West Virginia High
School Wrestling

West Virginia Wrestling -- March 1998 Forum (Part Two)

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March 5, 1998
From: Roane Fan
comments: To Wrestler: You need to put Josh Craddock under Nick Hedrick in the 140 class. If you saw the semifinal match you might agree that it could have gone either way at the end. I don't want to take anything away from Hedrick but I think any fan in the building could see that they should be in the finals. Also I want to commend Josh on the way he handled the loss. That was an excellant example of sportsmanship. Maybe some day the SSAC will wake up and seed the regional champions.

March 5, 1998
119: Matt George defeated Jason Hayhurst 6-0 in a dual. If he had been awarded 5 near fall points, this would have made the score 11-0. Hayhurst is a great wrestler but George was in control the whole match.

March 5, 1998
From: half nelson
comments: Here are the 12 proposed weight classes for PA next year:
105, 112, 119, 125, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189 & 275. Sounds reasonable to me.

March 5, 1998
From: B.COX
comments: I would like to congratulate my brother (in-law), Luke Salmons, for his accomplishments this season. Luke has shown true dedication to the sport of wrestling and has obtained the title of State Champion in only 3 years on the mat. Thank You Luke, and I look forward to watching you compete in college and as a professional athlete.

March 5, 1998
to conehead
comments: Prather was not undefeated; he had been beaten bye Chris Johnson of Nitro (by way of fall)

March 5, 1998
Editor's note: Can someone help me out here. Smith from Ripley who was in the states at AAA 112, presumably finished 5th in AAA R4 and stepped in for Perdue of SS, what is Smith's first name, class (fr, so, jr, sr), and record? I'm still working on buffing up the bracket to post for archive, and this info is not in the state tournament program.

March 5, 1998
From: Homer Southwood
comments: To Jay White and others that I may offended,
My apologies for mentioning what was said in a coaches meeting. I was not aware of a code of silence at these meetings since they are open to the media, but I am aware of a code of ethics, which I violated. So my apologies. I will not reveal who Homer is but I will reveal who he is not and he is not a coach. The particular meeting where the act occurred was not a closed meeting and the walls do have ears. Doors were opened, fans were right outside. Boosters, table workers, matmaids, school officials, custodians and many others were in and out of the room. So Homer could be a number of people. You're right, there are two sides to every story. But I do not back down from a coach ridiculing the rules of the sport and I thought I was only looking out for the best interest of the wrestlers. The few times I observed the coach at the State Tournament, I found him very professional and consider the matter closed at that time and also consider this topic closed. My sincere apologies if any other wrong assumptions were made.

March 5, 1998
From: LuAnn email: jshomo@neumedia.net
comments: Congrats ZACK....what a wonderful job... I enjoyed watching you wrestle this year!!

March 5, 1998
From: Nick Busick
email: bu118@onvet.com
comments: To: Conehead (reference comments AA 189 lb) I'll have to prefix this comment by saying I think the world of Kupfner and Robert Busick is my son. In saying that I will try not to sound like a father sticking up for his son and let my comment reflect facts. Did Conehead watch the same championship match I did in 189 AA? Busick wrestled the entire tournament defensively until the championship and came out like an animal in the finals. Busick in all his matches was in fantastic shape and it showed by injury time taken. The coaches and myself advised him no more defensive wrestling in the finals and he didn't. Yes the score against Dan was close 6-4. The final against Kupfner was 5-3. The two that made it to the finals of the 189 lb AA were the ones that belonged there. Congratulations to Kupfner as the 189 AA champ. It's a great weight class. In closing, the saying applies, IF WINNING IS NOT IMPORTANT - WHY DO THEY KEEP SCORE?

March 5, 1998
From: Mason County Jr.
question: Why doesn't the State Tournament follow the recommended cross-bracketing that is outlined in the rulebook?

