Brooke ready to compete for state wrestling titles
HUNTINGTON — The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference will be well-represented Monday when the 74th annual West Virginia Class AAA state wrestling tournament begins here inside Mountain Health Arena. A total of 53 conference matmen representing six schools will participate.
Of that number, 22 are from northern panhandle Region I schools, with John Marshall leading the way with 10 qualifiers. Wheeling Park has nine and Brooke five. University, which won the Region I team title, is sending 10 and Morgantown five. Defending champion Parkersburg South, which claimed the Region IV crown, qualified all 14 of its team members.
Weigh-ins and skin checks will take place at 9 a.m. on Monday, with wrestling to begin two hours later with 112 first-round matches on four mats. Quarterfinal round bouts will get underway at 4:30 p.m., as will first- and second-round consolation matches. Action will resume on Tuesday at 10 a.m., with the championship semifinals and continue throughout the day until the championship finals at 6:30 p.m.
The Bruins are led by regional champion Braydon Demaria (120 pounds). The senior is 10-3 and became the first Brooke wrestler to win a regional since Alex Edgell in 2017. Demaria qualified last year, as well.
“Braydon has been our leader the past two seasons,” Brooke head coach Doug Sizemore said. “He’s the hardest worker in our room. It’s nice to see him capitalize on all of his hard work.”
Also headed south are third-place finishers Xzander Eltringham (113) and Gavin Moore (152), along with Tyler Wise (182) and Daniel Rawson (285), who each placed fourth. Eltringham, now 10-9, is a sophomore who qualified last year at 106, while Moore, 12-7, and Wise, 14-4, are freshmen. Rawson, 7-3, is a junior.
“Xzander is one of the guys who has improved every day he steps in the (wrestling) room,” Sizemore said. “He had a pleasant showing at the regionals, but I wouldn’t call it surprising. His hard work is coming to fruition.
“Gavin had high expectations coming in as a freshman and he has wrestled well in a tough weight class. He is working hard to meet his expectations and is on the right path.
“Tyler also had high hopes coming into the season. He is wrestling in a weight class with a bunch of juniors and seniors, but he has stepped up to each challenge. It will be exciting to see what happens in Huntington.
“Daniel is a quiet leader who works in silence. He has been getting better and better each time he steps on the mat.”
The top six in each weight class earn all-state honors.
Bridgeport will not be participating in the tournament due to COVID quarantine restrictions.
The Patriots were de-throned as regional kingpins by the Hawks, 199-190, but weren’t at full strength. They will be Monday.
“We had one wrestler not able to compete in the regional due to an illness, however, we were still able to get him qualified,” Patriots head coach Brian Leggett said of 106-pound Adam Carman, who was the top seed.
“Adam is our lone freshman qualifier which shows a lot about his work ethic. He is a wrestler that improves each time he steps on the mat and is wrestling at a high level right now. I look for him to make a big run next week.”
Four Patriots won regional titles, including 220-pound sophomore Erick Brothers Jr. who is the defending state champion at 182. He will carry a 19-1 mark into the tournament.
“Erick is a true talent that can wrestle in any position,” Leggett said. “He is looking to repeat again this year and has all the skills and mindset to do just that.”
Junior Cody Taggart (126), senior Stevie Mitchell (152) and junior Hunter Nixon (182) also claimed regional crowns. Taggart was fourth last year in the state at 113 and is now 12-7. Mitchell, a returning state runnerup at 145 and 4-time state qualifier, is also 19-1. Nixon missed last season with an injury. He is 3-0.
“Cody is up a couple of weight classes from last season and is just now getting comfortable at his new weight,” Leggett ssaid. “Cody is a tough, hard-nosed wrestler who’s style favors tournaments. I look for him to continue the streak he is on and knock off more high-ranked wrestlers like he did at regionals.
“I believe Stevie is pound-for-pound one of the most technical wrestlers in the state. He has dedicated his life to the sport, and I could not be more eager to watch him go out and compete for a state title.
“I am so excited for Hunter. He has had two major setbacks that kept him out last season and most of this season,” Leggett continued. “While injured he has kept working and has been patiently waiting for his return. He looked great at regionals and I look for him to build off that to have a great state tournament.
Wheeling Park is also sending regional runnerup Charlie Tamburin (285) and third-placer Nate Shelek (132), along with sophomores Quinton Velas (145) and Adam Angel (170).
