The Dominion Post  

2 University wrestlers have shots at state title

Created on:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   12:06 AM

Last modified:   Sat, Feb 24, 2018   12:06 AM

For The Dominion Post

HUNTINGTON — University High has two wrestlers within a win of being called a West Virginia state champion.

Jake Staud, at 120 pounds, and Owen Zeiders, at 152, each won two matches Feb. 23 to reach the championship round tonight in the 71st West Virginia state high school wrestling tournament, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

Staud notched an 8-1 win over Ethan Hardy, of Washington, in the semifinal round Friday night. Zeiders had similar success at 152, topping Greenbrier East’s Levi Hobbs, 10-4.

The Hawks had six wrestlers overall in the semifinals. The other four lost, with three defeats coming against former Region 1 rivals Parkersburg South or Parkersburg.

The Wood County schools are now in Region 4.

“Early in the tournament, I wasn’t on offense,” Staud said. “I didn’t attack. At the [Ohio Valley Athletic Conference] I had a bad tournament. I got back to the (wrestling) room and went to work. Take shots, pull the trigger. I started attacking again. It shows in the score.”

Zeiders, too, stayed aggressive from start to finish.

“I tried to push the pace, get after it more,” Zeiders said. “Create some moves. I got him tired. I had a lot more in the tank.”

Staud, state runner-up at 113 last year, has a date in the finals against Parkersburg South’s Tucker Windland, who beat him, 3-2, in the finals at the OVAC tournament.

“He’s a tough wrestler,” Staud said. “I know the (South) crowd will be into it. That makes me want to beat him even more.”

Zeiders draws a tough finals assignment with a match against Josh Humphreys, of Parkersburg South. The senior is seeking his fourth state title and third with a different school. He won with Huntington High as a freshman and at St. Albans the past two years.

“Let it go,” Zeiders said of his thought process for this challenge. He said the right knee he tweaked in the quarterfinals is OK. There was a brief stoppage in the semifinals.

“My senior year. I’m not going out,” Zeiders said.

Parkersburg’s Garrett Donahue beat Jace Stockett, 6-1, at 106. Brayden Roberts, of Parkersburg South, took an 8-0 major decision over Jacob Simpson at 126. Parkersburg’s Bo Moler topped Brise Bennett, 7-3, at 132. At 220, B.J. Haynes, of Ripley, posted a 3-1 win over Ben Gribble.

Even though the four lost, they come back this morning and can place as high as third.

At 138, University’s Braeden Pauley lost to Wheeling Park’s Stevie Mitchell in the consolation round, 2-1, to bow out.

Parkersburg South, seeking a fourth straight Class AAA state title and 22nd in program history, took command with 240 points to 116 for No. 2 Huntington High. Independence, going after a fifth straight title in Class AA, pulled away late in the evening to lead with 200.5 points to 144.5 for No. 2 East Fairmont. Wirt County, going for a second straight Class A crown, had the lead with 46.5 points to 44 for sec0nd-place Greenbrier West.

UHS coach Ken Maisel was happy with the performance of his two finalists.

“Jake’s just got to pull the trigger,” Maisel said. “He’s got to do it one more time. The way their guy wrestled set up well for him. Owen’s opponent would shoot and Owen got points.”

Maisel said Stockett needed to pursue more in his match.

“We had to get takedowns, not get taken down,” he said. “The other two we were a little outmatched. Ben did a good job for us. Overall, when we look back we had a good showing. In the heat of it, we could’ve done better.”

Earlier Friday, University’s Calvin Matthews (113), Josh Rudmann (160) and Josh Sanders (190) got eliminated in consolation matches.

Preston has one wrestler who will place. He’s Blake Miller, at 182. Earlier, Bryson Wilkins (113) and Bailey Radabaugh (120) bowed out.

Morgantown had three competitors go out early Friday. They were Michael White (160), Alex Shrive (170) and heavyweight Neil McKnight.

Today’s consolation session starts at 10:45 a.m. The championship round begins at 6 p.m. The opening weight will be 126.