March 5, 1998
Matside Publications\USA Today\ESPN SSA Super 25 Wrestling Rankings
by Larry Chaffin Publisher

1. St.Edward Lakewood, OH (17-0)
2. Blair Academy Blairstown, NJ (23-2) ***
3. Broken Arrow , OK (14-0) *,**
4. Northampton, PA (21-0)
5. Great Bridge Chesapeake, VA (21-0) *
6. Choctaw, OK (9-1)
7. El Reno,OK (13-1) *,**
8. Providence Catholic New Lenox, IL (19-2) **
9. Owatonna, MN (41-1) *
10. Mt.Carmel Chicago, IL (24-1)*
11. Crater Central Point, OR (11-1) *
12. Newberg, OR (16-0)
13. St. Marks Willmington, DE (17-2) *,**
14. Lincoln Wisconsin Rapids, WI (25-1) **
15. Bald Eagle Wingate, PA (18-2)
16. Mount Pleasant , PA (17-0)
17. Grundy, VA (17-1)
18. Parkland Orefield, PA (17-3)
19. Idaho Falls, ID (18-0) *
20. Ponderosa Parker, CO (8-0)*
21. Brandon, FL (11-0) *
22. Poway, CA (18-0)
23. Mt.Anthony Union, VT (24-0) *
24. Assumption Davenport, IA (27-0) *
25. Oakville St.Louis, MO (22-1) *
* ---- State Champions
**--- Dual State Champions
***--- National Prep Champions

March 5, 1998
From: AA-A Wrestler
comments: In regard to everyone talking about who deserved the Most Outstanding Wrestler award. I am good friends with David and he is a great wrestler. I think the award should be given out to whoever has the best season AND state tournament. I think Josh Waugh should've been given the award last year (co-recipient w/ McKeen). Josh was 49-0. He had less than 5 points scored on him ALL YEAR, and they were intentional escapes to get another takedown. He also was not taken down ALL YEAR!!! He wrestled less than 3 minutes in the entire state tournament. All of his wins were by fall, and he was only taken into the third period ONCE. Has this ever been accomplished before???? Does anyone believe that any wrestler will ever do this again in WV??? I don't.

March 5, 1998
From: a wrestler
comments: Out of thought, who do you think the best wrestlers in the state are? Going by state champions, who is clearly the best wrestler by weight class?

103 Ash Winmoth Alex Reed
112 Jimmy Johnson Daniel Bonasso
119 Jason Hayhurst Matt George
125 Mike Miller Joe Thorpe
130 Logan Glass Adam Gorby
135 Mike Witherow Chris Wilson
140 Nate Smith
(Jason Miller)
Nicholas Hedrick
145 Denny Lebec Jason Johnson
152 Chad Purpura
(Chris Basford)
Jason Ward
(William Steele)
160 David Drennen Ryan Besedich
171 Steven Kinley Mike Thompson
189 Brandon Kupfer Jason Conaway
215 Garret O'Neil Geno Ochap
275 Luke Salmons Zach Kerns

Anyone have an opinion?

March 5, 1998
comments: I think that we should have a AA-A vs AAA Duals match to see who is the best wrestler in the state of West Virginia clearly is That would be great to see something like that. A state finals of the state finals......

March 5, 1998
From: Jenny Sullivan
email: sullivj2@oak.cats.ohiou.edu
comments: To: Jay White and anyone else who may be wondering about the identity of Homer Southwood. Homer's "identity" was revealed to me a few weeks ago, and let me assure you that "Homer" is not a coach. And to whomever mentioned this to Tim McCartney at the state tournament, please remember that coaches aren't the only ones who attend scratch meetings.

March 4, 1998
From: R.S.
comments: With two wins in two matches with Alex Reed of Point Pleasant the AAA state champ, one win by pin, I would say that Ash Wenmoth of Williamstown was the best 103lb wrestler in the state.

March 4, 1998
From: Randy Bierce
email: Hummmbert@aol.com
comments: comments: WSAZ: entering a Jr. High team
Let Bill Archer know you want to enter and he will send you an entry form around the 1st or 2nd week of January.

March 4, 1998
From: Adam Blevins
comments: First I would like to take time to congratulate Drennen on winning the title. Next I would like to note some of my thoughts of who will be tough next year. I think Lewis can be the man next year if he doesn't lose heart. I also believe that Waugh could be a finalist. When wrestling Widmyer at state last year I wouldn't have guessed him to come back as stong as he did. There are more that should be noted but I have a time limit. Last thing I want to say is even though Jones in 152 was destroying my brother, at the end of the match Daniel had him pinned. Daniel will be tough next year, in fact he almost be Lewis this year at the BNI.

March 4, 1998
comments: Any idea when the full brackets will be posted on the site?
Editor's note: Working on them. Hopefully, by the end of the week.

