3 Golden Bears, Daniels, Brueck still alive in state tourney
HUNTINGTON — Fourteen northern panhandle wrestlers survived the first day of the 74th edition of the West Virginia Class A/AA state tournament on Wednesday. Eight of those are in the championship semifinals that begin today’s Session III at 10 a.m.
Six schools will be represented inside Mountain Health Arena, with Oak Glen leading the way with six individuals. Half of those are still in the championship bracket, while Cameron, Madonna, Magnolia, Tyler Consolidated and Weir High each have one semifinalist. The Dragons still have three individuals competing, while the Silver Knights have a pair.
In addition to the 28 semifinal matches, also set to take place are third-round consolation bouts. Consolation quarterfinals and semifinals also will occur, as will matches for third- and fifth-places. The 14 state finals will begin Session IV at 6:30 p.m.
The Golden Bears are just about where head coach Patrick McGillian thought they would be with a trio still alive for state titles. They are Logan Davis (106 pounds), Clayton Lamb (120) and Kyler O’Connor (195).
“Logan has wrestled well. Both of his matches started off slow, but he held in there and got to where he needed to be and took advantage of it,” McGillian said of his freshman who is now 19-2 after a 3:45 pin and a 5-2 decision.
“Clayton also started off slow. He was down 7-1 before he woke up. He stormed back to get the 9-7 win.”
Lamb, who was sixth at the same weight a year ago, now is 19-3 as a junior. He scored a pin just before the final buzzer in his first bout.
O’Connor is 21-1 after a 15-3 major decision and a 6-1 decision. He finished third at 182 a season ago.
“Kyler had wrestled that kid before. We knew it would be tight, but if he didn’t make any mistakes, he’d be alright,” McGillian said.
Still alive in the consolation bracket are Kaden Lundy (126), Braxton Dlugopolski (138) and Dylan Heinrich (170).
Daniels earned his trip to the semis with a 11-2 major decision over Sissonville’s Hunter Burdette.
“This is Evan’s first time in the semifinals. He hasn’t fared too well his other two trips, but he works hard and this is well-deserved,” Madonna head coach Jamie Lesho said of his 17-3 senior. “Nobody works harder than he does. I’m very excited for him.”
Brueck earned his way with a pin of Doddridge County’s Adam Burnside in 5:12.
“Jordan was in the semis last year and lost a real tough match in the last second,” Weir head coach Tom Taylor said. “He’s a good wrestler, and he has worked really hard and it has paid off. We have seen the improvement in him.
“He wrestled really smart in the quarters. I’m really pleased with the way he is wrestling right now.”
The Red Rider senior improved to 24-1. He was fourth last year.
Cameron has one semifinalist in undefeated junior Ian Bush (182), who is 25-0. He was a state runner-up last winter.
“Ian’s goal is to show everyone why he is ranked No. 1 and predicted to win the state title,” Cameron head coach Tim Jones said. “He’s all business when he’s on the mat. He just takes it one match at a time.”
Bush received a rare forfeit in the first round before pinning Point Pleasant’s Parker Todd in 1:05.
Freshman Ashton Hoge (120) and sophomore Payton Neely (132) are seeking a spot on the podium.
Magnolia’s Jason Beisel (132) pinned his first opponent before posting a 5-2 nod in the quarters. He is now 16-1 as a senior.
“He’s worked hard this year and put in a lot of extra effort,” Magnolia head coach Eric McKeever said. “He still hasn’t given up a point except for letting his opponents go for an escape. He’s looking forward to his next match. He’s very confident.”
Huffman is 23-2 as a sophomore after a pin in 1:41 of Greenbrier West’s Dalton Heath. He also had a 2:01 fall in the opening round.
“This is no surprise,” Tyler Consolidated head coach Paden Morris said of Huffman in the semis. “He works hard and puts in the extra time and effort. He’s been dreaming of a state title all of his life. He’s a wrestler. That’s what he does and he proves it every time he steps on the mat.”
The Silver Knights’ Sean Winfrey (152) is also alive after going 1-1.
Point Pleasant leads the Class AA team race with 115.5 points. Oak Glen is sixth with 44. In Class A, Wirt County tops the field with 30 points. Cameron is sixth with 24.5.