West Virginia Mat Lines
by Jenny Sullivan
Hereís the line for January 7, 2003
Sean Smith remembered his socks.
In fact, the entire Parkersburg South wrestling team remembered. They remembered that each
time their team has faced perennial AA/A champion Oak Glen the visiting team has
gone home the victor. This year was no different, as the Patriots handed the
host Golden Bears a 43-21 decision in the annual meeting of the stateís defending
AAA and AA/A champions.
Those who attended last yearís dual (in which Oak Glen won 38-27), probably remember
when Coach Shaw of Oak Glen approached the official during the 140-pound match between
Southís Smith and Oak Glenís Steve Flowers. Shaw was probably the only person in the
Rod Oldham Athletic Center who noticed Smithís socks werenít visible.
The official stopped the match and Smith had just two minutes to remedy the situation
or be disqualified. Teammate Matt Bosley (who was injured at the time but still sitting
with the team) yanked off his shoes and socks and threw the socks to Smith,
who with the help of the coaches, made the footwear transition in time.
Unfortunately, the unexpected display of teamwork was in vain as Smith
fell victim to an 18-3 Flowers technical fall.
This yearís meet might not have been as quirky, but there was plenty of excitement and
it was well worth the price of admission. (Iím still questioning whether or not it
was worth the $110 speeding ticket I got on the way to the match, but thatís another
The meet started with the 130-pound match where promising South sophomore Shaun
Smith met up with Oak Glen freshman Jessie Mahan. Smith started the match conservatively,
but became the aggressor about halfway into the first period, securing the
first takedown of the day with less that one second to go in the first.
Mahan registered an escape in the second, but then Smith began racking
up the points with several cradle attempts - the last coming as time ran out Ė to
take the 11-1 major decision and put the Patriotsí first points on the scoreboard.
In one of the best matches of the day, senior returning state placer Sean
McIntosh of Oak Glen found himself paired with South junior Corey Porter at
135. Porter actually scored the first takedown, but McIntosh quickly answered
with a reversal. After two periods of rumbling and tumbling, Porter held a slim 6-5
lead to start the third. He chose to let McIntosh up, and the two fought for control
the entire third period. Just when it looked like the match was going into overtime,
McIntosh scored the takedown with just two seconds remaining.
Another Oak Glen
state placer, Ian Whittington, squared off with another South junior, Sean Smith at
140. Whittington was actually leading the match 5-0 in the
second when Smith came alive and scored seven unanswered points
against the Golden Bear senior. Not about to give up,
Whittington tied the scored 7-7 with a reversal with
52 seconds left in the match. Just like the 135-pound match,
the score was tied as time was running out, but Smith scored the winning takedown with
just 12.5 seconds left to put his team up 7-3.
Perhaps the most anticipated match of the day had the least amount of action.
Senior defending state champion Steve Flowers of Oak Glen faced returning state
placer Seth Young, another South junior. The two wrestled a scoreless first
period, and by the middle of the third, the only points scored had been escape
points, and the match was tied 1-1. For the third match in a row, the score
remained tied until just the final seconds of the match as Flowers garnered
the winning takedown with 14.5 seconds remaining.
If AAA wrestling fans arenít familiar with the name Codi Norman yet, they might
want to sit up and take notice. Norman, along with Aaron Kelley
and Chad Porter (two other names to remember), are a talented
trio of freshmen South wrestlers who are making a lot of noise as they
also make history. This is the first year Parkersburg South has had
freshmen on their wrestling team, and wow, what a way to start!
Iím not the first to say it, and I wonít be the last - donít be surprised
if you see two if not all three of these young men wrestling for state
championships at this yearís state tournament.
Norman, fresh off an impressive third place finish at the Brecksville Holiday
Tournament, never gave up the lead in his 152-pound match with senior
returning state placer Matt Wharton. Norman actually held a four-point
advantage late into the third until Wharton registered a reversal with two seconds
left to finish the match with an 8-6 Norman win.
Patriot fans who didnít make the trip to Brecksville last week missed the Kyle
Walters that they remember from last yearís state tournament. At Brecksville,
Walters dominated his opponents en route to the 160-pound championship, grabbing
four pins, three of which came in under one minute. However, the win Saturday
over junior Garrett Railing didnít come quite so quickly. In a low-scoring
match that saw Railing get penalized twice for stalling, Walters walked
away with a 4-2 decision.
Patriot senior Bryce Pickens registered the first pin of the day as he put away
freshman Rhett Northcraft in the first period of the 171-pound bout.
