West Virginia High
School Wrestling

West Virginia Wrestling -- December 1997 Forum (Part Three)

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December 31, 1997
From: The Editor
Contratulations to the staff of Wheeling Park High School for a well run 1997 Domino's Wheeling Park Duals. Tournament Director Steve Shaffer did an outstanding job of juggling 20 teams on 7 mats in 16 rounds in 2 days. That comes out to around 100 team duals and around 1400 individual matches (but who's counting). Thanks to Steve, WP athletic director Eric Carder, and also Shane Shaffer and Char Rebulski for their fine hospitality and assistance in providing match results for this web site.

This year's format was as follows: Teams were initially placed in 5 pools of 4 teams per pool. Each pool wrestled round robin within their 4 team pool. Those teams with 3 wins and 2 wins in the initial pool were then placed in an "A" pool, and teams with 1 win and 0 wins were placed in a "B" pool. For the remainder of the tournament (the next 7 matches) teams were assigned matches within their own pool, either "A" or "B." This had the obvious effect of keeping the competition fairly even throughout the tournament from team to team.

Cabell-Midland sealed team honors with a 36-32 victory over North Marion in a match that came down to the heavyweights. I'll let the reader compare the results with thier earlier meeting to see where the difference lay.

Two day duals such as this are endurance tests, and by the second day several teams were short handed due to injuries, etc. The AAA race this year may be up for grabs, and come down to who can stay healthy (physically and academically).

A note to Region 4 watchers: Look out for Buckhannon Upshur this year. They win the award for raising the most eyebrows at the tourney. The Bucs have always had quality wrestlers, but in recent years have been hampered by an incomplete roster. This year BU has 13 of 14 slots (missing a 171) filled with quality athletes. Watch out.

December 31, 1997
From: BL
comments: Who does everyone think will win the AA/A championship at 145 this year? I give my vote to Richards of SH.

December 30, 1997
From: Lipps
comments: I would like to congratulate the south on showing the north how to wrestle at the Domino Classic.

December 30, 1997
From: scouting fan
comments: At Webster on the 20th of Dec., Kerns pinned Hennessey in the second period and went on to win Outstanding wrestler.

December 30, 1997
From: ed
comments: Re: One weigh-in.
From the April 22, 1997 wrestling committee report to the wvssac Item 7. Bill Archer moved, Nolan VanGilder seconded a motion to only have one weigh-in at state and regional tournaments if it is allowed by the national federation. Motion passed unanimously. (This would be legal by federation rules) Comm. members Bill Welker, Clinician; Nolan VanGilder, Brooke HS; Joe Altobello, Keyser HS; Jim Potts Cameron HS; Bill Archer Huntington HS; Sterling Beane Braxton County HS; Bob Pickens Williamstown HS; Larry Shaw Oak Glen HS; Dix Manning Shady Springs; and Paul Jackson Parkersburg South HS was absent.

December 30, 1997
From: tlp
email: tlpowers@westco.net
comments: I would like to throw the name of Tommy Stiles into the talk of top 103 pounders in AA/A. He's a freshman at Clay-Battelle and has been impressive so far against tough competetion. Also someone better make note of a strong Frankfort team. They won't be far from the top for long.

December 30, 1997
From: tlp
email: tlpowers@westco.net
comments: I have been reading a lot of talk about Sharpe of Elkins at 189. I like Lonnie a great deal but Conaway from North Marion looks unreal so far. I guess we will see how things go in mid January at the Winner's Choice in Fairmont. As for 171 Moreland from Morgantown has been impressive in two outings so far as well as Padovini at 275 for Morgantown. Both were state qualifiers last year. North Marion gets my team vote for #1, looking good Roy.

December 30, 1997
From: heavy weight
comments: At the Builder Square Duals at Philip Barbour High School on December 13th, Hennessy beat Kerns by points. Check out the match results page. They will face each other again most likely before the state tournament even gets here.

December 30, 1997
From: unknown
comments: Good luck to Chirgwin of HHS in all he has ahead. I know you will win the state! Do it for me!!
see ya.....yx

December 28, 1997
From: EB
email: Berry@citynet.net
comments: Say it aint so...is it true there will be only one weigh in at the state tourney this year? If this is true, are there better reasons than easier administration of the tournament. I hope this one is just a rumor, but I heard it from a high school coach.
Editor's note: The word from State Tournament Administration is, One weigh-in only.

