HUNTINGTON - Thirty area wrestlers remain alive for state titles as the 65th annual West Virginia High School Championships continue today at Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Wheeling Park had the most success of any OVAC school during Thursday night's opening session, advancing seven to the second round, which begins at 11:30 this morning.
The Patriots are in fifth place on the Class AAA leaderboard. Parkersburg South leads with 42 points, followed by Ripley (38), Huntington (31.5) and Washington (26.5). John Marshall is 12th (12) and Brooke is 19th (7.5).
Brooke’s Matt Beaman, top, battles against North Marion’s Trevor Fancher at 113 during the first round of the West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament in Huntington. Beamon won, 3-1, in OT.
The Golden Bears sit in seventh place in the Class AA/A point standings with 19.5. Point Pleasant leads with 36, followed by Wirt County (23.5) and Greenbrier West and Clay County, both with 22.5. Cameron is ninth (17.5) and Weir is 13th (12).
Wheeling Park's Cody Amos (170) started his tournament in style, ousting Robert C. Byrd's Matt Mayer in 36 seconds.
Patriots senior Kodiac Garcia topped Huntington's Paden Christian 5-3 at 160, while Park's other junior winner - Danny Colby - downed Hedgesville's Dorian Jones 9-3.
Sophomores Eric Banks (138) and Geremy Paige (195) advanced for Park. Banks slapped a 19-6 major decision on Hurricane's Jeremy Francis, while Paige edged George Washington's Eric Cheng 5-3.
Park's two freshmen, Dallas Baciak (106) and Dylan Taylor (126), both moved on. Baciak pinned Buchannon-Upshur's Ethan Hull in 1:36, while Taylor pinned Lewis County's Chance Stalnaker in 1:21.
Junior Nathan Dawson (195), the runner-up last year at 189, led three Brooke grapplers into the second round. Dawson defeated Huntington's Aerison Parrish, 19-3.
The Bruins' Matt Beaman edged North Marion's Trevor Fancher 3-1 in overtime, while J.J. Bennett squeezed out a 1-0 triumph against Greenbrier East's Ethan Brooks at 220.
John Marshall sent three entrants into the second round - senior Thomas Schwing (195) and sophomores Dylan Hall (132) and Cullen Ebbert (220), all of whom posted pins.
Schwing had little trouble with Nitro's Ryan Walters, pinning him in 55 seconds, while Hall and Ebbert took care of East Fairmont's Layne Michael (5:53) and Capital's Zach Myers (2:32), respectively.
Zach Brown, a runner-up the last two seasons, began his final quest for that elusive state crown by blanking Grafton's Steven Hurst, 15-0.
Brown's triumph was book ended by a pair of pins by teammates Josh Cornell and Tyler Brown.
Cornell, at 106, stopped Fayetteville's Hunter Sizemore in 2:54, while Tyler Brown took down Roane County's Dillon Clarkson in 35 seconds.
Also advancing for the Golden Bears were Avery Flowers, a 6-3 victor against Berkeley Springs' Josh Capps at 132, and Kole Koper, who bested Clay County's Ricky Ahart in overtime at 138.
Dylan Davis capped the night for Oak Glen by pinning Bluefield's Julius Thomas in 2:17.
The final five Cameron entrants to take the mats posted victories.
Taylor Neely, a fifth-place finisher in 2010, blanked Clay County's Jacob Triplett 7-0. At 170, Andrew Hale pinned Liberty Raleigh's Cody Caffro in 3:32, while the Dragons' Austin Warsinsky posted a tech fall (15-0) against Roane County's Joe Copley.
Tyler Schwertfeger pinned Braxton County's Lee Helmick in 5:11 at 160, while Dillon Blake brought down Oak Hill's Micah Neff in 5:40.
Weir senior Darren Starr began his quest for the heavyweight title by pinning Grafton's Ryan Helmick in 3:24. Teammate Ethan Barnes, who wrestles before Starr at 220, also posted a pin (4:59).in topping Wyoming East's John Bennett.
The Red Riders started out the night with victories by Cory Poling (113) and Hunter McLaughlin (126). Poling topped Berkeley Springs' CJ Capps 9-4, while McLaughlin defeated Webster's Ray Mason Holiday 11-4.
Weirton Madonna's Christian Roe, at 195, defeated Point Pleasant's Jacob Duncan, 5-1, while Magnolia's Jared Wright pinned Braxton County's John Given in 3:16.