Oak Glen has a promising freshman of their own in Cody Potts. Potts has
had some success in tournaments this year including third place finishes at the
Brooke Classic and the Knights Inn Invitational. Although the 11-4 doesnít
reflect it, his 189-pound match with junior Curt Radcliff was a good one.
Radcliff (who has had to wrestle in the shadow of his brother, 2000 State
Champion Clint Radcliff) actually may have brought out the most excitement
in the large South contingent as he took several shots against Potts. The
score was as close as 6-4 Potts after Potts let Radcliff up in the third,
but the slim margin lasted but a few seconds as Potts took his opponent
to the mat with 22 seconds left and held him there for the remainder of
the match to take the 11-4 victory.
The next two matches clearly belonged to the Golden Bears as senior Bill Whitehill
put away senior Wes Young with a pin in the second. With the score 2-1
in Whitehillís favor to begin the second, Young deferred and Whitehill
chose down. Whitehill gained the reversal in less than 30 seconds, and
that was all she wrote as he put the Patriotís shoulders to the mat just
a few seconds later.
South sophomore Josiah Dorton held his own in his varsity debut against Patrick
McGillian, fighting off three nearfalls and lasting almost 2 Ĺ periods.
However, the talented senior proved to be too much for the young Patriot
as McGillian flattened Dorton in the third to give Oak Glen the lead
for the first time in the meet. That lead would be short lived though, as the
Patriots won the final four matches via pinfall.
Freshman Aaron Kelley, one of the stateís best at 103, captured the quickest
pin of the day over sophomore Brandon Miller, taking just 55 seconds to do so.
Junior Felix Osuna Cotto followed suit with a first period pin of his own
over 2002 third-place finisher Justin Goneau, a senior.
Freshman Chad Porter took just a little longer to cash in, as he built up a 7-1 lead
over junior T. J. Glass before registering the pin with a mere 0.9 showing on the clock.
Patriot captain and senior Shane Grogg displayed late season form as he built
up a commanding 16-4 lead over junior Shane Wright before securing the pin in
exactly five minutes.
Grogg and the two Porter cousins are the second-generation members of the famous
Porter wrestling clan folks remember from the 80ís.
Corey is the son of Eddie and Cindy Porter, Chad is the son of Gary and Tammy Porter,
and Shane is the son of sister Kelly and husband Pat Grogg.
Although the Porters are related, the other South wrestlers sharing
last names, such as Wes and Seth Young, and Sean and Shaun Smith are not.
Itís bad enough to have wrestlers with the same last name, but Coach McCartney
admitted that it gets a little confusing having two wrestlers with both
first AND last names the same. He says he differentiates between the
two Smith boys by calling Sean Smith ďSeenĒ.
Although Oak Glen lost the match by 12 points, donít go writing off the Bearsí
chances for an unprecedented seventh AA/A state championship. They have tremendous
depth come tournament time, and they demonstrated that depth in
late December with a win at the Knights Inn Invitational,
taking the team title without crowning a single champion.
And just because South won in convincing fashion, donít be too quick to
hand them their fifth straight AAA title. The Patriots face some tough tests in
January, including a first round matchup with the nationís #3 team,
Nazareth of Pennsylvania, at next weekendís Virginia Duals.
And then on January 22 the Patriots, who are ranked #2 in West Virginia,
will face crosstown rival and top-ranked Parkersburg to determine bragging rights
not only citywide, but statewide as well.
I was happy to see my friend Bob Wilson Saturday. Wilson, who had served as
an assistant coach at John Marshall for the past few years, now teaches
at the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center in Hancock County and is a
first-year assistant to Coach Shaw, whom Iím sure is happy to have Coach Wilson on board.
And finally, I have to give credit where credit is due.
Former South state champion John Duncan predicted a final score that
was pretty close to what the actual outcome was. Naturally I scoffed
as I was (as were a lot of people in the state) expecting a much closer
Well, next weekend I have my annual January diversion from wrestling as
I work at the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals Convention
in Charleston. Fortunately, this is the first year that I can
ever remember the convention not falling on the same weekend as
the Winnerís Choice, so weather permitting, Iím looking forward
to heading to Fairmont in a couple of weeks to see some of the
stateís finest wrestlers go head to head in one of the stateís finest tournaments.
Speaking of fine tournaments, who knows, maybe I just might
sneak away from the convention and head down I-64 to Nitro
this Saturday and check out some of the action at the
Nitro Invitational. Iíd just better not try to get there
too quickly. I canít afford another speeding ticket!
Return to the Mat Lines index
Return to the WV-Mat front page