After trying to find the perfect time to write this report (and realizing that there is no perfect time) I decided to go with what I have and let the readers call any oversights and/or mistakes to my attention. Please note that these are not predictions on who will place at the state tournament. I usually go with undefeated wrestlers first and go down the list according to wins and losses. In most cases Iíve named way more than 6 wrestlers in each weight class. I just want to report on what Iíve seen and what Iíve read. Hopefully Iíll mention a wrestler or two who might not have caught a lot of attention on this website, but who have enjoyed some success on the mats.
103 - The top three wrestlers in this weight class appear to be Chris Johnson of Nitro (18-0 as of January 10), Alex Reed of Point Pleasant (last yearís runner-up at 103 with only two losses in two years), and Jim Shetler of Hedgesville, who was undefeated the last I read. Other wrestlers to watch are Billy Barrett of Huntington, Greg White of North Marion, Trent Casto of Buckhannon-Upshur, Zach Smith of Jefferson, Derek Kennedy of Wheeling Park, Jon Delligatti of Fairmont Senior, and Jerry Williams of John Marshall.
112 - Beau Hill of Point Pleasant is 17-0 as of January 10. As far as I know, Anthony Regalbuto of Hedgesville is still undefeated, owning a 6-5 decision over last yearís 103-lb state champion Danny Bonasso of Fairmont Senior. Bonasso started the season at 119, but has since dropped down. Other wrestlers in the class who have important victories and losses within the class include Brian Floyd of North Marion, Mark Evans of Wheeling Park, J. P. Stanley of Cabell Midland, Matt Mitchell of Roane County, and Ryan Fullen of Huntington. Clint Radcliff of Parkersburg South wonít face most of his West Virginia opponents until the end of this month, but he has done well as a sophomore wrestling Southís rugged schedule and already owns a win over Stanley. Matt Perdue of Shady Spring could be a sleeper either here or at 119.
119 - Point Pleasant is tough in the lighter weights and undefeated Jeremy Burris (17-0 as of January 10) is one of the reasons. But speaking of tough in the lighter weights, so is the Hedgesville team. Pat Whitmore has been sharing time at this weight class. J. C. Chirgwin of Huntington may be undefeated but Iím not sure. Matt George of Parkersburg is making a name for himself and before the Jefferson Invitational, has not lost to an in-state wrestler. Justin Cox of Parkersburg South has come on strong after his season-opening loss to David LeMaster of Cabell Midland, who has also enjoyed some success. Other wrestlers to watch include Josh Starsick of North Marion, Kenny Griffin of University, Nathan Miller of Preston (who has defeated both LeMaster and Griffin), and Joey Mayle of Buckhannon-Upshur.
125 - After finishing as state runner-up in 1996, Joe Thorpe missed the last half of the 1997 season. Heís back now and is one of the front-runners in the 125-lb class. His most impressive victory to date could be his win over (previously undefeated?) Jared Walters of Cabell Midland in the finals of the Nitro Invitational. (Iím writing this on the morning of the Cabell Midland/Hunting dual, so who knows how things will look tomorrow.) Joel Newberry of Parkersburg (1997 runner-up at 130) has moved to 125 after starting the season at 130. Ryan Russell of Point Pleasant and Dave Hefner of University have only one loss apiece. Brian Flanegin of Wheeling Park has not lost to a West Virginia opponent. Other names to look for are Matt Kotson of John Marshall, Billy Gatian of North Marion, Andy Travise of Buckhannon-Upshur, and Drake Jenkins of Liberty Harrison.
130 - Adam Gorby of North Marion is once again proving to be one of the most formidable wrestlers in the state. If Iím not mistaken heís won every match by pin with the exception of two decisions over Eric Frazier of Cabell Midland, an outstanding wrestler in his own right. Tim Bulford of Prestonís only AAA loss has been to Gorby. Kenny Henline of Lewis County could be a big sleeper this year as he lost a close 5-4 decision to Frazier. Matt Phares of Elkins has several pins at this weight, but has lost at 135. Other names to watch for are Chad Mullins of Ripley, L. G. Corder of Philip Barbour, Derek English of Hedgesville, Brad Davis of Martinsburg, John Bonecutter of Point Pleasant, and Rick Stanley of Brooke.
135 - Jimmy Moles of Herbert Hoover finished second in this class in 1996 and after a year at 145 has dropped back down. One impressive win has been over Justin Coffey of Cabell Midland (which at the time was Coffeyís first loss I believe). Chris Wilson of Preston, Josh Chaplin of John Marshall, and Brian Moats of Hedgesville have not lost to any of their AAA competitors as far as Iíve read. B. J. Sailor of East Fairmont avenged his first AAA loss of the year by defeating Matt Queen of Robert C. Byrd at the East Fairmont Invitational. Other wrestlers with several wins include Mike Cinalli of Fairmont Senior, Jason Singleton of Huntington (highest AAA finisher at Nitro), Jesse Allman of Buckhannon-Upshur, Mike Stone of Roane County, Luke Patterson of Point Pleasant, and Mark Hooker of Nicholas County.
