WHEELING - With 11 of 12 starters returning this winter, first-year Wheeling Park wrestling coach Jack Doyle has an embarrassment of riches.
So, it's no surprise the Patriots are off to a fantastic start.
Wheeling Park looked strong in all phases Wednesday night in defeating Morgantown (57-13) and Brooke (44-21) in an early-season West Virginia Class AAA showcase at Wheeling Park High School.
Wheeling Park’s Cody Amos battles Brooke’s Nate Dawson during their 195-pound match Wednesday night at Wheeling Park High School. Amos pinned Dawson in 1:58.
The Bruins topped the Mohigans (56-21) in the night's other match.
Park followed up its third straight triumph at the Rick Link Union Local Invitational last Saturday with another strong performance against two regional foes.
''Everything right now seems to be right where we want it to be,'' Doyle said. ''By wrestling physical, by wrestling tough, by going full matches ... we're getting full matches, we're not just getting 14 pins. We're getting tough matches.''
The Patriots were without standout Dylan Taylor, who has missed the last few days of school with a migraine.
With Taylor out, the rest of the team stepped up, including Cody Amos, the Most Outstanding Wrestler in Morristown over the weekend.
Amos, who finished third in the 170-pound bracket as a junior at last season's state tournament, posted a pair of pins.
He stopped Morgantown's Kyle Gesek in 34 seconds and later stunned Brooke's Nathan Dawson by pinning him in 1:58.
''He's been talking about that match all week,'' Doyle said of Amos.
Amos normally competes at 182 pounds. But because of some lineup shuffling he was able to go up against the defending state champ in the weight class.
It was probably the most-anticipated match of the night.
''It seems like during that second match we came out with more energy and determination,'' Doyle said. ''We want to wrestle that way the rest of the season.''
Dawson fared better in his other match, defeating Gesek by technical fall, 19-4.
Brooke coach Rod Pattison thought his team would perform better against the Patriots. But still, he found many bright spots.
One of those was the performance of 138-pounder Matt Lazear.
''He didn't win, but he's been off a couple of years and I can see the rust starting to come off him,'' Pattison said.
Pattison was also impressed with heavyweight Preston Wise. Wise defeated Park's Casey Hewitt after taking Morgantown's Taylor Ortiz to overtime before being pinned.
Ortiz finished third at state last season.
Park heads to the prestigious War on the Shore this weekend, while Brooke competes in the Potter Classic at East Liverpool.
''We'll really find out where we are this weekend,'' Doyle said.