Viking wrestlers compete at state tournament

Mark Martin
Assistant coach Tim Parsons (left), head coach Matt Smith (middle) and assistant Jared Hughes (right) look on during Monday action at the 74th annual West Virginia High School State Wrestling Tournament at Huntington's Mountain Health Arena.

It seemed odd for the West Virginia High School State Wrestling Tournament to start out on a Monday.

But in this period of COVID-19, it was nice to see wrestlers on the mats battling for a chance at a possible state championship regardless of day and time.

Ripley had seven wrestlers competing on opening day in the Class AAA portion of the tournament.

This year, the 74th annual event was moved to a four-day tournament as opposed to the more traditional three (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

The four-day setup came about because of COVID. Normally, Class AAA and Class AA-A action take place simultaneously. The 2021 schedule was designed to have fewer wrestlers inside Mountain Health Arena.

Class AAA competition was scheduled to finish up on Tuesday, while Class AA-A, featuring Ravenswood, was to be staged Wednesday and Thursday. (Further details of the tournament will appear in the upcoming issue of The Jackson Herald).

One Viking — Nate Cox in the 113-pound class — was still in contention for a state championship at press time.

Cox, a senior, reached the Tuesday morning semifinal round with two wins on Monday.

He pinned Musselman freshman James Anderson in :51 and then handed senior Matt Tschappat of John Marshall a 7-0 setback.

Those wins put Cox up against Princeton’s Trace Hatfield, a junior, for the right to compete for a state championship. A victory on Tuesday morning would have placed him in the title match later in the evening.

Sophomores Brett Bosley of Parkersburg South and Landon Hoffman of Spring Mills were slated to meet in the other semifinal at 113.

Ripley's Brett Haskins (right) eyes opponent Carl Cochran of John Marshall in an opening round Class AAA 126-pound division at the state wrestling tournament on Monday. Haskins pinned Cochran in the third period.

At 126, junior Brett Haskins, a state runner-up in 2020, opened the state tournament by pinning John Marshall junior Carl Cochran with 20 seconds to go in the third and final period.

Haskins was knocked into the consolation round when he fell to Matthew McAfee, a freshman from St. Albans, 7-1.

Haskins stayed alive to battle for third place with a narrow, 4-3, decision over Timmy Cargill, a senior from University.

He was scheduled to meet junior Tucker Hurst of Buckhannon-Upshur on Tuesday in another consolation round match.

In the 132-pound division, senior Luke Miller registered a 16-1 technical fall over Hedgesville sophomore Trenton Fox.

Miller was pinned at the 2:42 mark of his second match by University freshman Luca Felix.

In the consolation bracket, Miller kept himself in contention for third with a pin in 59 seconds over Micah Fisher, a junior from Greenbrier East.

Miller was slated for another consolation round match with junior Jesiah Winters of Huntington on Tuesday.

Sophomore Hunter Brown wrestled at 152. He suffered a pin against Musselman junior Gage Cosner with 19 seconds to go in the third period and to Riverside’s Michael Hamilton, a junior, in 1:33.

Senior Isaac Parsons, a senior, was pinned by Greenbrier East senior Colby Piner in 3:29 in his opening round match at 160.

Moving into the consolation bracket, Parsons pinned Jefferson’s Caleb Wiser in 2:41 before being sidelined by Zachery Holstion, a junior from Riverside. Holstion recorded a pin in 3:48.

Senior 195-pounder Matt Moore dropped a tough decision, 7-5, in his opening round match against Devan Gaulding, a senior from Beckley Woodrow Wilson.

Moore battled back in the consolation round with a pair of wins. He pinned Morgantown junior Liam O’Conner in :54 and then won by decision over Chase Blaney, a junior from Preston, 4-0.

Moore was scheduled to continue his attempt at third place by going against Logan Fischer, a junior from Cabell Midland, on Tuesday morning.

Dakota Parsons, a senior at 220, was pinned in his first match by Wheeling Park sophomore Erick Brothers in 51 seconds. He was eliminated by a pin in 2:16 against George Washington junior Zack Johnson.

Ripley 285-pounder Andrew Manley, a senior, dropped a 9-2 decision to Washington junior Jonathan Lavely in his opening match.

In a consolation round match, Manley would then pin Brooke junior Daniel Rawson in 2:19 before begin eliminated by Huntington freshman Robert Martin, 7-0.