The Cabell County Middle School League held their championship on Friday, January 28 with Cammack scoring 247 points and taking top honors. A good battle for second occurred with Barboursville scoring 172 and outlasting Milton with 167 and Beverly Hills with 151.5. Enslow Middle hosted the tournament with West Middle not participating. Cammack controlled the lower weights crowning six champions before the 123 class. Barboursville four champions came from 128 and above. Milton had three champions and Beverly Hills two.
DuPont Middle School hosted the Kanawha County Championship on January 27th and 28th which McKinley ran awy with scoring 171 points. Herbert Hoover Freshmen squeezed by Nitro Freshmen for second, 133 to 130. Nitro crowned the most champions with five. McKinley followed with three. Herbert Hoover, Hayes and Riverside each crowned a pair of champions and Stonewall and Sissonville had one each.
The Mason-Dixon Championships were held January 29th at Philip Barbour High School. East Fairmont set the pace at the Championship scoring 199 points. Buckhannon Upshur squeezed by Cameron for second, 157.5 to 156.5. East Fairmont crowned five champions, Cameron four, Buckhannon two and Cheat Lake, South Morgantown and Miller had one each.
The Raleigh County Tournament kicked off championship week on January 25th and featured host Beckley-Stratton as the top team with 226 points. Park held firm to second place with 184 and Shady Spring got by Independence for third, 133.5 to 127. Beckley-Stratton lead the Parade of Champions with seven victors, Park had four and Shady Spring three. No report of the 95 pound class was given.
The Wood County Tournament also kicked off Championship week at Parkersburg High School on January 25th and finished their final rounds on January 26th. Blennerhassett took top honors with 232 points and Edison ran away with second with 180 points. Jackson got by Wirt County for third, 110 points to 107.5. Blennerhassett crowned five champions with Seth Young being named Outstanding Wrestler. Edison had four champs, Jackson-two, Wirt County-two and Williamstown-two.
The PAC-8 held their tournament on January 15th and was lead by Triadelphia with 152 points. Sherrard finished second with 137 points. The Moundsville entry was made up of first and B team members and finished third with 116 points. Moundsville had a schedule conflict and sent a mix team two both sites. Bridge Street managed to crown the most champions with five followed by Moundsville with three. Triadelphia, Sherrard and Warwood each crowned two champions and Union had one.
The Buckeye-Mountaineer Championship was held on December 17th and 18th at Wellsville. Oak Glen was tournament champions scoring 198.5 points, 30 better than Runner-Up Steubenville. Follensbee was the second highest scoring West Virginia team finishing 6th overall. Weelsburg was the third West Virginia team placing 8th. Oak Glen crowned three champions, Wellsburg two and Follansbee one.
Blennerhassett retain their top ranking in the polls despite a regular season set back to rival Edison. Blennerhassett revenged their loss with a dominating performance at the WSAZ and at the Wood County Championship. Blennerhassett has concluded their season. On a side note, I would like to congratulate the former 90 pounder Corey Anthoney on the adoption of his step-father as his legal father. Coreys legal name is now Corey Porter.
Edison took over second place in the polls thanks to an upset victory over top-ranked Blennerhassett and a strong performance at the WSAZ were they finished as Tournament Runner-up. The return of several starters to their line-up has really boasted this team as a top contender.
Harpers Ferry slipped from second to third with 131 points. They currently have a 30-0 record and have won five tournaments. Harpers Ferry has seen little action because of snow and mid-term exams but will conclude their season hosting the Harpers Ferry Duals on February 11th and 12th.
Beckley-Stratton stayed at fourth place but vaulted past Moundsville, who slipped two spots in the ratings. Beckley-Stratton finished a strong third at the WSAZ and won the County Championship this past week.
Moundsville slipped from third to fifth. They had a schedule conflict and sent a mixed squad to both sites. One team finished third at the PAC-8 Championships and the other team won a quad against Cameron, Ritchie County and Tyler Consolidated. Moundsville also won the Shadyside tournament this past weekend to finish their season. Shadyside has a long history of wrestling that dates back into the 1930s.
Despite their second place finish in the Middle School School Division at the WSAZ Tournament, Cammack managed to climb one spot in the rankings to sixth. Cammack finished their season with a dominating performance at the Cabell County Championship.
Cameron also moved up in the polls, jumping from ninth place to seventh. They did not compete in the South Morgatown Duals, as I suspected, but did compete in the Mason-Dixon Tournament wtih a third place finish this past weekend.
Our newcomer to the top ten rankings is WVMAT #8 Williamstown, based on their overall fourth place performance at the large WSAZ Tournament. In the smaller Wood County Championships, where their five forfeits hurt more, Williamstown placed fifth overall. Williamstown has completed their season.
Sherrard slips from 6th to 9th. Their most reported recent outing occurred at the PAC-8 Championship were they placed second.
Finally, Jackson nails down the number ten spot. Jackson last competed at the Wood County Championship where they finished third.
