Paden City to Start Wrestling
For the first time in school history, Paden City High School will have a Wildcat wrestling team. Coach Mike Owens a 2005, River Local, Ohio, graduate and four year grabbler, will have the distinction of coaching the Cat’s along with his assistant Mike Shreves, a Paden City assistant football coach and father of one of the first year wrestlers.
“We’ve been trying to get a program approved for nearly five years. This year after bugging PCHS Principal Jay Salva, we were given the go ahead by the Wetzel County Board of Education,” said Coach Owens. “I believe we will do just fine once we get a few matches under our belt. We have a good group of kids that are working hard and are excited to begin the season. They have great attitudes and are learning the rules and working on their moves. As soon as practice ends they head to the weight room. They understand they will need to improve their strength to be competitive.”
With 11 wrestlers out, Coach Owens, believes experience will be a factor however he said the group is dedicated to being the best they can be and they have set some lofty goals.
The Wildcats will be short on experience with only one wrestler that’s seen high school action. Bryce Hunt, a sophomore who moved to the area this summer wrestled last season as a freshman for West Holmes, Ohio and won 32 matches. He recently transferred to Paden City, after finding out they were going to have a wrestling program.
“I went to Tyler Consolidated even though I live in Paden City because they had wrestling. I wanted to go to school here in town and when I found out about this I immediately asked to transfer. I feel I can make a difference for the Cat’s and my goal is to help the team win some matches plus get to the state,” said Hunt.
Hunt will be wrestling in the 152 lb weight class for the Wildcats and although he is the only wrestler with high school experience, he is not the only gun in the arsenal.
“We have several kids who I think will be tough to beat. We have every weight class covered except four, so we should be able to make some noise and win some tournaments. Our depth is going to be our strong point,” added Owens.
Owens is no stranger to the sport with the knowledge he gained during his four years with the Pilots. His assistant Mike Shreves is also very familiar with the sport and should provide ample support.
The Wildcats will have three seniors on the squad with Marcus Allen leading the way as one of the captains. Allen has quickness and strength on his side to go along with some natural ability in the sport. Senior Rander Amos, will be a handful for opposing teams as he carries a solid body, quickness, and speed to the mat. He may have the most strength on the team and should be able to get some wns once he picks up a little experience. The other senior on the team is Daniel Goddard, who coach Owens feels will make his presence know once he hits the mats. “They better watch out for these three as they all have what it takes to get the job done.”
Juniors on the squad include co-captain Ryan Cross, Mikey Shreves, Dustin Clegg and Alex McCoy. Cross who has played football, baseball and basketball for the Wildcats, will be a tough one to handle for whoever he’s up against. He has the size, quickness and ability to bring home some medals, look for him to make the podium quite often. Shreves, has a lot of heart and desire and won’t be a pushover for anyone. Put him one on one and he is dangerous. He has natural athletic ability and the will to win.
Sopomores looking to make an impact include Clayton Thomas, another three sport athlete for the Wildcats, plus Hunt and Lauren Little. Donaven Clark the lone freshman rounds out the squad.
The Wildcats have their mats set up and are practicing in the Wildcat Den at the present time. Their schedule is comprised of all away matches beginning December 6, at Cameron with Beallsville and Linsly..
“I like opening up on Wednesday, December 6, it gives us an opportunity to quickly adjust any mistakes before we go into the Ritchie Tournament on December, 8-9,” Owens said.
The Cat’s have a full schedule which includes the huge Wesbanco OVAC three day tournament in January, and the WV Class A tournament, plus the Regionals and state meet.