The Dominion Post  

UHS wrestler Staud stout in 120 title match

Created on:   Sun, Feb 25, 2018   9:01 PM

Last modified:   Sun, Feb 25, 2018   9:00 PM

For The Dominion Post

HUNTINGTON — The same setting as a year ago with one exception. This time, University’s Jake Staud won.

A year ago, Staud competed for the Class AAA state title at 113 pounds, the match happened to be the last scheduled championship night and Musselman’s Joey Miller prevailed.

On Feb. 24, even though Staud had moved up one weight class to 120, he found himself booked again for the 14th and final match in the 71st West Virginia State High School Wrestling Tournament, at Big Sandy Superstore Arena. It so happened the 126 class was the opening bout, Miller was in it, but he lost to Parkersburg South’s Brayden Roberts.

At 9:40 p.m., Staud and Parkersburg South’s Tucker Windland finally got called to the mat. After two periods, Staud trailed the Region 4 champion, 2-0. Staud got an escape early in the third, then produced some late-match drama to secure the win. He got a takedown with about five seconds left to prevail, 3-2, reversing a decision Windland scored over him in the OVAC finals by the same margin with the same drama in the final seconds.

“It was my turn,” Staud said after coming down from the stands where he shared hugs with family and Hawks supporters. “I told myself the whole match I was not going to lose.”

Hawks coach Ken Maisel was thrilled for his sophomore, who happened to be the only champion from Region 1.

“No, didn’t script it that way,” said Maisel, recalling the heartbreaking loss at the OVAC in Wheeling. “I’m really happy for him. He’s a good kid. He’s got a great family up there. That’s why we wrestle six minutes. He deserves a state title.”

Staud, who finished the season 44-2, knew his dilemma heading into the third period.

“I’m fine. Got the escape. We got in a scramble, I realized the time left and got the move,” Staud said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Maisel said his champ hit a Merkel move for the winner.

“The guy took a shot, we got the hands locked and he (referee) gave us two,” Maisel said.

Staud said he handled being curtain-dropping match better this year than he did in 2017.

“Completely opposite,” he said of his daylong routine. “I made the adjustments, prepared better. I was ready when called.”

Staud was one of two Hawks competing for state titles, At 152, Parkersburg South’s Josh Humphreys pinned Owen Zeiders at 1:58. It was the fourth state title for Humphreys, who collected the championships for three different schools. Humphreys won as a freshman at Huntington High and the next two seasons at St. Albans.

“He battled. He didn’t back down,” Maisel said of Zeiders. “I’m proud of him.”

University had 10 state qualifiers and six placed. In the consolation matches Saturday morning, Jacob Simpson took third at 126, Jace Stockett placed fourth at 106 and Ben Gribble did the same at 220. Brise Bennett got on the podium at 132 in sixth. The Hawks finished fourth overall with 111.50 points.

Preston had seven state qualifiers and senior Blake Miller made the best showing, placing third at 182. The Region 1 champion won his opening match, then lost to Parkersburg South’s Drew Dunbar in the quarterfinals, 3-1 in overtime, to drop into the consolation bracket. There, Miller would win three times to finish his senior season 58-2. In the consolation matches, Miller won the first by pin and two on Saturday by major decision.

“I felt like I outwrestled him, but didn’t get it done,” Miller said of the loss to Dunbar.

As a freshman, Miller went 0-2 in the state. He didn’t place the next year as he battled some sickness. He didn’t compete as a junior due to a serious knee injury he suffered in football.

“I was fired up,” Miller said. “I wanted to go out a champion.”

Miller said after the loss, he got past his Friday night opponent, then headed back to the motel.

“I left. I had to clear my head,” he said. “I talked to coach. He said you can’t end your season having any regrets. I got back on track.”

Preston finished 19th with 34 points. Morgantown, the third Region 1 rep, tied for 25th with three points.

Parkersburg South went 6-3 in the championship round and finished with a tournament-record 288 points to collect its fourth straight state title and 22nd in program history. The six individual winners are a single-season best for the Patriots. Huntington High was second with 136 points and Parkersburg third with 113.50.

Independence made it five straight titles in Class AA with 237.50 points despite having just one state champion. The Patriots did have 12 placers. Runner-up East Fairmont had four winners and 10 placers for 186.50 points.

In Class A, Weirton Madonna totaled 64.50 points to win and 2017 winner Wirt County settled for second with 52.50.