Oak Glen starts strong at W.Va. state wrestling tourney

HUNTINGTON – Few surprises were found at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Thursday in the opening round of the 65th-annual West Virginia State Wrestling Championships.

Oak Glen sits third in the Class AA-A standings through the first round with 23.5 points.

“It was nice to win that last match so we can end the day at 7-6 instead of 6-7,” Golden Bears head coach Pat McGillan said of Noah Mills’ win by fall in 3:48 over Peyton Carey at 285 pounds. “It would be hard to sit on 6-7 the rest of the night.

“We had a chance late in some of those matches. Any win in the state tournament is a good win.”

It started early with sophomore Ryan DeBee defeating Robert C. Byrd sophomore Mariah Vu by major decision, 9-1.

“I’ve wrestled a girl before, so this is nothing new,” he said. “I just had to come out and wrestle. She was stronger than she looked, though. I got the major at the end and I was really happy with that.”

DeBee (34-7) takes on Hoover’s Chase Stover (31-8) in today’s quarterfinals.

The Golden Bears’ two seniors – Josh Cornell and Avery Flowers – also took care of business.

Cornell (19-7) earned a 16-0 tech fall win over Frankfurt freshman Brian King.

“I like being on the mat and getting points,” he said. “I’m more of a technical guy. I put a little bit of pressure on myself coming into this because I have high expectations. I want to win a state championship.”

Cornell meets Greenbrier West senior Ben Alderson (32-8) in the quarterfinals.

Flowers dispatched Calhoun County’s Johnny Taylor in a 9-0 major decision. Flowers (34-11) takes on Billy Wilson (50-11) of Berkeley Springs today.

“I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the mat,” said Flowers, who lost to Taylor 4-2 at the John Marshall Invitational in early December. “I wanted to get a quick win and get my revenge. I was looking forward to this. It was a nice win.”

Also earning wins for the Golden Bears were Danny Wyke (113, fall in 1:07 over Devan McKown of Calhoun County); and Nick Tice (138, fall in 3:04 over Richwood’s Kenneth Metheney); Alex Shuman (152, 9-4 decision over Roane County’s Joe Copley).

“There are still a lot of points out there,” said McGillan.

Brooke seniors Casey Munger (195) and Preston Wise (285) earned impressive victories.

Munger defeated Chase Hanshaw of Riverside, 5-2, with a late takedown and Wise captured a fall in 3:52 over Hurricane’s Mitchell Fitzgerald.

Munger wrestles R.J. Wilson of Washington today.

“It would be nice to win states or be second, but if I place I’ll be happy,” said Munger, who is wrestling for the first time.

Munger made it to the arena after going overtime in three matches in the regionals last week.

“Good endurance,” he said with a laugh.

Munger is now 17-17 after beating the Region 3 champion.

“I wanted to come out and be aggressive, but also be smart and not make mistakes,” Munger said. “I stayed calm and that was the key part about the match.”

Wise broke his femur in the fifth-place match here a year ago and was looking for the opportunity to get back on these mats.

“This win was really, really important,” he said. “It’s hard to fight all the way back through the consolation matches whenever you lose the first match. So, this was a very important match.”

Wise said it was the first time he had faced Fitzgerald.

“You have to go out there and really aggressively, but also wrestle smart,” he remarked. “You don’t want to try stuff you’ve never tried before and get caught. You have to be safe, but be aggressive. You can’t get out of your comfort zone unless you really need to at the end.”