March 3, 1998
From: Robert Hickman
email: SHickman@aol.com
comments: Where or who can I get information from on entering a Jr. Hi team in the WSAZ tourn. next season? Are there any freestyle tournaments coming up soon anywhere close to WV?

March 3, 1998
From: Joe Thorpe
comments: Is anyone selling tapes of the AAA finals match. If so could you post your address, and how much you're selling them for.

March 3, 1998
comments: Great Job to the West Virginia Mat page....
My only complaint, is in the outstanding wresters page.... why do the top 3 juniors and seniors from 96-97 get recognized, and not the top 3 from 95-96....
I wrestled then, and I can think of many a wrestler who came in 3rd that year, who lost VERY close matches to the state champ... some as one of the VERY few if any matches they lost all year... I think some of those matches could have gone either way, (not to take anything away from the champions) but, I definately think the other wrestlers should be recognized as outsatnding also!!
Editor's note: Good question which I'll be glad to answer. The first "top wrestlers" page, composed in the 95-96 season, was done at the suggestion of Tom Owens of InterMat. The idea was to put up a "scouting" page of sorts to identify wrestlers who have the potential to wrestle at the next level -- to provide info for college coaches. Quite frankly, at that time I didn't think that college recruiters would be interested in other than state champs. Well, the next year, I decided that maybe they would be interested in the top three, so I added that as well. An arbitrary decision. As the page has evolved, perhaps the "Outstanding Wrestlers" page should simply be viewed as a tribute to our top wrestlers in West Virginia. I should not try to second-quess what the college coaches are looking for. (In fact, Tom suggested that the college coaches already knew who the state champs were, but were interested in finding out about a good prospect who didn't make it to the states due to injury or for whatever reason. I am certainly not qualified and don't even want to attempt to become a scouting service for colleges with the intent of uncovering "unknown talent," so I leave that as a challenge not taken).

While on the subject of college recruiters, I can say for a fact that there are college coaches who scan this site, and some may be as interested in the "Academic All-State" list as they are in the "State Champion" section. I know one graduating senior in particular who began receiving letters from a college coach in New England last summer, who was told "..... the biggest obstacle you will face in wrestling for _______ is just getting admitted to the school"

At any rate, I'll put it on my "to do" list, and buff up the '95-96 top wrestlers page.

This might be a good time to acknowledge the advice and support of Tom Owens of InterMat who gave me some good input as this site was being developed, and also to acknowledge Joe Laruau of The Mat who told me I should put up this site in the first place. My first attempt at website development was to put up a site for Preston Mat Club. Having done this, I dutifully announced the site to Tom Owens and Joe Laueau, both of whom started sending me email requesting info on West Virginia wrestling. The first posting of State Tournament results and Top Wrestlers was directly a result of an inquiry by Tom; and Joe, after looking at the mat club site, encouraged me to do a state site. Well, things got a little out of hand from there ..... (smile).

March 3, 1998
From: Randy Elliott
comments: How about them GOLDEN BEARS!!!!! Great Job, Coach Shaw and the rest of the staff!

March 3, 1998
From: Jenny Sullivan
E-Mail: sullivj2@oak.cats.ohiou.edu
To Back Points: Thanks for the nice things you said (thanks to you too, Mr. LeMaster), but I hardly think I'm in the same category as folks who have devoted their entire professional lives to sportswriting. I'm just a person who can't stop talking about wrestling. I talked to Bruce Short last year via e-mail and he seems like a great guy. I've never read any of his articles, but I'm sure he's very deserving of the award and my congratulations go out to him.

As for the chat site, I don't have the Internet at home, although I plan to get it one of these days. I'm sorry you're having trouble e-mailing me.

I love to go to pee wee tournaments and I usually work at a couple during the year. I'm planning on going to the state tournament in Parkersburg this weekend, but I'll miss the state tournament in Clarksburg. I wish there was still just one junior state tournament, regardless of the location.

March 3, 1998
From: Blue Cyclone
comments: I would like to congratulate the wrestling team from Calhoun Co.H.S. Although there are only twelve wrestlers on the team, they managed to qualify nine and place five of them. Finishing 5th in the State this year and fourth in 96/97 is no small task in this hotbed of athletic competition. Additionally, the team was the defending champion of AA Region 3. Although there was no mention of their accomplishments in the Parkersburg News, it should be noted that Jimmy Johnson gained his second State Championship at the State Tournament. Also, Eric McCartney finished strong as the 135# runner-up. I don't think you have heard the last of these guys, and I wish them and the other wrestlers all over our State Good Fortune, and we'll see you next year!