Tamburin, a 13-1 senior, finished second to South’s Braxton Amos at 220 in last year’s state meet. Shelek, who took was third last year, won a state title at 113 as a freshman. He is 11-2. Velas improved to 11-8 and Angel is 15-4.
“Charlie is a heavyweight that wrestles like a lightweight. Opponents have a hard time preparing for him and he is a match-up nightmare for anyone in the state,” Leggett said.
“Nate is proven wrestler who is wrestling in one of the most competitive weights in the state. He had a quiet season this year, but he knows how to turn in on at the right time and make a run for the top of the podium.
“Quinton made a big jump from 106 last season to 145 this year. His unorthodox style gives a lot of middleweights fits. He is wrestling the best he has all year right now.
“Adam really grew into his weight class this year. He is constantly improving and scraping in the room with our heavier wrestlers. He is very capable of making a deep run next week.”
Monarchs head coach Ryan Asbury was pleased with the way his team competed in the regionals.
“I thought going in we could possibly get 4-7 kids to the state tournament, so to have 10 going is very pleasing,” he said. “We had five guys on the bubble and three of them got through. Our regional is really tough so it’s hard to get (state) qualifiers.”
John Marshall is led by regional titlist Ethan Cook (106). The sophomore is now 11-2 after placing sixth at the same weight a season ago.
“Ethan is a veteran kid although he’s only a sophomore,” Asbury said. “He was quarantined for two weeks earlier this season but has come back strong. His only two losses came less than a week after he returned.
“I’m not surprised he won a regional championship. He’s a hard-nosed kid.”
Senior Matthew Tschappat (113) was a regional runnerup. He is 12-1 in his first varsity season.
“Matthew is a great kid to have on the team. I wish I had 30 of him,” Asbury said. “He’s a great leader and role model for the kids.”
Finishing in third at the regionals were senior Donald Carroll (120) and junior Carl Cochran (126). Carroll is 6-7 while Cochran, a two-time state placer, is now 6-1.
“Donald is an exciting kid to watch wrestle,” Asbury said. “This is only his second year of wrestling and he earned his spot in the lineup just before regionals.
“Carl is probably in the toughest weight class. There are no easy matches to the finals. He is lightning-fast and very strong.”
Taking fourth at regionals were sophomore Ryan Ward (132); juniors Sean Thomas (138) and Ben McCardle (170); and freshman Anthony Baldo (195). Going as alternates are Mason Orndorff (145) and Jacob Campolito (182). Ward is 10-4 while Thomas is 5-2 and McCardle 10-5. Baldo is 6-8. Orndorff 9-7 and Campolito 10-6.
“Ryan is in his first varsity season but he has been around the sport for awhile. He’s constantly improving,” Asbury said. “He had a tough regional, but he made it out.
“Sean is another first-year starter who has matured. It’s nice to see his hard work pay off. Ben has stepped up as a leader for us despite only being a junior. He’s one of our tri-captains. Anthony wrestled the best he has all season at the regionals. He had a revenge win in the consolation semifinals.”
