Just a note to all readers: please forgive me if I fail to mention a particular wrestler's name or record. The posts to the results page on this website have been wonderful this year (thanks to the new submission form!), but there are still lots of teams out there who aren't sending in results, so I'm merely going by what I've read and/or seen.
103 - 1997 runner-up Nick Prather of Winfield seems to be the front-runner and is (as far as I know) still undefeated, although he only defeated Ash Gandee of Ravenswood by one point. Other wrestlers rising to the top are Tommy Stiles of Clay-Battelle (undefeated the last I read), and Joey Sharp of Wirt (undefeated in AA). The LKC will play a big part in this weight class as two other wrestlers, Ash Wenmoth of Williamstown and McCartney of Calhoun, have had early success.
112 - Defending state champion Jimmy Johnson of Calhoun is undefeated in the few matches he's wrestled. Look for another LKC-dominated class, as James Harris of Braxton County, Nathan Miller of Wirt, and Willie Westbrook of Williamstown join Johnson as the early favorites.
119 - In one of the state's toughest weight classes, Jason Hayhurst of Ritchie County will try to better his runner-up finish from last year. His much-anticipated matchup at the Ritchie Duals with Wirt's Josh Cross (undefeated so far) never materialized as Cross was unable to stop a severe nose bleed and had to forfeit the match. Cross has already come up twice against a tough opponenet in Brandon Blake of Independence, who finished third last year at 112. Other wrestlers to watch are Greenbrier West's Dennis Blankenship and Ravenswood's Adam Schindler.
125 - It looked as thogh Justin Wince of Ritchie County and Mike Miller of Wirt were going to be battling throughout the year for the top spot in this weight class, but with the departure of David Drennen, Miller has moved to 130. At this point it looks like Wince's toughest competition could come from Wayne Long of Independence, although I'm keeping my eye on several wrestlers, such as Scott Bush of Ravenswood, Scotty Hale of Big Creek, Aron Ransom of Greenbrier West, Bill Timko of Bishop Donahue, and Haid of Winfield.
130 - Mike Miller is hoping to win the same weight class that his brother Jason won last year. He's already faced a tough match in Cameron's Jeff Hughes, winning in overtime. Logan Glass of Oak Glen is another contender at this point in the season.
135 - Every year there seems to be a dark horse, and this year it could be Mark Lowe of Wirt County. Lowe beat out some of his state champion teammates for the 135 spot this year and hasn't looked back since. His only loss to date has come against an out-of-state wrestler, although he has had some good matches with Robbie Richardson of Sissonville and Justin Wenmoth of Williamstown. His major competition should come from LKC rival Eric McCartney of Calhoun, whose only loss (I believe) was by disqualification. Other early-season competition looks to be Mike Witherow of Oak Glen, Tim Toney of Independence, and Zach Liller of Frankfort.
140 - Jason Miller of Wirt is breezing through the weight class so far with several pins. His closest match was a 6-4 decision over Nathaniel Smith of Ritchie County, who lost to Justin Wright of South Harrison, whom Miller hasn't faced. Rob Lamb of Oak Glen and Philip Kesner of Frankfort should also provide some competition.
145 - Morgan Sisk of Petersburg seems to be the front-runner in this weight class so far, defeating previously undefeated Tony Frame of Nicholas County (AAA) and Justin White of Winfield. Andrew Richards of South Harriosn has had some strong performances in December (with no losses of which I'm aware). Jason Seville of Berkeley Springs and Scott Burgy of Wirt have done well also, with Seville owning two wins over Burgy. Defending state champion Denny Lebec of Oak Glen has had a few losses this year, but bear (no pun intended) in mind that Oak Glen wrestles a lot of out-of-state competition.
152 - I'd have to say the top two wrestlers in this weight class for December are Chad Purpura of Bishop Donahue and Chris Basford of Grafton. Purpura's only loss (that I've heard about) has been to an Ohio wrestler. I believe Basford was undefeated last year until he became ineligible to finish the season. Other wrestlers to watch are Jason Jones of Oak Glen, Sam Stewart of Braxton County, Morgan Hall of Clay-Battelle, Marsall McClung of Greenbrier West, and Chad Murphy of St. Marys.
160 - No wrestler has been dominating in this weight class so far, although there are some quality wrestlers with several wins. Names to look for are Jason Ross of Ritchie County, Matt Crookshanks of Clay-Battelle, Josh Kuykendall of Frankfort, Mike Brandon of Bishop Donahue, and Daniel Blevins of Iaeger. I'm also watching Mike Bailey of Sissonville and Justin Walters of Tyler Consolidated.
171 - This has to be the toughest class in A/AA, hands down. For instance, the weight class is lead by defending state champion Adam Blevins of Iaeger, who has already won this year's BNI tournament. Blevins' runner-up at the BNI was Steve Kinley of Liberty-Raleigh, who has been defeated by Anthony Perdue of Independence. Perdue defeated Kris Villers of Wirt but lost to Jason Waugh of Berkeley Springs, who lost to Villers. Whew! Confusing? To make things even more interesting, figure in Bouge Parrish of Cameron, who was injured during last year's state tournament, but is off to a great start this year.
189 - Brandon Kupfer of Cameron has pinned his way to several victories so far this year, but appears to have some promising competition in Steve Wilmoth of Calhoun, Dan Lahman of Petersburg, Mitch Wilson of Webster County, Mark Snider of Ritchie County, and Arnold Houser of St. Marys. Jared Horne of Iaeger won the BNI, but I haven't read much on him. Whitney Vanater of Winfield, last year's runner-up at 189, seems to be having better luck wrestling at 215.
215 - Garrett O'Neil of Cameron is undefeated as far as I know. Frank Arritt of Fayetteville is doing well, although having lost to Jake Spicer of Petersburg, who has lost to Steve Knotts of Frankfort. As stated earlier, Whitney Vanater of Winfield has had better luck at 215 than at 189. Robert Wildman of Oak Glen, Justin Smith of Ritchie County, Eddie Mackerley of Calhoun, and Keith Zebley of Grafton should provide some competition.
275 - I believe both Luke Salmons of Ravenswood and Alex McClung of Oak Glen are undefeated so far, and could remain that way throughout most of the season. Matt Stafford of Independence has been impressive, although he lost by pin to Buddy Hawkins of Williamstown, who has been a pleasant surprise.
Well, that's the way I see things for A/AA as of this last week of December. Please feel free to call any mistakes and/or oversights to my attention. Be sure to check back at the end of January to see how things have changed over the course of a month.
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Updated January 1, 1998