Parkersburg South was handed a big defeat on December 20 when they traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to meet up with powerful Lakewood St. Edward. Mike Bosley managed to keep the Patriots from being shut out, as his 13-10 decision was the only win of the day for South. Now before some of you read South their last rites, let me remind you what kind of team (St. Ed) we're talking about here. Not only are they the top team in Ohio, but they're also ranked number one in the entire country. Two wrestlers, Mike Kulczycki and Andy Hrovat, are defending Ohio Division I state champions. Kulczycki and Hrovat, along with Mark Jayne, Gray Maynard, Ryan Fair, and Ryan Kinley also claimed individual championships at the prestigious Ironman Tournament held earlier this month, which annually plays host to some of the nation's top teams.
A word from the Wirt County coaches to AAA fans - watch out for Hedgesville this year!!! (Wirt edged out Hedgesville by nine points at the Max Horz Invitational at Berkeley Springs.)
Now shifting the focus to A/AA, here's the official word on the Drennen brothers of Wirt County. David is being scouted for a possible college football scholarship as a kicker and thus has chosen not to wrestle this year so he can focus on his future in football. Because his brother isn't wrestling, Danny has also chosen not to wrestle.
I finally go to see some A/AA action at the annual "Super Quad" between host Wirt County, Berkeley Springs, Independence, and Williamstown. Two of the Miller brothers (Mike and Jason) were dominating in their matches, walking away with two pins and a forfeit each - officially. Daniel Gilley of Berkeley Springs didn't make weight at 130 but chose to wrestle Mike Miller in an exhibition and gave him a good match before surrendering the pin.
I saw several matches that could be previews of semifinal or even final matches at this year's state tournament. At 112, Nathan Miller of Wirt and Willie Westbrook were pretty much locked up score-wise in their match until Westbrook got the last-minute pin. The 112-pound class should be dominated by the LKC (Little Kanawha Conference) this year. At 119, Josh Cross of Wirt had to take Brandon Blake of Independence into overtime before winning a close decision, his second over the Patriot in just a matter of days. Cross defeated Blake in the championship round of the Max Horz Invitiational by another close score, 8-4. The 171-pound class has to be the toughest classs in A/AA this year. Three of the state's top wrestlers battled it out Tuesday in a win-lose triangle that produced some of the day's best wrestling. Anthony Perdue (Independence) won a hard-fought 6-3 decision against Kris Villers (Wirt) in the first round, but lost 3-2 to Jason Waugh (Berkeley Springs) in the second round in a match that had even some of Wirt County's fans watching that match rather than their own which was going on at the same time on the other mat. Then in the third round, Villers had things a little easier with a 12-5 defeat of Waugh.
Wirt was wrestling without regulars Joey Sharp (103) and Josh Lott (189). Sharp had missed school and wasn't wrestling, and Lott was out with a minor shoulder injury. Heavyweight John Little also sustained an injury in his first-round match with Matt Stafford of Independence. Berkeley Springs was without the services of Henry Fox (112) and Brandon Hovermale (215).
After the first month of wrestling, I think there's enough information out there on the state's top wrestlers to give an early-season rundown of each weight class. I plan to post an analysis for each division at the end of December and January, and prior to regionals in February. These will be "special edition" Mat Lines for two reasons. One is to save space (the regular editions are long enough!), and the other is for easy reference if anyone (myself included) wants to look back during the season to see how off-base I was back in December!!
The A/AA analysis is complete, and upon posting of results from the Wheeling Park Duals, the AAA will be complete. Until then, here's wishing everyone a very safe and prosperous 1998!
Sources: Joe Burton and Frank Burton of Wirt County
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Updated December 28, 1997