RIPLEY – The AAA Region 3 host Ripley Vikings navigated their way through the field on Saturday at Ripley Health Center and in the process, racked up 238 points and will be sending 10 wrestlers to Big Sandy Arena next weekend for the 2013 State Wrestling tournament, which begins Thursday, February 21 and concludes on Saturday.
The blue crew notched their seventh straight regional title and guns for taking the next step beyond last years runner up finish to State Champion Parkersburg South.
The AAA No. 4 ranked Vikings qualified six regional champions, two regional champion runners up and two regional third place finishers.
Preston Martin (152), Nate Starkey (170), Austin Hileman (132), Greg medina (195), Freddie Roush (220) and No. 1 ranked heavyweight Daryl Hicks (285) all earned Regional crowns for the Vikings.
Region 3 runner-ups for Ripley included one-time State Champion Jake Martin (138) and frosh sensation Lucas Simpkins (126), both ranked No.2 in their weight classes.
Antonio Jones (120) and Martin Kuhl (182) snagged Region 3 third place recognition.
The Ripley Health Center was near capacity and the excitement was at fever pitch for six hours as the Vikings took care of business in front of their home crowd.
Team results were as follows: Ripley (238), Shady Spring (222), Greenbrier East (168.50), George Washington (148.50), Woodrow Wilson (127), Oak Hill (110.50), Riverside (65.50), Capital (65), South Charleston (15) and Princeton (14).
Shady Spring, ranked AAA No. 9 provided Ripley with its most serious threat as the Tigers roster is talented from top to bottom.
"We knew how good Shady was coming in," said Viking head coach Matt Smith, last season's Mountain State Athletic Conference Wrestling Coach of the Year.
In the Championship round, the Vikings scored impressive wins over impressive competition. Austin Hileman (132) won by decision over Shady Spring's John Duncan, 7-1. Preston Martin (152), won by fall over Cole Williams of Woodrow Wilson. Nate Starkey (170) was victorious by decision over Greenbrier East's Davis Solak, 8-5. Greg Medina (195) won by fall over Riverside's Chase Hanshaw.
"Although I didn't wrestle my best, I feel blessed to get a win in my last match at Ripley High School, especially against a tough opponent like (Davis) Solak. I think the team is improving everyday and the best is yet to come," said senior Nate Starkey at the end of the afternoon.
Freddy Roush, who has worked hard all season to drop weight and compete at (220) won the most thrilling match of the day in a 4-2 OT finals thriller over Levi Nelson of Greenbrier East.
Coach Smith was pleased with his team's performance and looks forward to the ride to Huntington next week.
"We wrestled well as a team today. We were focused and the intensity was good. I feel like we have had some guys that lost matches earlier in the season that they would win today. You want to improve throughout the season and peak in time for the State tournament and I think we are doing that right now," said Smith. He added," Freddy Roush really stepped up today and did what we knew he could do. He is a great kid and he has worked so hard and I am just thrilled for him, as I am all of our qualifiers."
Page 2 of 3 - Daryl Hicks continued his amazing senior campaign with a win by fall over jack Skidmore of George Washington.
Senior Greg Medina feels confident about where the Vikings are going into the big show in Huntington.
"I think my teammates and I are on the right track. We have been working hard all season long in preparation for this weekend and I think we are very capable of bringing the title back to Ripley."
Ripley had three grapplers who narrowly missed getting their ticket punched. Alex Espino (160) and Levi Bryant (145) each finished fifth in their weight class and Brianna Mills, the team's lone female, took a sixth place finish at (106).
Assistant coach Franklin Howerton reflected on a fulfilling day at Ripley Health Center Gymnasium.
"We have to wrestle with no regrets. We have to get the mistakes out of the way now before we get to Huntington. We have to prepare and wrestle to the best of our abilities."
106 Logan Robertson, Shady Spring Dec Jasiel Kinder, Greenbrier East, 5-3
113 Leland Swafford, Woodrow Wilson M-Dec Zach Clark, Shady Spring, 14-0
120 Johnny Forren, Shady Spring Fall David Pancake, George Washington
126 Jensen Lorea, George Washington Dec Lucas Simpkins, Ripley, 7-5 OT
132 Austin Hileman, Ripley Dec John Duncan, Shady Spring, 7-1
138 Nick Farley, Shady Spring Fall Jake Martin, Ripley
145 Brandon Stump, Shady Spring Fall Chris Shumaker, Oak Hill
152 Preston Martin, Ripley Fall Cole Williams, Woodrow Wilson
160 Jake Smith, George Washington T-Fall Cody Richmond, Shady Spring, 15-0
170 Nate Starkey, Ripley Dec Davis Solak, Greenbrier East, 8-5
182 Charles Withrow, Greenbrier East Dec Pat Vance, Capital, 12-5
195 Gregorio Medina, Ripley Fall Chase Hanshaw, Riverside
220 Frederick Roush, Ripley Dec Levi Nelson, Greenbrier East, 4-2 OT
285 Daryl Hicks, Ripley Fall Jack Skidmore, George Washington
106 Sam Moore, George Washington Fall Cody Gillespie, Oak Hill
113 Jared Morgan, Greenbrier East Fall Christian Price, Capital
120 Antonio Jones, Ripley Dec Josh Lilley, Woodrow Wilson, 6-2
126 Tyler Kosut, Shady Spring Dflt Kavin Kincaid, Capital, INJ
132 Marc Williams, Oak Hill Dec Vince Hunt, Riverside, 8-3
138 Dakota Miller, Oak Hill Dec Tyler Gilger, Woodrow Wilson, 6-1
145 Cody Van Dyke, Woodrow Wilson Dec Desean Reed, Capital, 6-4
152 Henry Matos, Shady Spring Dec Fred Crosier, South Charleston, 9-3
160 Josiah Solak, Greenbrier East Fall Justin Burke, Riverside
170 Keeten Asbury, Shady Spring Dec Chris Worley, Woodrow Wilson, 4-0
182 Martin Kuhl, Ripley Fall Hunter Davis, Woodrow Wilson
195 Joe Sampson, Greenbrier East Fall Wesley Legg, Oak Hill
220 Chase Lusk, Shady Spring Dec Kyle Ayers, Woodrow Wilson, 4-3
285 Evan Roberts, Greenbrier East
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