Around the MAT

by Jeff Hughes

January 18, 2006

Over half way through the season. That's where we stand. And my how the landscape of AA/A has changed.

At least some of it.

At this point in the season, it looks like Oak Glen once again has a stranglehold on the top spot in AA/A. The Bears have been impressive in tournaments all year, dominating the field at St.Clairsville and finishing 3rd behind Pennsylvania juggernaut Canon McMillan and #1 Wheeling Park at Brooke. Coach Shaw's charges are led by 2 time state champion Rhett Northcraft at 160 and returning champ Jess Mahan at 140. The Bears are a pretty solid squad from top to bottom and should really only have problems qualifying in 2 classes in a down year for region 1. But I guess the real question is(as always) can anyone else in the state contend?

The short list starts off with the Big Blacks of Point Pleasant. Point fields a formidable squad this year led 152 pound defending state champ James Casto, Runner-up Brent Hereford and #1 heavyweight Heath Shirley. I would expect to see all three of these wrestlers in the finals for Point and also big points from 103 Jared Searls, who was a runner-up at the Winner's choice this past weekend and 140 pound Anthony Jeffers, who could find himself wrestling Saturday night given the brackets fall his way. The Big Blacks did finish 3rd at Jackson by 18 points, but they were Brent Hereford-less which I think gives them a distinct advantage over Hoover or Indy if he's in the line-up and they win the tournament. However, Point bounced back to finish 3rd at Winner's choice this weekend finishing over traditional Pa. power West Greene Area, Hyndman(Pa.), and AAA powers North Marion, University and Hedgesville. If one team has a chance to challenge Oak Glen, my money is on Point simply for the number of wrestlers that I think they will send to Saturday.

The other squad I am going to give a shot to overthrow the Bears is Calhoun County. If Calhoun is going to have a chance, they have to score alot of points in the lower and middle weights. I think the Red Devils have a good shot to place every wrestler they have from 103-140. If they place those wrestlers and get finals like performances from Paul Goodrich at 189 and Justin Ramsey at 135, then they could easily be in the hunt. Calhoun cleaned up at the Braxton 16 this weekend and had a pretty strong 3rd place showing at Nitro, behind AAA powers North Marion and Huntington. I think we've yet to see the best wrestling out of the Red Devils yet though and if some of their guys who have made the trip to Huntington before step it up, they could be more dangerous than Point Pleasant.

As for the best of the rest, I think Independence brings alot of "20+" point bullets to the table. The Patriots have the best 103-119 line-up in the state and it wouldn't be a surprise to me to see them walk them all out Saturday night. With some good showings from Woodrow transfer Jacob Antoine at 189, Justin Ward at 171 and John Meadows at 140, I think the Patriots will find enough points to sneak into the top 5.

The last squad that I think will be a factor in AA/A is Herbert Hoover. The Huskies are very strong in the lower and middle weights, which kind of seems to be a trend this year. The lower weights are as loaded as they have been in a couple years. The Huskies will be expecting #1 ranked 145 pounder Cody Mollohan and #2 ranked 125 pounder Wes Hanson to lead the charge. The Huskies will rely on their lower and middle weights to keep them in the thick of things in Huntington. The Huskies will need good performances by 112 Andrew Young, 130 Cody Moore, 135 Derrick Williams, 140 Matt Fisher, 152 Josh Morris and 215 Jim Bob Anderson to have thoughts of beating the likes of Point and Calhoun. The Huskies do have the Jackson County title under their belt over Point and Indy and they finished runner-up at the Braxton 16 this weekend.

So that's my overview of who's on the short list of contenders in AA/A. It seems like the real power has shifted to region 4 this year. That region is going to leave some kids behind that would definitely get out of other regions. I think we'll see the highest number of placers from region 4. With 4 of the best 6 teams in the state in the region, it'll be hard to not see that. The boys from Ravenswood, Clay, Wirt, Winfield and Sissonville will do their best though to make sure that these squads don't get to make it too big of a party for themselves down in Huntington, as all have a few wrestlers that will look to serve as spoilers and more.

Even in a down year, region 1 is still the second toughest region and still possibly the hardest one to walk out of with a regional title. The problem with region 1 this year is the lack of programs. In the past, you could generally expect schools like Madonna,Donahue, Clay Battelle and Hundred to produce a couple good kids every year even if they were the only ones on the team. This year, none of those squads have a wrestler I believe. Now we're talking about a 9 team region with one of your traditional powers in Cameron being down. It should still be a good regional though. The program at Central has been reborn and is thriving under Valley product Sean Doyle. Tyler Consolidated has been on the rise for a few years and collected a big dual win over Cameron, which I'm sure is big for their program. Williamstown is back also after a down year. I'm sure Region 1 will be alright.

