Around the MAT

by Jeff Hughes

September 14, 2000

Yes wrestlers, parents and coaches it is getting back around to that time of year again. The time of year where the winds turn cold, the leaves fall off the trees and your tea gets warmer. It is only about 2 months until the 2000-2001 wrestling season begins! I can hardly wait to see what our boys have in store for us this year. Is this the year Oak Glen gets dethroned? Can Parkersburg South keep its' legacy alive? Is Fairmont Sr. and East Fairmont going to be the 2 biggest surprises in the state? Thinking about it all I want to push the fast forward button through football and get to the greatest season of all, wrestling season!!!

In AAA this season, I think that South is loaded. If anyone can knock off the patriots, I will be surprised. They return numerous placewinners and return state champ Chris Daggett and many other placewinners. The fact that the patriots have depth in case of an injury doesn't really help the rest of the AAA field much either. If anyone can give them a run, it will probably be Fairmont Senior. The Polar Bears didn't exactly have their cupboards cleaned due to graduation. I believe if they can get at least 12 wrestlers out of region 2 (which is getting tougher every year) then they have a shot. What I believe hurts Fairmont Senior is the fact that region 2 is a very tough region. When you get North Marion, Hedgesville, Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont all in the same region with up and coming programs like Musselman, it is definitely going to be hard to get enough guns into the state tournament. No offense to the other regions but in my opinion, region 2 has been a war in the past.

My sleeper picks for AAA have to be East Fairmont and Ripley. The two squads haven't been in the contention in the recent past but look for them to turn some heads. They are both loaded as they have ever been and a top 10 finish is a very logical goal for these programs.

My top 10 pre season predictions (just my best guess guys :))
1. Parkersburg South
2. Fairmont Senior
3. Cabell Midland
4. Huntington
7.East Fairmont
9. University
10.John Marshall

In AA-A, Oak Glen looks like they have a challenge on their hands this year. Larry Shaw always has some tricks up his sleeve though and always seems to continue his domination of AA even when we think that Oak Glen has nothing left. This year should be no different as Coach Shaw goes for his 5th consecutive state title. Funny thing is, Independence, Williamstown and Cameron have numerous placewinners and qualifiers back. As a matter of fact, I heard Indy has 13 back including state champion Aaron Barnette (171) and runner-up Josh Moyer (189). Don't be surprised when Indy brings 14 to the Huntington Civic Center in February. Yes, I know Williamstown lost Ash Wenmoth, Will Westbrook and Joel Zyla to graduation but if you have been to a junior high tournament in the last year, you should know the jackets have an excellent program and are in a reloading stage this year, not a rebuilding. The jackets will be lead by 119 lb. state champ Tim Haddox and have 5 other place winners returning. The time is now for Cameron high to win their 5th state title under Jim Potts. The dragons lost only 2 place winners to graduation (Caleb Lucey 119 '98 5th) and myself. They bring back a very strong nucleus of placewinners and have a couple of strong freshman coming up as well. With Wyatt O'Neil, Jared Ross and Tyler Hughes graduating this year, it may be the last chance at a solid line-up for a while.

My sleeper picks in AA-A are Wirt and Braxton. After the Miller/Drennen legacy at Wirt, everyone thought that the Tigers were done. Don't be surprised if you see Wirt back in the top 5 this year. Braxton lost some key seniors but don't let that fool you because their are some shells left in the eagles gun.

My top 10 AA-A predicitions
1.Oak Glen

Well that is all I have for this edition so I wish everyone good luck on the up coming season. Remember fellas, train hard. Your opponent probably is right now.....

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