West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker


by Bill Welker, EdD

July 31, 2006

On June 25-28 the National High School Coaches Association Open Championships were held at Virginia Beach's Convention Center. At the event, Wheeling native Dirk Bauer was the only Northern Panhandle wrestler to earn All-American honors, placing 8th at the 103-pound weight class.

Bauer, who will be a sophomore at Wheeling Central this fall, battled his way back, after being defeated by the eventual national champ in his quarter-final match, to gain All-American status. Bauer was elated to place and said, "This is a summer event in which I planned to gain more experience on the mats. Placing in the nationals was just the icing on the cake for me."

Dirk Bauer is a member of the Maroon Knight wrestling team, which is now being coached by Sean Doyle, whose father Dan Doyle was 1973 state champ at Central. Sean competed on the varsity squad for Cornell University and was a former Ohio all-state wrestler at Buckeye Local High School. Recently, the Wheeling Central wrestling program has been gaining more and more respect from opposing teams. Next year, Coach Doyle believes he will again fill all the weight classes and hopes to give all opponents on their schedule a run for their money.

With the likes of Dirk Bauer wrestling for Central, the school's mat program has the potential to regain the prominence on the mats it enjoyed during the late '60s until the mid '80s.

Other All-American place winners from the Valley include Buckeye Local's Willie Saxton, who was a national champion at 140 pounds. Last wrestling season, Saxton was virtually unbeatable, winning both the OVAC tournament at Wesbanco Arena and the state championships at Columbus, Ohio. Saxton plans to attend and wrestle for the University of Missouri in the fall.

Also, St. John's Kayne Melko placed 4th at 145 pounds to earn All-American status. Melko will be matriculating and wrestling for the West Liberty Hilltoppers in the coming years.

The local contingency was coached by Brian Davis, the head mat mentor at Buckeye Local High School.

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Updated March 25, 1999