Region 3 looks to be pretty good this year. Typically Shady, Indy and Greenbrier West are all state powers. However, Oak Hill has come along and asserted itself a name not only in the region, but in the state. Throw in some good wrestlers from Gilbert, Liberty, Fayetteville and Webster and I think you'll find alot of Region 3 wrestlers to be a tough out come late February. I also think region 3 will hold its own in the Individual Titles department. Along with the Indy 3, Walker from Greenbrier West and Coleman from Fayetteville have legitimate shots at hoisting gold on Saturday night.

Region 2 is by no means bare. It may be the least covered region, besides Grafton and Berkeley who do an excellent job of reporting on here, but there are a couple squads who are going to bring back some medals. Grafton has looked good all season and will be holding the banner for region 2. I look for Daniel Leach at 152, John Walter at 189 and super frosh Cameron Gallagher at 125 to lead them to that region's title. Berkeley Springs should not be far behind and I think the Indians will be one of the main contenders in the state tournament next year due to alot of good young kids coming into the program like 112 Brad Reed and 103 Josh Connor and with mainstays like 2 time all state 160 Tyson Bennett and 171 Cody Reed. Braxton is a young team too going through a little bit of a down year, but I think you'll find them around the 3rd spot. Keyser is one of my biggest question marks at this point in the year. Not many AA/A teams have seen this squad, but they do have an interesting 1 point loss to North Marion in a dual. Scott Durr may be the sleeper pick in the 145 class as it looks like he has handled himself well in every meet he's been at. As for the rest of the region, it looks like Lincoln is definitely on the rise and so is the South Harrison program after a few years of being anonymous. Look for Libert Harrison to score quite a few points in Huntington with 130 Mike Grilli, 140 Cruz McIntyre and 215 D.J Barberio.

OVAC tournament
Yep, it's Thursday through Saturday. This weekend will be the first chance for some of the region 1 wrestlers to see each other. Teamwise, I don't think any of the Ohio schools have the depth to compete with Oak Glen and Wheeling Park. Park seeded 11 wrestlers to OG's 9, but Coach Shaw is a master of the wrestleback line and I'm pretty confident they'll place more than 9. I don't think it'll be enough with the number of kids that Park will put in the finals though, 6 of their 11 seeds are in the top 3. Cambridge, Ohio has 10 seeds and Beaver Local has 9. I think Oak Glen will beat Cambridge by the simple fact that alot of Cambridge's best wrestlers line-up in brackets that are loaded (145,112,125,130) and that should dilute some of the points that they will score. Anyways, looking at the brackets I thought I'd point out some possible key match-ups to look for in (AA/A):

103: possible semi-final bout between Asbury (OG) and Bauer (WC). Asbury, however, does have to beat Taylor from (WP) who has 2 wins over him.

112: None. Dray is the best 112 in the region and won't see the other 3 main contenders until regionals.

119: Eckleberry (OG) could see Julian Yost (TC) in a consolation quarter if Eckleberry loses in the quarter and wins a consi match. Yost has Jewell(WP) in the 2nd round and will have to fight after that. 2 regional seeding matches could take place early in the tourney however. This is Yost's first week at 119 I believe as he's been at 125.

125: If Potss from (OG) wins his first match and loses his 2nd to #3 seeded Ray from Cambridge, then he'll might see Corey Parry (Cam) in his first consi match who has the #7 seed 1st round, which will be big for seeding in that class.

130: Zach Basich (WC) and Tyler Cumpston (Cam) wrestle right off the bat for the #1 seed in the region. If Andrews (OG)loses his first round match against #6 Kosky from St.John, he could very possibly see the loser in a 3rd round consi.

135: Not many likely scenarios here.

140: Not many here either. Weekley(TC) could see Mahan (OG)in the semis, but he has a murderers row to get there. Seeding match between Weir and WC in 1st round consi's

145: Timmons (OG) could see Helmick (Mag) in a 2nd round consi. If he wins that, he could see a third round consi with Richie (TC) who I believe is undefeated in the region. I think Timmons upsets Beecher (WP) in the first round though.

152: Cody Miller has Leasure (TC) in the second round, but the match-up we're waitin for is the semi against Pettit (Cam) which will tell us who goes to regions #1.

160: None. Northcraft's best competition won't be here.

171: Could see Busick (Weir) and Osbon(OG) in a consi 4th round if Busick slips in the second round. Also could see Yost (TC) and Busick in a consi quarter if he doesn't til quarters and Yost loses to #3 Dunn in the second and wins out.