March 3, 1998
comments: Comments about Stewart and Basford in the finals. I honsetly do not think that Stewart would have won the 152 pound class. Basford had his best tournament of the year. From what was said, he was never really healthy all season. He came into the state tournament with nothing but determination. In my opinion, it would have, should have, been Basford in overtime over Purpura. At least an overtime. Look what Basford did to Jones in the quarter finals. The match wasn't even that close. The score was 19-15 at the end, but Chris kind of watched the clock at the end, and got caught sleeping on top, and put on his back. Now take a look at what Jones did to Stewart in the third and fourth place round. Jones ripped Stewart 13-2. Honestly, I think it should have been the two of them (Basford and Stewart), in the finals, but some tough calls cost Stewart his match with Purpura 6-2. In the finals, Purpura won 5-4. Chad had a great showing, but we will never really know what would have happend in overtime. I am not taking anything away from Jones or Purpura, but the region two boys should have both been in the finals. In the future, there should be two officials during a states tournament. Congratulations to all four of those wrestlers. They were clearly the best four in 152 AA-A. But I would really take a look at Tommy Widmyer next season. He gave a great effort at the states this season, and he will be one to watch out for next season.

March 2, 1998
From: Steven "Conehead" McCarty
email: smccarty@wvu.edu comments:
It was another great weekend in Huntington, with several great matches and several upsets. Before I start my "view" of the state tourney, there is one item of business that I would like to get off of my chest about the referees. Even though I thought they may have made a questionable call in one match, people have to realize that the refs are only human. It's hard to officiate matches will all of the noise in the civic center (especially the AAA matches) and the refs are under as much pressure as the wrestlers when it comes to making the "right" call. As far as the Jason Ward match is concerned, I think that Mr. Rick Hare was the referee in that match and he made the correct, if unpopular, call. However, I noticed that stalling was a big problem this year, and most of the violators were not docked for their wrongdoing until the third period, and by this time it was too late. Several times in the finals the man (I'm not trying to be sexist, just keeping with my singular/plural word agreement) with the lead in close matches would ride parallel throughout the end of the second period and the whole third period and only get busted with one penalty point. Some definitive rules need to be set for stalling before next season rolls around.

As far as the wrestling goes, I was very impressed for the most part. The 103 pound weight class (remember, this is a AA-A perspective) really caught my attention with the performance of Ash Wenmoth of Williamstown. Not only did he defeat previously undefeated Nick Prather in the semis, but went on to really dominate his finals match against Jason Roberts of Oak Glen, especially in the third period. My only problem with 103 was the number of vacant slots in the bracket, which provides for an unfair advantage for the wrestlers that get the byes.

The 112 lb. final surprised me, as I thought that Jimmy Johnson would walk away with it, but Willie Westbrook (ended up with fourth), Nathan Miller (ended up with fifth), and Tyler Hughes all gave him outstanding matches. As expected, Johnson did win his second title for Calhoun County, but several freshman performers (such as Hughes and 3rd place Adam Schindler) showed great promise for state titles in the upcoming years.

One name can sum up the 119 class: Hayhurst. Jason Hayhurst of Ritchie gave one of the best performances of the tournament this year, clear up to his dominant 8-1 victory over Dennis Blankenship in the finals. It wasn't that Blankenship had a poor showing, it's just that Hayhurst is that good. I think that Jason would have been a four-time champ if he didn't have Ron LeMasters in the finals last year.

Once again, Mike Miller was able to bring home a state title to Wirt County, this time at the 125 lb. class. Miller was not as dominant as he has been in previous years, as proven by his close 2-1 decision over Matthew Valles of Weir in the finals. Weir might have done Miller a favor by taking out Justin Wince in the semis, as Miller has had a rough time against Wince this season. I think that Miller will have a rough time getting a fourth title, especially if he is in the same class as Hayhurst or Wince.