December 27, 1997
From: Dr. Hwt.
comments: One more thing - you really can't predict who will face who in the state. The brackets are done by random selection which means any region champ could face any region champ in the semis. Not the finals.
Dr. Hwt.

December 26, 1997
From: Red Devil
comments: To: Observationalist supporter
That is why they wrestle. When Braxton Tourney and the State Tourney rolls around, Calhoun will prove my point.

December 25, 1997
name: Observationalist supporter
comments: To: Red Devil
Thank you for proving my point. If Webster Co. had been at tournament, if I am not mistaken 2 1st, 3 2nd, and 2 3rd beats 2 1st, 1 2nd, and 2 3rd. With or without the excellent wrestler you have at 112. Not to take anything away from Calhoun, who has several top quality wrestlers, but you just proved yourself wrong.

December 25, 1997
comments: When will the offical state rankings come out ??
Editor's note: AA/A is out. AAA soon.

December 25, 1997
From: Red Devil
comments: To: Observationalist and his supporter
At Webster, Calhoun had two 1st, one 2nd and two 3rds, not far behind. Also, our 112 had to withdraw due to illness after going 5-0 Friday. He hasn't lost since 12/12/96. Be careful of accusing people of not having all the facts, because Calhoun is returning 6 state qualifiers who scored a total of 67 points last year at the tourney, while Petersburg is returning 7 who scored a combined 24.5 points.

December 25, 1997
From: Observationist supporter
comments: Dear Red Devil,
I agree with you fully. Petersburg did beat Calhoun straight out. Also the polls should be held, on where a team will place in a tourney (especially states). What you didn't bother to recognize is that Petersburg had two 1st, three 2nd, and two 3rd place finishers at a tough two day duals a Webster. Seven of their wrestlers also have prior state tourney experience. So please, don't be so quick to count any team out until you have all the facts.

December 24, 1997
From: Chris Basford
email: GBas226557@aol.com
comments: I agree with Dr. Hwt. All wrestlers should be more concerned about the match coming up instead of one that is so far away. My quote to all of those who are looking ahead - "we'll see what happens when we get there." But since everyone is talking about the AAA hwt class,and it is not my weight, I have to put my pick on Zack Kerns of Elkins...

December 24, 1997
From: Red Devil
comments: To: Observationalist
Point blank you beat Calhoun. Congratulations! Although it is true about the forfeits, no matter who you have coming in to fill spots they will not be able to beat Calhoun's 103 (future state champ), 112 (current state champ), 160 (whom went 9-0 at Webster) or 171 (if 189 drops down). The poll was an interpretation of how they felt the teams would finish at the end of the year in a tournament, not duals. To the best of my knowledge no award is given to the team who can win the most dual meets. It is who can place wrestlers. And Calhoun is a team that will do just that. Again congratulations on beating Calhoun in a dual, but when we meet again at Braxton's Tourney in mid-January and see each other at the state tourney beware because you will be looking up the scoreboard to find Calhoun's name.

December 24, 1997
From: North Marion Wrestling Fan
comments: I just want to thank the Marion county fan for backing us dawgs. I also feel that if Cabell and North meet again it would probably be closer. North Marion wrestled very well and were very intense.This has to be accredited to Coach Roy Michael. He had them very pumped up and prepared. Good Luck to the Marion county teams and also to a very talented Cabell-Midland.

December 24, 1997
From: Dr. Hwt.
email: lost in fat
comments: Why do you guys continue to send out such foolish statements? I just can't understand why. Last year it was that Hennessey would beat Crabtree (champ) and then Kulpa to win the state at Hwt. Well we know that that didn't quite work out. Why don't all the big guys worry about winning their next match instead of saying they are title bound. Hennessey only beat Morgan (HHS) a sophmore wrestling his first matches varsity by one.

December 24, 1997
From: Observationist
email: bigd@access.mountain.net
comments: I saw the A/AA rankings where they had Calhoun ranked 8 in the state and Petersburg beat them 45-30 and Petersburg gave up 5 forfeits which proves that Petersburg should be a top ranked team. Also consider that Petersburg has wrestlers coming in late to fill the spots. Petersburg also went 7-2 and their only losses were to AAA teams.