189: Gianessi (Weir) and Greathouse (OG) legitimately could meet in a consi semi. Roberts and Gianessi could meet in a consi 4th round, but Roberts would have to lose first round and then win 3 matches.

215: No real scenario. Mankowski (Weir) would have to beat 2 seeds to get to Rowland (OG) in the quarters.

275: Kile (TC) and Dishman (Cam) meet again if they both win or both lose first round. Collins (OG) and Parsons (WC) could meet in the consi's with a first loss to #2 and #7 and 1 consi win.

Team champs
AAAA- Wheeling Park
AAA- Oak Glen
AA- Barnesville (Oh)
A- Bellaire St.John's (Oh)

Well, I think I've covered what I wanted to say. I want to wish everybody the best of luck this weekend wherever you're having your 'war" at and good luck with your academics and wrestling pursuits the rest of the season. Sorry it's so long, I just hope everybody enjoys reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. Like I promised, I leave you with my AA/A rankings which I posted the other day. If you have any questions or comments, like I always say, feel free to message me at shamrock21jh@hotmail.com or ehughes@mix.wvu.edu.

Til the last man falls,

"Around The Mat" WV AA/A Wrestling Rankings (Jan 16,2006)

103 lbs
1. Shawn Sexton - Independence
2. Ryan Asbury - Oak Glen
3. Justin Fisher - Roane County
4. Mikey Prince - Shady Spring
5. Sean Grose - Clay County
6. Jared Searls- Point Pleasant
7. Dirk Bauer - Wheeling Central
8. Sean Gungle - Calhoun County

Other top contenders:
Josh Connor- Berkeley Springs
Anthony Crist - Braxton County
Justin Knopp- Williamstown
DeAngelo Castro - Oak Hill
Tommy Myers- Tyler Consolidated

112 lbs
1. Robert Rash - Independence
2. Ethan Dray - Oak Glen
3. Ben McCoy - Man
4. Chuck Richards - Ritchie County
5. MacKenzie Peters - Williamstown
6. Danny Palmateer - St.Mary's
7. Andrew Young - Herbert Hoover
8. Cody Clarkson - Roane County

Other top contenders:
Matt McCourt - Clay County
Seth Jarvis - Calhoun County
Bradley Reed - Berkeley Springs
Anthony Shillenburg - Fayetteville
Chris Senopole - Shady Spring

119 lbs
1. David Dennis - Ravenswood
2. Jake Justice - Independence
3. Jordan Adkins - Clay County
4. Tyler Bain - Calhoun County
5. Tony Jones - Williamstown
6. Troy Eckleberry - Oak Glen
7. A.J Blankenship - Berkeley Springs
8. Joey Maldonado - Roane County

Other top contenders:
Robert Blind - Webster County
Drew Mongold - Petersburg
Travis Highlander - Greenbrier West
Ryan Hotchkiss - Keyser
Andy Howrylak - Winfield

125 lbs
1. Randy Ferrill - Greenbrier West
2. Wes Hanson - Herbert Hoover
3. Eddie Burrows - Calhoun County
4. Tommy Young - Webster County
5. Cameron Gallagher - Grafton
6. Cody McIver - Williamstown
7. Nick Greco - Lincoln
8. Aaron Hinzman - Ritchie County

Other top contenders:
Julian Yost - Tyler Consolidated
Corey Parry - Cameron
Paden Potts - Oak Glen
Josh Davis - Independence

130 lbs
1. Zach Basich - Wheeling Central
2. Michael Grilli - Liberty Harrison
3. Tyler Cumpston - Cameron
4. Tre Pyles - Point Pleasant
5. Craig Johnson - Williamstown
6. Corey Cronin - St.Mary's
7. Cody Moore - Herbert Hoover
8. Cornelius Godfrey - Logan

Other top contenders:
Scotty Boggs - Roane County
Jaron Sampson - Calhoun County
Ricky Goodwin - Wirt County
Lucas Andrews - Berkeley Springs
Preston Andrews - Oak Glen

135 lbs
1. Ryan Flowers - Williamstown
2. Justin Ramsey - Calhoun County
3. Andrew Lester - Shady Spring
4. Nick McCoy - Gilbert
5. Dirk Baker - Oak Glen
6. Jedd Guthrie - Grafton
7. Derek Mitchell - Point Pleasant
8. Derrick Williams - Herbert Hoover

Other top contenders:
Doug Pell - Wheeling Central
Ben Snoberger - Frankfort
Danny Kessler - Greenbrier West
Eric Jarvis - Roane County
Kendrick Summers - Sissonville

