Some of the premier high school wrestlers in the state of West Virginia took to the mats at Tyler Consolidated on Feb. 18 for the class A/AA Regional wrestling tournament. Twelve teams participated in the one-day Regional, with the Oak Glen Golden Bears taking the top spot in the team competition, crowning five individual champions along the way.
The Silver Knights, who hosted the large tournament, did not fare so well on the mats during the event, placing four wrestlers in fifth place when all was said and done.
Oak Glen placed first overall with a team score of 183, followed by Williamstown with 166; Cameron, 154; Weir, 133; Clay Battelle, 118; Ritchie County, 96; St. Marys, 70; Magnolia, 60; Weirton Madonna, 44; Bishop Donahue, 37.50; Tyler Consolidated, 34; and Parkersburg Catholic, 21.
The Golden Bears took home five individual championships in weight classes 106, 113, 120, 132 and 220. The Yellow Jackets of Williamstown earned three individual champions at 138, 152 and 195; Weir and Cameron each had two individual winners; and Clay Battelle and St. Marys each took one class.
"It is very unfortunate how things worked out for us," said Silver Knight head coach, Chad Snider.
"I was very happy to have coached a great group of guys this year. Coach Steve Blake and myself were impressed with how this group of beginners had progressed. The last couple of weeks the boys finally got the concept of drilling. I felt this would have made a big difference in the way they wrestled, but they still hadn't built up enough muscle memory to recite the moves in a live wrestling situation."
"Experience is what ultimately hurt us. Regionals always brings more pressure, some wrestlers wrestle better and some buckle under it."
For the Knights, sophomore Jerrod Longwell placed fifth overall in the 113 weight class, falling to Clay Battelle's Bryndin Watson in 2:58 in his first outing on the Regional mat. Longwell's season ended when he was pinned by Weir's Cory Poling in :26. He ends the year with a 5-14 season record.
Senior John Brosky saw his last action on the mats for the Knights at the Regional, taking his first win in the 126 weight class with a pin in 1:22 over Williamstown's Blake Williams. Brosky faced off with eventual runner-up Kyle Mack of Oak Glen where he was decisioned, 6-0. Colton Moats of Clay Battelle also decisioned the Knight senior, 8-2; but Brosky took his second win of the day over Williams yet again in the day in 28 seconds to place fifth overall at the tournament.
Brosky finishes the 2011/12 season with a 29-11 win/loss record.
Joe Henthorn, a junior at Tyler Consolidated, has had a shortened season due to injury, but was able to compete at the Regional tournament. Henthorn wrestled at 132 being decisioned in his first competition by eventual Regional champion, Avery Flowers of Oak Glen, 7-1. In his second match of the day, Williamstown's James Fulciniti got the win in 4:57.
Henthorn finished fifth for the Knights at the tourney.
Josh Ruble, sophomore, wrestling at 145 had a tough day on the mats, falling to Will Hogan of Oak Glen in 3:32 and to Williamstown's Trace hart in 1:27.
At 152, junior Hunter LeMasters started the day off with a :47 fall to Shayne Hinkle of Clay Battelle. LeMasters came back to win over Weir's Mark Parr with a pin in 1:43 but took the pin at the hands of Magnolia's Gage Deem in 2:24 in the match. LeMasters earned his fifth place standing at the tournament with a 35 second pin over Mike Houser of St. Marys.
The Knight junior, in his first year as a varsity wrestler, finishes the year at 15-15.
Mario Mantecon, wrestling at 160, fell in 1:09 to Magnolia's Garrett Woofter in his first match and then to Eddie Wise of St. Marys in 4:32.
Junior Dustin Tawney battled hard, but was unable to advance in the 182 weight class, falling to Cole White of St. Marys in 3:06 and to Cameron's Waylon Miller in 4:00. Tawney finishes the year with a 14-21 record.
Fellow junior Jay Earley also had a difficult road to follow in the 195 class, falling to Shain Livada of Weir in :52 and to Williamstown's Zeck Suprano in 1:26.
Senior Dakota Allen finished his first and last year on the wrestling squad at the Regionals, wrestling well, but unable to secure a win. He fell to Parkersburg Catholic's Pete Walters in 3:08 in his first match of the day and then to Ritchie's Trent Hart in :20. Allen's last bout of the day lasted 1:49 when he took the fall from Adam Robertson of Williamstown.
Allen finishes the season with a 16-18 win/loss record.
"I hope my seniors know that they did their best, and they have no regrets about their wrestling careers," coach Snider said. "I know they did their best, and I am proud of them regardless of the end results."
"Next season, I am looking forward to picking up where we left off. Many of the guys have the fundamentals, now we can focus on getting some wins. I hope we can welcome some freshman to the team with some past wrestling experience."
Snider offered his appreciation for the extra effort put forth by school staff, administration, Boosters, parents and wrestlers, to make the Regional the obvious success it was. "I have never had a team make such quick time of setting up and tearing down for a tournament," he said.
"I am fortunate to have good people to work with. I am very lucky to have an assistant who is organized, motivated, and a good role model for the guys. And nobody could ask for a better athletic director to promote wrestling. Every year we gain more supporters of the wrestling program."
"There are big things in Tyler County's wrestling future!"