The 130 lb. provided for one of the most exciting finals as Logan Glass of Oak Glen defeated Mark Lowe of Wirt County 1-1 in overtime criteria. Glass may have been the victor, but I was impressed with the performance of Lowe, who many people didn't give a snowball's chance in Hades of beating Glass, and instead he took him to the limit. He gets a big Cone salute.

135 was another class that kinda surprised me. I thought that Eric McCartney of Calhoun would win in a close one over Mike Witherow of Oak Glen. However, I am proven wrong once again as Witherow handed McCartney a sound 7-3 defeat. This should be an interesting weight class next year, as only one of the top four (McCartney) will not graduate next year.

There was quite a bit of controversy in the 140 lb. class following the disqualification of Jason Miller of Wirt County in the quarters against Derrick White of Petersburg. Miller was called for slamming White, and White did not get up so Miller was denied a second state title in a class that he could have walked away with. The ref is not a doctor, so he is only left with one option. I do think that it would have been interesting to see Miller meet White in the consolation finals, but alas, it never happened. Nat Smith of Ritchie took over for Miller, as he handled the competition well by notching pins in the quarters, semis, and the finals.

145 was a little more interesting, as Denny Lebec of Oak Glen gave an impressive performance to win the title. Jason Seville of Berkeley Springs gave him a tough 10-6 match in the semis and he had another tough Region II foe in the finals with Morgan Sisk of Petersburg. I thought that Lebec would walk all over Sisk, but Sisk gets a gold Cone award for his gutsy 6-4 loss. This is only two weeks after he had knee surgery. It was refreshing that somebody actually sucked it up and wrestled in the finals against Lebec despite a painful injury.

Controversy was the name of the game in the 152 class. After Chris Basford of Grafton won a 19-15 barn burner over Jason Jones of Oak Glen in the quarters, his advance to a state title hit a brick wall in the finals against Chad Purpura of Bishop Donahue. Purpura just came off of a particularly "sluggish" match in the semis, but was able to pick it up in the finals. After a hard fought battle, the two men were tied 4-4 with only seconds to go, and then the referee awarded Purpura an escape to win the match. On the subject of whether this was a bad call or not, I'm not the one that earned the right to wear the black and white stripes in Huntington. Nevertheless, I still think that the victor should have been decided in overtime, and that was a terrible way for a senior (and a nice young man) to lose a state title.

And now I must come to the 160 lb class. A wrestler that had a one and a half month lay-off came back to a higher weight class and won it. To top it off he received MOW. I think that David Drennen is a great wrestler, but I wouldn't have voted for him for MOW. Of course, a three-time state champ is nothing to sneeze at so congrats are in order for Drennen.

The 171 final pitted two wrestlers against each other that defeated better wrestlers in the quarters. Anthony Perdue of Independence defeated Ryan Dingess of Petersburg by a tally of 8-6. Why this match is significant is because my point about the rules concerning stalling can be made here. I didn't see Perdue take one shot the entire match, and Dingess took at least ten, if not more. However, Perdue was not called for stalling once. Perdue to made it in the finals where he suffered a 5-2 decision at the hands of Stephen Kinley of Liberty Raleigh.

As much as it seems that I bash Dan Lahman of Petersburg, I have to say that he should have been in the finals, but he made a big mistake in the quarters and it cost him. Against eventual finalist Robert Busick of Weir, Lahman gave up a five- point move in a match that turned out to be 6-4. However, Huntington does not always allow the best wrestler to win. As expected, Brandon Kupfer picked up his first state title with one more to go, provided that 171 lb AAA champ Mike Thompson doesn't jump up to 189 next year after Shady jumps down to AA-A.

As it is year after year, 215 was dominated by about two wrestlers. One of them, Jake Spicer of Petersburg, gave up a huge lead in the quarters only to lose in OT to finalist Stephen Stiles of Winfield. The other, Garrett O'Neil of Cameron, pinned his way to a state title, rather easily I might add. I have enjoyed watching O'Neil wrestle, because he is a 215 pounder to actually use more skills than strength. I am sorry to see him leave.

Heavyweight was filled with pins as usual, but the finals brought a great match between two outstanding wrestlers, Luke Salmons of Ravenswood and Alex Mcclung of Oak Glen. Salmons may have came out on top by a count of 3-2 on this one, but both are only juniors which should provide for another interesting finals next year.

As always I welcome (and enjoy) all e-mail, so keep 'em coming.

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Updated March 2, 1998