Well, I chose to ride a bus for five hours to Grundy, Virginia to see Parkersburg South in a quadrangular rather than drive to Huntington to see the WSAZ tournament. I know I would have seen a lot more action in Huntington, but it's not every day I get to see a nationally-ranked team (Grundy is ranked #12), so I opted for the quad.
After watching South thump Warren, Ohio this past Wednesday and shut out both Pulaski (VA) and Tazewell (VA) in the first two matches of the quad, I was anxious to see how the boys matched up against Grundy. Grundy (12-time Virginia AA State Champion) has an awesome lineup, boasting six defending Virginia state champions and two nationally ranked wrestlers (Luke Owens is #1 at 275 and Scott Justus is #2 at 171). Needless to say, Grundy put on a quite impressive performance with a 59-11 victory, but several South wrestlers held their own, turning in good efforts despite losing.
South has faced some of the best teams in the nation and now it's time for them to face some of the best teams in West Virginia. For those of you who don't have plans Wednesday night and don't mind a drive to Parkersburg, you might want to consider taking in the North Marion/South dual. While there are several quality matches around the state Wednesday night, I don't think anyone would argue that this will be one of the better ones. North Marion has proven to be one of the strongest dual teams in the state this year, and I'm sure they're more than ready to try to take away South's number 1 ranking. And if Coach Roy Michael stays true to form, he'll juggle his lineup to match his best against South's best.
If you do plan to come to the North Marion/South match, you should plan to come early for two reasons. First of all, it will be tough to come at the last minute and find a good seat. South wrestling matches draw more fans than do some basketball games. I heard a young man remarking in the parking lot the other night that "Wow, a lot of fans sure do come to these wrestling matches!". And then a favorite quote from this past Saturday was in reference to this year's Region 1 tournament to be held at South. "Where will everyone else sit?" someone said. Secondly, you don't want to miss any part of the "show". Aside from what is sure to be an outstanding wrestling match, you'll find an atmosphere that can't be matched anywhere else in the state. From the infamous fans, to the music that's pumped through the sound system during warm-ups and between matches, to the "pre-game show" provided by South's own "Mad Max", it's an experience for all who attend.
A lot has been said on the forum recently about junior high wrestling. The Wood County Junior High Championship (which also includes Wirt County and Belpre, Ohio) begins tonight. Several future high school state champions wrestle in this tournament each year, as feeder schools from Parkersburg High, Parkersburg South, Williamstown, and now Wirt County battle it out for top honors. Perennial champion Edison (a Parkersburg South feeder) is once again favored to win. Also on hand will be Erica Dye of Wirt County, who won her division this past weekend at the WSAZ tournament. Erica is hoping to become the second female to win a Wood County championship. Kim Trusty of Jackson Junior High won a title in 1995. It's a shame the Wood County junior high schools aren't allowed to participate in tournaments such as the WSAZ. It's a fine tournament with excellent competition at both the junior high and high school levels. I personally would like to see Parkersburg South return to the field, but I guess you can't get everything you want.
Thank you to all of those readers who have sent me information via e-mail. If you have anything to share, if you have a correction, or even if you have a difference of opinion, feel free to write. I welcome all kinds of feedback - not just the positive! I also appreciate it when someone points out a mistake I've made. Chris Sargent informed me a while back that I incorrectly referred to Justice Smith of Ritchie County as "Justin" (his brother). Thanks Sarge!
I apologize for the limited information. I haven't seen any AA teams since the Jackson County Invitational, and in AAA I've only seen South wrestle out of state teams. I hope to be able to see some more teams in both divisions soon, so stay tuned!
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Updated January 26, 1998