TCMS Wrestlers Close Out the Season in Style
The Tyler Knights Middle School wrestling season came to a close with a bang, during the weekend of Feb. 3, at the Mason Dixon Conference Championship Tournament in Fairmont, W.Va. The Mason Dixon Conference Tournament is made up of 20 middle school teams (Class AAA, Class AA, and Class A) across North Central West Virginia. The tournament places wrestlers in each weight division from first through fifth place, with each bracket containing 16 wrestlers in 15 weight divisions.
Making up the tournament roster for the Knights were sixth graders Kaden Huffman (78 lb), Kendall Huffman (102 lb), and Shane Bates (145 lb); seventh graders John Headley (90 lb), Trenton Huffman (110 lb) and Donald Shields (190 lb); eighth graders Steven Judge (95lb), Donovan Judge (123 lb), Jude Childers (135 lb) and Case Landis (171 lb).
The Knights wrestlers showed up in full force at the conference tournament, placing six out of 10 wrestlers in podium positions. The Knights finished the tournament in fifth place out of 20 teams and second place in Class A. The Knights wrestlers were pinning machines in the tournament, recording 17 total pins of opposing wrestlers to accomplish the high team placing score. The team recorded the second highest winning percentage of any team in the tournament, winning 74 percent of their matches. Trenton Huffman of the Knights walked away with the tournament’s highest individual honor, winning the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award by winning the 110 lb championship with style.
Trenton Huffman (110 lb) showed up as the Number Two seed entering the tournament. In a show of both skill and strength, Huffman pinned the first three opponents including the Number Three seed in the bracket, all in the first period in less than 45 seconds, advancing him to the finals. In the championship match, Huffman faced the Number One seed, Brock Mitchell from Robert L. Bland, who entered the tournament with an overall record of 40-7. In an exciting match that entered the third period with no score, Huffman took advantage of the down position, quickly hitting a reversal, followed by a cradle to go up 4-0. Following a nice defensive tactic, Huffman pinned the Number One seed with 1:23 seconds left in the third period. Huffman finished the tournament with four straight pins, leading all wrestlers in the tournament for most team points scored, and was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament for the lower weight divisions by the coaches of each team.
Placing third for the Knights were Kaden Huffman (78 lb), Jude Childers (135 lb), and Donald Shields (190 lb). Kaden Huffman entered the tournament as the Number Six seed, and lost early in the second round. However, the underweight wrestler showed his strong will in the consolation bracket, tech falling and pinning each opponent on his way to a third place finish. Jude Childers entered the tournament at the Number Three seed, and came out in style, pinning his first two opponents before losing to the Number Two seed in a tight match in the third period. Childers finished the tournament with two more quick pins, making short work of the consolation brackets, and finishing as the Knights’ number two scorer in team points and third place in the 135 lb class. Donald Shields also entered the tournament as the Number Six seed. Shields won his first match by pin, before losing in the second round. After the loss, Shields regained his poise, winning four straight matches in the consolation brackets and upsetting two higher seed wrestlers to take the third place position, again proving the Knights were under-appreciated in the tournament seeding.
Placing fourth at the 102 lb weight class for the Knights was Kendall Huffman. Kendall entered the tournament as the Number Six seed. Kendall tech falled and pinned his first two opponents, and then suffered a loss in the semifinals to the Number Two seed. He then pinned his first opponent in the consolation before dropping the third place match to the Number Three seed.
Placing fifth for the Knights, at the 95 lb weight class, was Steven Judge. Steven entered the tournament as the Number Four seed. Judge won the first match by pin, before losing to the Number One seed. Judge went 2-2 on the day for the fifth place position.
Also winning matches and scoring valuable team points for the Knights were Case Landis (1-2) and John Headley (1-2).
Coach Mitch Nichols would like to congratulate all the Knights wrestlers for their tough showing in conference competition, as well as their performance and work ethic throughout the year. Coach Nichols would like to thank his strong eighth grade class for their leadership in the room, as well as wishing them much success in their future high school wrestling endeavors. He also looks forward to a strong returning class of grapplers for next year, as well as a new batch of sixth graders he hopes will join the middle school team from the peewee wrestling in the local area.