Around the MAT

by Jeff Hughes

January 2, 2001

I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It is hard to believe that the season is almost half of the way done already. First of all I would like to express my thoughts on the upcoming Oak Glen-Parkersburg South dual. I know that everyone and your brother is talking about it and you are tired of hearing it. I would like to say that it will be well worth your money to go up and see it. I believe it will be a very good dual and we will see a lot of great match-ups in this "Battle of the Titans." In the end, I believe that South will get 18 points in the first 3 bouts and that will be enough to pull away from Oak Glen and win by a 37-25 count. If this match had taken place last year, I would have given the nod to Oak Glen but the Blennerhassett and Edison junior high programs in the Parkersburg area keep adding on to South's tremendous depth. It will be great to watch so get there early because I guarantee that there will be a packed house.

In the AAA ranks, I was personally impressed with East Fairmont up at the Brooke classic. They wrestled very well and I think that they have a legit shot at placing 2nd in Huntington this February. They have some of the best upper weights in the state. The reason I believe they will finish 2nd is the fact that they have an excellent tournament team and with multiple top 3 finishes, I believe they will finish second to Parkersburg South.

How do you describe Parkersburg South? It only takes 1 word. Loaded. From 103 up to 275, they have the potential to take 14 to Huntington and I honestly believe they can place anywhere from 9-13 kids in the top 6. This is the best team they have had in past years and I find it hard to believe that anyone can come close to beating them. My other teams to watch for in AAA are Hedgesville, Ripley and John Marshall. All 3 of these squads have produced results so far this season and will definitely be in the hunt come February. My other 2 picks to be in the running for top 5 positions are Fairmont Senior and Wheeling Park. Senior has not been producing the kind of results I have expected just yet, but definitely have the potential. Park, looked good at Brooke and have a world of young talent that, with maturity and varsity mat experience, could even stick their nose in the top 5. My mid-season sleeper pick? Nitro. I honestly believe that they have 4 kids that can win it all. Look for them to be back a ways in the standing after the first night but surge into the top 10 after Friday night in Huntington.

In AA-A, Oak Glen keeps on producing big-time wrestlers. They have won everything they have wrestled in thus far and they don't expect to lose anytime soon. At this point in time, I dont believe they will place 14 again but, look for them to dominate once again. My second place pick is Independence. The Patriots are wrestling very strong right now. I believe if Cameron can get everyone to weight, they have a shot at 2nd but right now they are having problems with that so we will see what happens. Look for Williamstown and Wirt to contend for 2nd as well. I haven't seen the Jackets wrestle yet this year but I have seen some of the kids from Williamstown wrestle before and believe me, the talent is there. My sleeper pick.... Calhoun. They are beating everyone who comes across their path so look for them to contend too. Grafton looks like the team to beat in region 2. I will get a better look at them this weekend at Cameron along with Clay County who has established a good program in just 3 years.

Jeff's rankings
1.Parkersburg South
2.East Fairmont
3. Hedgesville
4.John Marshall
6. Herbert Hoover
7.Fairmont Senior
9.North Marion
10.Wheeling Park

1. Oak Glen
2. Independence
3. Cameron
4. Williamstown
5. Grafton
6. Calhoun
7. Wirt
8. Braxton
9. Clay
10. Berkeley Springs

That is all I have for this time, I will have individual rankings next time. I hope everyone has a great year and remember to reach for your dreams fellas -Jeff

Answer to the last trivia - John Peters Ritchie County. His squad finished second, 71 points behind Oak Glen.

I received correct answers from:
Eric Noel
Sean Junkins
Chris Basford
"The Watcher"
Chris Morris
Mike Lautar

Trivia (see if ya know this one!)
In the 1999 state tournament, Jason Ward from Cabell Midland lost to Josh Dearth from South by virtue of disqualification due to the 5 step S-T-A-L-L procedure. What was the score of the bout when Ward was disqualified and who did Dearth lose to in the 160 pound championship bout?

November 1, 2000 Around the Mat
September 14, 2000 Around the Mat

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