to win a state title) like Cam,” Jarvis added. “Reichard, he’s actually won at every single tournament we’ve been in. He’s won Winner’s Choice and was undefeated at the Army National Guard Duals. He had two losses at the West Virginia Duals.
“We think we have a top five team. They say Independence may be on a different level, but our guys decided to go to the state tournament and try to win. You just can’t go trying to get second. That’s not a good plan and that’s kind of our mindset. The kids have been real mature and understand the situation all year long.”
Roane County, which had regional wins from Moore, Reichard and 113-pounder Jacob Spencer, won’t have any head-to-head meetings on Thursday evening against Calhoun County. However, Spencer is set to face fellow LKC grappler Jordan Rose of Webster County.
The Red Devils, who not only boast Seth Moore and 39-1 sophomore 160-pounder Cole Ritchie – last year’s 152-pound state champion, also had regional titles from Houstin McCune (126), two-time state runner-up Allen Metheney (132) and Casey Ritchie (152). McCune’s first match is against Braxton County’s Gage Vincent.
Only four other LKC wrestlers had top of the podium finishes at regionals on Saturday – Wirt County’s Wyatt Powell (106), Braxton County’s Levi Jarvis (170), Clay County’s Brandon White (195) and Ravenswood’s Colten Stovall (145).
Stovall’s first round opponent is Braxton County’s Dustin Lavancher. The other three opening round all-LKC battles will be at 120 with Webster County’s Logan Bean going against Eagle Gavin Triplett, at 170 with South Harrison’s Elias Stamm facing Clay County’s Austin Dobbins and at 195 where Roane County’s Tyler May takes on Tyler Consolidated’s Brandon Keys.