Approximatley 40% of the voters are from the southern part of the State (which I consider anyone located below an imaginary line from Ravenswood to Snow Shoe). Sixty percent of the voters are from the northern part of the state (above the imaginary Ravenswood-Snow Shoe liine). I am the only voter from the Wood County/Parkersburg area. So I do not feel the poll is biased towards any one area. No guidelines were set for the voters. Some probably voted on duals performance, some on tournament performance. Some on a mixture of both. Most of the voters said they depended on results sent in to WVMAT as their measuring stick. In my gut, I feel that Oak Glen may be the best team in the state, but because of late results being posted and lack of common opponents, I voted them sixth in my poll. Other voters votes are confidential with me, but I will share my votes. I based my vote on how I would think a team would finish in a State Tournament. 1-Blennerhassett, 2-Edison, 3-Harpers Ferry, 4-Moundsville, 5-Beckley-Stratton, 6-Oak Glen, 7-Cameron, 8-East Fairmont, 9-Williamstown, 10-Cabell-Midland Freshmen. My other votes would have gone to 11-Wirt County, 12-Hamilton, 13-Shady Spring, 14-Jackson, 15-Cammack. That vote was taken after the WSAZ Tournament. Since that time my mind may have changed on some teams. Our next and final poll will be taken after the Harpers Ferry Duals.
Hopefully, this page and the poll is a focal point to start schools on interacting with other areas of the state and promote Jr. Hi/Middle School wrestling. Last February, I attended a conference in Chicago and met up with an attendee whose 8th grade son was in his first year of wrestling . I asked him what school he wrestled for and he replied that he wrestles for a club, that there wasn?t any Jr. Hi/Middle School wrestling teams in Illinois. So West Virginia is ahead of other states
SPORTSMANSHIP: Wirt County Middle is blessed to have a man like wrestling Coach Kenny Dye working with the students in their school system. With the debate of sportsmanship and shaking hands after a match being conducted over the WVMAT Forum, the actions of Coach Dye at the Wood County Jr. High Championship made me rethink the situation. The responsibility of sportsmanship doesn't necessarily lie on the shoulders of the wrestlers, because they merely reflect the attitudes of those who they learned under, namely their parents and their coaches. The responsibility of sportsmanship lies in the role models placed in authority of youth today.
My wrestling mentor stressed two things to his protégés; one - be a gentleman and sportsman first. Always open the doors for the ladies and elderly, celebrate amongst your own, not in the face of others, your appearance is important both in conduct and dress. two - wrestle your guts out.
What I am praising Coach Dye for happened after the 110 pound championship match. His son, Matt Dye, was facing Blennerhassett's Shaun Smith for the fourth time this season. Matt had won the first meeting at the Southside Quad and Shaun had won the next two, during the regular season and in the semi-finals of the WSAZ Tournament. All of the matches were close, intensive battles and the 110 pound championship was no different as Matt won a hard fought decision. As the two combatants shook hands and went to recognize their opposing coaches, you could see Shaun trying to hold back the emotional loss that was overwhelming him inside. Coach Dye could have quickly shook Shaun's hand and blown him off to celebrate the final victory with his son. Instead, Coach Dye took a moment and put his arm around Shaun, hugged and consoled him as if Shaun were his son and not Matt. That my friends, is sportsmanship. I only wish I could practice what I preached half as well as Coach Dye. I tip my hat to you Coach.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, grieve who those who sorrow. There is a time and season for everything. Tomorrow is another day. It takes less than two seconds for opposing coach and wrestler to shake each other's hand. Is that to much time to spend for someone placed in responsibility, to say an encouraging word and teach a moral lesson whether in victory or defeat? Or is that going above and beyond what the job description and a coach is being paid for? Coaching skills and ethic values doesn't stop with their own team, but in all those willing to listen. It's easy for a child to throw a temper tantrum and go stomping off when things don't go their way. Let?s put away our childish attitudes, swallow our pride, accept the outcome and strive to do better in our next outing.
STATE TOURNAMENT: My apologies for not having a state report last week. After attending the WSAZ Tournament, I realized that it deserved special attention since it is the biggest Jr. High tournament in the state. Without an official Jr. High State, the WSAZ is probably the closest thing to it, yet, without the attendance of the northern and eastern teams, it will always be lacking as a true state championship.
Some coaches and fans have approached me about setting up a state tournament. The boosters in the Parkersburg area are quite capable of putting on a feat, but I doubt if they could attain a large enough facility. The Charleston Civic Center would be ideal, as well as the Huntington Fieldhouse, the Huntington Civic Center, the Wheeling Civic Center or the WVU Coliseum (when healthy). The facility would probably have to hold six or more mats to run a day and a half tournament. I can envision league champions and possibly runner-ups qualifying with several at-large bids to fill out a 24 to 32 man bracket. But the first step is to get clearance from the WVSSAC. Their current by-laws do not include a season ending, elimination tournament such as the High Schools have. Some areas have been told the league tournament does not count in their 14 weigh-ins while other areas have been told they do. If the wrestlers and coaches want such a tournament, then they need to get the ball rolling with their liaisons to the State Board.