December 22, 1997
From: Homer Southwood
The list of teams competing at Wheeling are:
Akron Garfield
Akron Hoban
East Fairmont
Fairmont Senior
Ashtabula Harbor
Lewis County
North Marion
Preston County
Morgantown University
Wheeling Park
Starting time begins at 9 a.m. both days

December 22, 1997
comments: 1998 AAA 275lbs. State Finals:

-------MIKE HENNESSEY---------
   ------ZACH KERNS--------

December 22, 1997
From: Jim LeMaster
comments: To the Marion Co. Fan and North Marion team. Congratulations on a big win over Cabell Midland. I was unable to attend but my son who wrestles for Midland said you guys were pumped! I will get to see the teams meet again at the Wheeling Duals ( I hope). Look for a closer match up this time. The defeat may have helped to wake up the Knights (again, I hope) and also no excuses but Midland was without 3 starters (Arbes, Frazier, and Olson) and many were recovering from the flu bug that has been running through all our schools here. I'm looking forward to watching Frazier and Gorby hook up especially! Here's hoping everyone has a great holiday season. Does anyone have a complete list of the teams coming to Wheeling? I see from the schedule page that PBurg is not attending this year, but aside from Midland, N. Marion, Fairmont, and Jefferson (Wheeling Park, of course) I was wondering who the other teams were?

To Ms. Sullivan, thanks for the new Mat Lines! You do a great job on this column. I wish our local newspaper knew there were sports other than football and basketball. They even print the Greyhound race results and NASCAR stuff but precious little wrestling. Just an occasional box score. I guess that's better than nothing!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Knight!

December 21, 1997
From: Marion County Wrestling Fan
comments: HEY ALL YOU CABELL MIDLANDERS, great match against North Marion. I heard (of your reputation). You came up to the north part of the state and you saw the real state power house. CONGRATS TO NORTH MARION. YOU GUYS WRESTLED TOUGH. THANK YOU FOR SHOWING CABELL MIDLAND HOW TOUGH MARION COUNTY IS IN WRESTLING ...

December 21, 1997
From: WV-Wahoo
comments: Question for the forum:
In the area of WV wrestlers wrestling in college; Isn't Jeremy Hart of Independence wrestling for Appalachian State in Boone, N.C.? He did real well last year as freshman.
Editor's note: This makes two reports we've received regarding Hart at Appy state. Can anyone fill us in on this?

December 21, 1997
From: gatekeeper
email: ossaob@aol.com
comments: Did anyone hear about Hedrick of Fairmont Senior beating the last year state champion Josh Craddock of Roane?

December 21, 1997
From: LKC fan
comments: Some comments from the toughest conference in WV wrestling:
Did anybody miss the Drennens from Wirt County's lineup on the 13th?....Well there is a good chance you will miss them for the rest of the season! Several rumors flying around -- since they are only rumors, I won't pass them along. But they are not expected to return. Also from Wirt County, is Mike Miller's state title run being threatened by a common LKC and regional opponent in Ritchie County's Justin Wince? I think so!! Tune in later for more news from the LKC.
Best wishes to LKC wrestler, Justin Underwood in a speedy but healthy recovery.
Good Luck to all.

December 21, 1997
From: Nick Foster
comments: I know that some wrestlers go through hell sometimes to make weight. The responsibility for the wrestlers health should be that of the parents and most importantly the wrestler himself. No coach, let me rephrase that, no GOOD coach would, in their right mind force a wrestler to a weight class that he didn't think the wrestler could make safely. It is not hard to cut weight, if you do it the right way. If take your time and watch how much you eat you should have no problem losing weight. There are many people out there that are not involved with the sport of wrestling that criticize our eating habits. What these people should look at is not how little we are eating, but how much they are eating. In conclusion, there are many misnomers that go along with wrestling that "outsiders" don't understand, so please don't criticize something you don't understand

December 20, 1997
From: "Gary Saunders" <nucareintl@email.msn.com>
Wrestler Deaths -- Who Is Responsible?
By Lynn Myers, MD
The recent reports of wrestler deaths saddens us all and raises many questions we all would like answered. Sports related deaths are not uncommon (they occur every year), but when they do occur in an apparently healthy young person or famous figure, they shake us and we think, "that just should not happen." Studies show that these deaths are usually related to previously unrecognized heart problems. In wrestlers, dehydration is often very extreme, which lowers blood volume just like a hemorrhage. This slows circulation of blood and makes any heart problem even more dangerous and even at times fatal. The other potential threat for wrestlers is heat injury. With heavy exercise, the inner body temperature rises. With dehydration, sweating may become impossible and the inner body temperature rises higher and higher until body functions cease. Any time a person drastically dehydrates themselves or purposefully increases their body temperatures to very high levels, bad things can happen.