(all OVAC wrestlers listed)
106: Ethan Cook (John Marshall, soph., 11-2) vs. Zoey Salmons (Cabell Midland, soph., 18-6); Brady Roberts (Parkersburg South, soph., 18-1) vs. Adam Carman (Wheeling Park, fr., 10-5); Trip Ryan (University, fr., 9-7) vs. Nate Volk (Huntington, soph., 6-5); Garrett Spohn (Morgantown, soph., 14-3) vs. Cody Chapman (Hurricane, fr., 18-5)
113: Brent Bosley (Parkersburg South, soph, 17-2) vs. Caleb Springstead (Washington, fr., 9-4); Chandler Britt (Morgantown, soph., 18-4) vs. Joshua Slack (Riverside, jr., 13-4); Matthew Tschappat (John Marshall, sr., 12-1) vs. Sam Giordano (St. Albans, fr., 12-7); Xzander Eltringham (Brooke, soph., 10-9) vs. Trace Hatfield (Princeton, jr., 19-1)
120: Braydon Demaria (Brooke, sr., 10-3) vs. Bryan Hartman (Martinsburg, fr., 2-6); Donald Carroll (John Marshall, sr., 6-7) vs. Colin Edwards (Musselman, soph., 16-8); Devin Easton (Parkersburg South, sr., 19-1) vs. Ryan Muktar (Woodrow Wilson, fr., 11-5)
126: Cody Taggart (Wheeling Park, jr., 10-7) vs. Jackson Stewart (Cabell Midland, soph., 14-7); Nathan Ford (Parkersburg South, soph., 13-6) vs. Timmy Cargill (University, sr., 13-6); Carl Cochran (John Marshall, jr., 6-1) vs. Brett Haskins (Ripley, jr., 16-6)
132: Luca Felix (University, fr., 15-2) vs. Micah Fisher (Greenbrier East, jr., 11-9); Ryan Ward (John Marshall, soph., 10-4) vs. Blake Lyons (Riverside, soph., 10-2); Trent Jones (Parkersburg South, soph., 19-1) vs. Devon Crouse (Jefferson, sr., 2-7); Nate Shelek (Wheeling Park, jr., 11-2) vs. Thomas Hartley (George Washington, sr., 10-2)
138: Dom Parker (University, soph., 16-1) vs. Dalton Martinez (Jefferson, soph., 3-8); Sean Thomas (John Marshall, jr., 5-2) vs. Chance Williams (Sping Mills, jr., 8-4); Brayden Johnson (Parkersburg South, sr., 19-1) vs. Case Bryant (Oak Hill, sr., 10-4)
145: Gage Wright (Parkersburg South, fr., 20-0) vs. Bladen Roush (Bridgeport, jr., 11-3); Mason Pauley (University, jr., 15-4) vs. Kameron Phillips (Hurricane, soph., 21-2); Quinton Velas (Wheeling Park, soph., 11-8) vs. Orion Barrett (Huntington, sr., 8-3)
152: Stevie Mitchell (Wheeling Park, sr., 17-1) vs. Michael Hamilton (Riverside, jr., 9-7); Gavin Moore (Brooke, fr., 12-7) vs. Hezekyiah Creasy (Woodrow Wilson, sr., 17-0); Robert Shockey (Parkersburg South, fr., 17-3) vs. Levi Richman, Hampshire, soph., 6-5); Matt Bakos (University, sr., 13-6)
160: Broderick Washington (Morgantown, soph., 12-9) vs. Patrick Jackson (Spring Mills, soph., 12-1); Elijah Welling-Osha (University, jr., 13-2) vs. Caleb Wiser (Jefferson, soph., 5-6); Gavin Quiocho (Parkersburg South, sr., 18-1) vs. Sam Evans (Oak Hill, jr., 10-3)
170: Ben McCardle (John Marshall, jr., 10-5) vs. AJ Dempsey (Huntington, sr., 4-0); Dakota Hagedorn (University, soph., 16-2) vs. Bryant Walker (Parkersburg, sr., 14-7); Adam Angel (Wheeling Park, soph., 15-4) vs. Jude Childers (Parkersburg South, jr., 17-3)
182: Hunter Nixon (Wheeling Park, jr., 3-0) vs. Carter Meachum (Princeton, soph., 17-3); Tyler Wise (Brooke, fr., 14-4) vs. Elijah Edge (St. Albans, soph., 18-0); Hezekiah Taylor (University, jr., 15-4) vs. Landen Hoover (Greenbrier East, sr., 17-3)
195: Anthony Baldo (John Marshall, fr., 6-8) vs. Parker Bentley (Musselman, jr., 22-1); Aydan Edwards (Parkersburg South, jr., 17-2) vs. Daly Mullett (George Washington, fr., 4-17); Liam O’Conner (Morgantown, jr., 7-5) vs. Sean McCoy (Jefferson, jr., 7-3)
220: Erick Brothers Jr. (Wheeling Park, soph., 17-1) vs. Dakota Parsons (Ripley, sr., 7-7); Caden Biser (Morgantown, sr., 17-5)
285: Daniel Rawson (Brooke, jr., 7-3) vs. Brace Mullett (George Washington, sr., 12-1); Charlie Tamburin (Wheeling Park, sr., 13-1) vs. Colton Naylor (Oak Hill, fr., 13-6); Demetrius Gearheart (Parkersburg South, soph., 8-9) vs. Jonathan Lavely (Washington, sr., 12-0); Corbin Turney (University, jr., 16-3)