140 lbs
1. Jess Mahan - Oak Glen
2. Judd Billings - Ravenswood
3. Anthony Jeffers - Point Pleasant
4. Jeff Goodrich - Calhoun County
5. Matt Fisher - Herbert Hoover
6. John Meadows - Independence
7. Josh Bowles - Grafton
8. Russ Palm - Williamstown

Other top contenders:
Cruz McIntyre - Liberty Harrison
Blake Mongold - Keyser
Chad Swiger - Lincoln
John Peterson - Cameron
Adam Weekley - Tyler Consolidated

145 lbs
1. Cody Mollohan - Herbert Hoover
2. Zach Six - Oak Glen
3. Janson Hall - Shady Spring
4. Scott Durr - Keyser
5. Isaiah Richie - Tyler Consolidated
6. Brandon Baylor - Williamstown
7. Dusty Rogers - Wirt County
8. John Jones - Oak Hill

Other top contenders:
Jamie Poling - Braxton County
Billy Hall - Roane County
Caleb Hart - Calhoun County
Shane Vaughn - Clay County
Travis Helmick - Magnolia
Zach Stemple - Grafton

152 lbs
1. James Casto - Point Pleasant
2. Jeff Pettit - Cameron
3. Cody Miller - Oak Glen
4. Shawn Coleman - Fayetteville
5. Daniel Leach - Grafton
6. David Gianessi - Weir
7. Josh Morris - Herbert Hoover
8. Alex Dunn - Williamstown

Other top contenders:
Larry Dean - Oak Hill
Kevin Tanner - Braxton County
Chase Hyde - Ritchie County
Casey Western - Petersburg
Kyle Reed - Ravenswood

160 lbs
1. Rhett Northcraft - Oak Glen
2. Tyson Bennett - Berkeley Springs
3. Andrew Branard - Roane County
4. Nick Hylton - Liberty Raleigh
5. Kenneth Holland - Greenbrier West
6. Shawn Robinson - St.Mary's
7. Brandon Warner - Point Pleasant
8. Zach Gobel - Grafton

Other top contenders:
French - Poca
Evan Moore- Braxton County
Matt Rector - Herbert Hoover
Sean Neff - Tyler Consolidated

171 lbs
1. Brent Hereford - Point Pleasant
2. Trent Walker - Greenbrier West
3. T.J Osbon - Oak Glen
4. Cody Reed - Berkeley Springs
5. Ryan Fell - Oak Hill
6. Junior Yost - Tyler Consolidated
7. Branko Busick - Weir
8. Cody Scheme - Grafton

Other top contenders:
Justin Ward - Independence
Greg Shafer - Braxton County
Eric Reed - Clay County
Pat Johnson - Liberty Harrison

189 lbs
1. Paul Goodrich - Calhoun County
2. Jacob Antoine - Independence
3. Josh Greathouse - Oak Glen
4. Evan Kendall -Roane County
5. John Walter - Grafton
6. Jeremy Hall - Shady Spring
7. Samson Gianessi - Weir
8. Mickey Davis - South Harrison

Other top contenders:
Holden Roberts - Tyler Consolidated
Colby McCoy - Point Pleasant
Jonson Edens - Sissonville
Caleb Caldwell - Clay County
Michael Tyler - Webster County

215 lbs
1. Isaac Tharp - Greenbrier West
2. Brian Barnhart - St.Mary's
3. Brian Rowland - Oak Glen
4. Brendan Langsdorf - Winfield
5. Matt Griffith - Oak Hill
6. Jared Steiner - Braxton County
7. Josh Simmons - Lincoln
8. Mitchell Gregory - Grafton

Other top contenders:
Pat Reasbeck - Wheeling Central
Jim Bob Anderson - Herbert Hoover
D.J Barberio - Liberty Harrison
Derek Fulmer - Wirt County
Mike Carpenter - Liberty Raleigh
Michael Lamb - South Harrison

275 lbs
1. Heath Shirley - Point Pleasant
2. Dan Dishman - Cameron
3. Russell Talkington - Philip Barbour
4. Andrew Kile - Tyler Consolidated
5. Nathan Walker - Sissonville
6. Justin Whipkey - Calhoun County
7. John Arthur - Oak Hill
8. Rhondall Rhodes - Webster County

Other top contenders:
Eric Sorrells - Greenbrier West
Dave Collins - Oak Glen
Perrin - Logan
Joe Tindal- Richwood
Tray McQuaid- Lincoln (if still wrestling)


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