Some speculation has been directed toward supplements and medications. Creatine, although not confirmed to have been taken by any of the athletes, has been mentioned. Creatine is consumed by hundreds of thousands of athletes every day with no documented serious side effects. The fact is, that anyone who eats meat is taking creatine. It is produced naturally in the body and is found in meats such as beef and chicken. There is an old saying in medicine: "When you hear hoof beats, don't think they're zebras." In other words, when something occurs, look first for the obvious reason. The only correlation, that I am aware of between these tragedies is that all the wrestlers were cutting massive amounts of weight in a short amount of time. The autopsy report, although not yet complete, has confirmed dehydration, heat injury, and heart failure were the causes of death.

Where do we place the blame? Some institutions will not want to take responsibility for allowing a dangerous environment to exist, so we can expect these groups to try to blame these deaths on others -- coaches, trainers, and other factors such as medications, supplements, rubber suits, saunas, etc. This is wrong. I believe that the responsibility lies with the system that has been allowed to continue over many years. The latest changes in college wrestling rules allow weigh-in to occur many hours or even days before key matches. As coaches and athletes know, this encourages deliberate massive severe dehydration in order to make the single required weigh-in for key matches and tournaments. This is dangerous!

What is the solution? Many will suggest rule changes to outlaw the tools that are used to rapidly dehydrate the wrestler. But we all know that many athletes will do whatever it takes to win. I believe we should eliminate the incentive to lose massive amounts of weight in the last few hours before weigh-in. By weighing in right before a match, perhaps even within an hour, athletes would have the incentive to compete at a weight that is very close to their ideal body weight in order to wrestle at their peak. In my opinion, this would help solve the current problem that has long plagued amateur wrestling.

As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." We must change our present system so that wrestlers are no longer pushed into the dangerous practice of cutting massive amounts of weight in short periods of time.

Dr. Myers is a pathologist in Oklahoma City. He can be reached at (405) 525-8211 or at <nucareintl@msn.com>.

December 20, 1997
From: Jenny Sullivan
E-mail: reklus@juno.com
Thanks, Mat Fan, for the words of encouragement. It's nice to know others get some enjoyment out of something which I enjoy so much - talking about wrestling! Ironically, my only wrestling background is as a fan (and cousin of a few wrestlers). My dad didn't wrestle, I don't have any brothers, I don't have any children, and my husband couldn't care less about wrestling. I just got hooked on wrestling as a kid when I went to my first state tournament in 1975 (South's first state title). I'm a graduate of Parkersburg South, and needless to say, I'm a South fan. I have family connections to Wirt County, so they're my AA team - that's why I'm interested in both divisions, not just AAA. I don't consider myself all that knowledgable, just someone who goes to a lot of wrestling matches and reads a lot of newspapers during the winter months!

I think more females are getting interested in wrestling as a sport, and I think that's a very positive thing. Braxton County had a female coach at the state tournament last year, and I was so impressed! I think it's great. I still think we're a good way away from female wrestling officials, but then again, who knows? As for coed wrestling, I'm a little undecided. I've seen several little girls kick some butt in Pee Wee and Junior High, but I think once the kids hit high school, it's hard for the girls to keep up. I was excited to see Amy Alvaro (forgive me if the spelling is wrong) of Weirton Madonna make history by competing in the AA Region 1 tournament last year. Like any other wrestler, she gave it her all, and was understandably upset when she was defeated.

There's a young lady I'll be working with at a beauty pageant in January who is heavily involved in Women's Freestyle Wrestling. (Alicia, if you're reading this, yes I mean you!) I hope to be able to do some sort of interview with her so we can feature it in Mat Lines sometime during the season.

Until then, thanks again for the kind words. You'll never know how much I appreciate them!

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Updated December 24, 1997