West Virginia wrestling tourney taking shape

HUNTINGTON – The Oak Glen wrestling team had five competitors in the Class AAA semifinals Friday night at the West Virginia State Championships at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

None will wrestler for a title tonight.

Seniors Josh Cornell (126 pounds) and Avery Flowers (132) and juniors Ryan DeBee (106), Danny Wyke (113) and Nick Tice (138) all were beaten.

The quintet, along with sophomore teammate Alex Shuman (152) and junior Noah Mills (285,) will wrestle this morning for the chance to finish as high as third place.

“I knew it was going to be an uphill battle early because our guys were facing some very good opponents,” said Golden Bears coach Pat McGillan.

Brooke’s Preston Wise will wrestle for the opportunity to also place in third place at 285 pounds in Class AAA after he beat Hedgesville’s Anthony Carter 11-0 and Cabell-Midland’s Nathan Jefferson by fall.

Wise was sent to the consolation round after a 2-1 loss to Daniel Nolte of Buckhannon-Upshur in the quarterfinals.

“He wrestled better than I did,” said Wise. “Having a chance to wrestle for third place tomorrow is now my first place.”

Wise will meet old foe Thomas Hall of Parkersburg South, who lost 3-2 in overtime to Huntington’s Nigale Cabell, for the right to wrestle for third.

The semifinal consolation round and matches for third through sixth place will commence at 10:45 today.

“No one really likes losing and I was disappointed I lost, but you have to forget about that right away because the next match (in the consolation round) comes up pretty quick,” said Wise. “You have to do everything you possibly can to fight back and finish as high as you can.

“It was really tough coming off that loss.

“You have to quit feeling sorry for yourself right off the bat and get your head in the game. I had to put everything I had on the table.

“I just went after them (Carter and Jefferson), tried to tire them out and hopefully they would make some mistakes and capitalize on them.”

Wise, who was seen Thursday after weigh-ins walking across a street with a ukulele in his hand, finished sixth last year and will look to string together two more wins for third.

“You know the Samoan guys who play? Well, I’m the big West Virginia white guy playing the ukulele,” he said with a laugh. “My uncle is in a band and I’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument. I did some research on ukulele’s and something in my mind liked it.”

– The final Oak Glen losses in the championship semifinals were to guys who are a combined 198-17.

Two of them were state champs a year ago and two finished third.

“We wrestled some tough kids,” McGillan reiterated. “I am not upset with how our kids wrestled. I knew it was going to be a tough round for us.”

Oak Glen brought 13 wrestlers and will leave with 7 state placers.

“You cannot be upset when you have seven state placers with all of them having a chance to finish as high as third,” said McGillan. “Hopefully we can make some noise in tomorrow’s round and move ourselves back up the leaderboard a little bit and see where we finish.”

Shuman got there after beating Keyser’s Beau Horner by fall and then Bridgeport’s Nick Muller by fall.

Mills lost in the quarterfinals to Bridgeport’s Noah Markley 4-1, but came back to defeat Jacob Smith of Greenbrier West by fall in 15 seconds and then Six, 9-1.

In the five quarterfinal losses, Calhoun County freshman Alen Metheney (47-4) beat DeBee 9-4; Roane County sophomore and third at 113 last year Cam Moore (42-3) beat Wyke 13-0; Grafton senior and 113 champ last year Cody Goff (45-1) beat Cornell 7-2; Williamstown senior and 126 champ last year Dalton George (34-2) beat Flowers 8-1; and North Marion junior and third at 132 last year Austin Stanley (30-7) beat Tice 13-5.