Suspended weight classes mar event

HUNTINGTON – The 70th annual West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament was without precedent.  The WVSSAC ruled on Thursday night to suspend the 145, 152 and 170 pound weight classes from competing due to an outbreak of the Herpes Simplex 1 virus in Region 4, marring the event and leaving wrestlers, coaches and supporters in limbo. 

Locally, that decision meant that Ripley junior Jacob Starkey (145) and senior Chase Morgan (170) were forced to wait until at least March 8 to compete for a state championship.  

“It’s always a nightmare when you go through that kind of stuff and it affects your guys,” Smith said, referring to the postponement decision, “Those two guys (Starkey and Morgan), they both were looking forward to this weekend.  But the good thing about it is, at least they’ll be able to wrestle.  It’s hard to deal with that kind of stuff.  It’s a little frustrating, but I think (the WVSSAC) tried to make the best decision they could.”

Despite the ruling, the other seven Viking state qualifiers hit the mats for their shot at titles.  

To that end, four of head coach Matt Smith’s charges earned a place at the podium during the conclusion of festivities on Saturday night.  

At the same time, it was a bit of a mixed bag for Smith’s seven wrestlers.  Leading the way was senior Chance Morgan and junior Hunter Burdette, each finishing third in their respective weight class. 

Morgan, who just missed placing last season at 160, fought his way through the consolation bracket to take third place at 182.  Burdette, wrestling at 132, placed for the third straight season by finishing in third place. 

He dropped a hard-fought decision to eventual state champion Mikey Shamblin of Parkersburg South, but bounced back with two convincing wins in the consolation bracket to take third place. 

Junior B.J. Haynes was the next placer, traversing a challenging 220 weight class to finish fourth.  Rounding out the placers was senior Josh Sinclair at 113.  After taking last season off, Sinclair capped off an outstanding senior season with a fifth place finish.  

Just missing a placement finish was sophomore Evan King at 120, who finished just outside the top six after wrestling a fantastic tournament.  Fellow sophomore Tyler Haskins also wrestled a solid tournament in the difficult 126-pound division. 

Finally, senior Anthony Jarvis battled a shoulder injury in a difficult 195 pound weight class, finishing 1-2 in three matches.

“I thought we wrestled pretty well in some weight classes,” Smith said, “Other weight classes, I didn’t think we wrestled all that great.  It’s one of those things where you just have a bad weekend, it’s just bad timing.  Hunter Burdette loses a close match and battles back and gets third.  I think that showed a lot of character.  I really think he could’ve been a state champ had he made it to the finals.  Evan King being one match away from placing as a first year kid is amazing.”

“I had a big talk with the guys last night,” Smith continued, “The offseason is what is going to get us over the hump.  That’s the time to do it.  I think, honestly, we regroup and get back to work.  We can’t settle with where we’re at.  It’s just continuing on into the offseason and buying into improving.  I think our future is pretty bright, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Results as of February 25 are incomplete.  The 145, 152 and 170 pound weight classes will be contested on March 13 and 14 at the Fairmont Armory in Fairmont.


 113 Josh Sinclair Record: 27-14 5th Place

Defeated Isaiah Daly, Jefferson by M-Dec 14-4

Lost to Jake Staud, University by Dec 4-2

Won by Forfeit

Defeated Cayden Hoover, Greenbrier East by M-Dec 13-1

Lost to Ian Irizarry, Parkersburg South by Dec 6-4

Defeated Canon Welker, Wheeling Park by Dec 11-7


120 Evan King Record: 16-21

Defeated Austin Barker, St Albans by Dec 9-2

Lost to Jacob Simpson, University by Dec 9-3

Defeated Zach Mullins, Greenbrier East by Fall 2:29

Lost to Austin McCartney, Buckhannon-Upshur by Dec 6-5


126 Tyler Haskins Record: 21-18

Lost to Tyler Cutright, Buckhannon-Upshur by Dec 6-0

Defeated Ryan Simpson, Jefferson by Fall 1:11

Lost to Jack Lorea, George Washington by Dec 1-0


132 Hunter Burdette Record: 34-11 3rd Place

Defeated Lane Campbell, Martinsburg by Fall 3:17

Defeated Jacob Smithson, Buckhannon-Upshur by Dec 5-0

Lost to Mikey Shamblin, Parkersburg South by Dec 9-4

Defeated Braeden Pauley, University by Dec 1-0

Defeated Bo Moler, Parkersburg by M-Dec 12-1


182 Chance Morgan Record: 36-12 3rd Place

Defeated Conor Wogan, Washington by Fall 2:29

Lost to Nick Valachovic, University by Dec 7-6

Defeated Mohamed Abdelwahed, Princeton by Fall 1:17

Defeated Jacob Thomas, Greenbrier East by Dec 10-5

Defeated Richie Stanley, Hampshire by Dec 6-3

Defeated Mason Fischer, Cabell Midland by Dec 8-3


195 Anthony Jarvis Record: 17-11

Lost to Austin Henderson, Woodrow Wilson by Fall 5:09

Defeated Landon Ellifritz, University by Dec 5-2

Lost to Gerald Hall, George Washington by Dec 3-2


220 B.J. Haynes Record: 40-6 4th Place

Defeated Dylan Wood, Wheeling Park by Dec 3-2

Lost to Brice Pomeroy, Riverside by Dec 3-1

Defeated Josh Hite, Morgantown by Fall 1:16

Defeated Alex Liddel, Jefferson by Dec 1-0

Defeated Alex Edgell, Brooke by Dec 3-2

Lost to Dylan Wood, Wheeling Park by Dec 4-2