140 - Defending 135-lb state champion Josh Craddock has only lost to Nick Hedrick of Fairmont Senior so far. Hedrick was undefeated until finishing third in the Jefferson Invitational. Region 1 should have some strong competition in Josh Smith of Parkersburg South, Brian Julian of Wheeling Park, Shane Riggle of John Marshall, and Jason Gillespie of Brooke. Other wrestlers to watch are Billy Baisden of Buckhannon-Upshur, Eric Oldham of Hedgesville, Mark Kennedy of Robert C. Byrd, John Ramsey of North Marion, and Chris Raines of East Fairmont.
145 - Two-time defending state champion Jason Johnson is enjoying quite a bit of success in his senior year at Parkersburg South, placing in the prestigious Ironman Invitational and in the Brecksville (OH) Holiday Tournament. However, he will be challenged by a strong field that includes undefeated Mike Hosaflook of Ripley (22-0 as of January 10). A. J. Monseau of Wheeling Park has not lost to a West Virginia wrestler and has handed Adam Dicken of East Fairmont his only AAA loss. Tony Frameís only loss (that Iíve seen) has come at the hands of a very talented AA wrestler (Morgan Sisk). If Joey Cline of Jefferson and Nathan Bexfield of Huntington enter their respective regions at this weight, things will get even more interesting. Two other wrestlers Iíve noticed whoíve had some success are Jason McQuillan of Robert C. Byrd and Eric Golden of Greenbrier East.
152 - Like Gorby, Jason Ward has been dominating this year, winning all of his matches by either pin or technical fall. His chief competition will come from undefeated William Steele of Roane County (20-0 as of January 10). The two have not faced each other this year, even though their teams have wrestled twice. Other wrestlers worthy of mentioning are Nathaniel Seabolt of Herbert Hoover, Ty Emrick of Parkersburg South, Justin Facemyer of Ripley, Matt Miller of East Fairmont, Cameron Shell of Buckhannon-Upshur, and Jeremy Adkins of John Marshall (who could be at 145).
160 - Bob Wilson of John Marshall (runner-up last year at this weight) hopes to finish one place higher this year, but he too has some strong competition, namely Ryan Besedich of North Marion, a runner-up (152) from last year himself. If Iíve read right, Besedich handed J. D. Kirby of Jefferson his first loss of the year. Right up there with these three wrestlers is Dallas Nibert of Cabell Midland. Others names to look for are Bo Burgess of Roane County, Jason Cummings of Morgantown, and Scott Gusic of Martinsburg.
171 - Coming into the second week of January, Ryan Zombro (who was injured last season) was still undefeated. Adam Moreland of Morgantown and Jeremy Rickard of Point Pleasant only have one loss apiece, but the losses arenít against AAA opponents. Brice Cogar of Lewis County only has one loss as far as I know. Josh Blair of Huntington, Mike Olson of Cabell Midland, and Todd Daggett of Parkersburg South also add to the strong competition in this class. Bobby McDonough of Fairmont Senior and Tim Jones of John Marshall could turn some heads.
189 - Lonnie Sharp of Elkins defaulted once this year, but as far as Iíve read, heís been the victor every time heís been in action. Jason Conaway of North Marion has also had a strong year, with his only loss coming in the 215-lb class (1997 runner-up Mike Zebuhr). Tim Wheeler of Parkersburg South was quite successful wrestling at 215, but has now moved down and seems to be getting tougher. Don Alexander of Brooke has not lost to any AAA competition yet. Other names to look for are Simon Copley of Cabell Midland, Jason Cox of Huntington, Mike Roach of Point Pleasant, Eric Barker of Roane County, and Adam Bolden of Liberty Harrison.
215 - Mike Zebuhr of Buckhannon-Upshur (runner-up last year at this weight) has not lost to any of his AAA competitors, but heís got some strong competition in Geno Ochap of Wheeling Park, whom he only defeated by a 1-0 decision. Adam King of Ripley and Adam Bryant of Point Pleasant were both undefeated going into the finals of the Jackson County Invitational, with King getting the decision. Justin Valleau of Nitro, Austin Weser of University, Matt Wehrle of Herbert Hoover, Shane Alford of Hurricane, and Tristan Ashby of Hedgesville will also provide strong competition.
275 - This title could be up for grabs, as at least four top heavyweights have had some success, but have all lost at least once within the class. Mike Hennessey owned early-season wins over Zach Kerns of Elkins and Craig Morgan of Huntington, but then Kerns avenged his loss to Hennessey with a pin. Morgan has continued to be strong, including defeating another strong wrestler, Matt Reed of Lewis County. Jim Gaines of North Marion, Ryan Murphy of University, J. D. Murphy of Hedgesville, and Loren Heldreth of Wheeling Park could make things interesting.
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Updated January 15, 1998