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West Virginia Mat Lines

by Jenny Sullivan

Mat Lines AA/A Regional Preview - February 17, 1998

Unlike the AAA division, where the state title could go to one of several different teams, it looks like the Golden Bears of Oak Glen will once again be the team to beat in Huntington. Wirt County isn't about to give up without a fight, but they will probably start out the tournament with a numbers disadvantage as Oak Glen could quite possibly qualify their entire team. Wirt will forfeit one class in the regional. Oak Glen should be the only runaway regional winner, as a close race should be expected in each of the other regions.

Regional summaries follow. These are based on regular-season results and are subject to change based on seeding information.


Cameron has a slight edge in the upper weights, but it still won't be enough to knock Oak Glen from the top of Region 1. Both teams should qualify wrestlers in the double digits. Oak Glen could have a number of regional champions, which will bolster their chances in Huntington, especially in the first round.

Possible highlights:
103 - Ash Wenmoth of Williamstown, Eric Noel of Weir, Tyler Hughes of Cameron, and Jason Roberts of Oak Glen are all ranked among the state's top six 103-pounders.
125 - If she's still in this weight class, Amy Alvaro of Weirton Madonna will try to make history as the first female to qualify for the state tournament.
152 - Jason Jones of Oak Glen and Chad Purpura should meet in the finals for one of the tournament's best matches.


There could be a close race for the team title in Region 2 unless Frankfort pulls ahead with more regional champions. Frankfort was also the Viking Smash tournament winner, which is a duals tournament featuring all of the Region 2 schools, but Big Ten winner Grafton should challenge for the title. Region 2 has some outstanding wrestlers that should make the rest of the state take notice come state tournament time.

Possible highlights:
189 - Dan Lahman of Petersburg, Luke Hoover of Keyser, and Justin Underwood of Braxton County are all ranked among the state's top six in AA. Underwood will measure his recovery progress as he is sure to come up against either Lahman or Hoover in the semifinals.
215 - Jake Spicer of Petersburg handed Skeeter Knotts his first (and only?) loss of the year, so the rematch should be much anticipated.
275 - Jeff Martin is believed to be the only AA wrestler left who hasn't tasted defeat. His opponent in the finals should be Stanley Grimm of Grafton.


Once again, Wirt County and Ritchie County should battle it out for the Region 3 title. With such tough LKC competitors as Williamstown and Braxton County wrestling in other regions, Wirt could gain a slight advantage, as some of their wrestlers who placed behind wrestlers from these teams in the LKC could find themselves in the regional finals.

Possible highlights:
112 - In an LKC rematch and possible state championship preview, Adam Schindler of Ravenswood will once again face Jimmy Johnson of Calhoun County.
119 - In the first of what should be back to back Ritchie/Wirt finals, Jason Hayhurst of Ritchie will meet up with Josh Cross of Wirt. Hayhurst decisioned Cross by a 1-0 decsion at the LKC.
125 - Mike Miller of Wirt and Justin Wince of Ritchie have split the victories the two times they've met this year. The two are ranked #1 and #2 in the state, respectively.
215 - Steven Stiles of Winfield should meet up with Jeremy Boatright of Calhoun, who looked to be in fine shape at the LKC after returning from a football injury.


Region 4 could see some excitement in both the individual matchups and the team race. Big Creek won the Coalfield Conference title over Independence, but as is the case in Region 3, Independence may reap a bigger reward from the absence of the AAA Coalfield competitors. Both teams could have about the same number of wrestlers in the finals, and both teams can qualify wrestlers in the double digits, which could lead to a close race for the tournament title.

Possible highlights:
119 - Brandon Blake of Independence and Dennis Blankenship of Greenbrier West have a great rivalry and should be expected to meet up in the finals.
160 - This weight class should be a battle of the Adams as the state's two top-ranked 160-pounders, Adam Blevins of Iaeger and Adam Lewis of Liberty-Raleigh should meet each other in the finals.
171 - Steve Kinley of Liberty-Raleigh and Anthony Perdue should meet in the finals for another exciting matchup.

Contact Jenny Sullivan at sullivj2@oak.cats.ohiou.edu

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Updated February 17, 1998