HUNTINGTON — University High’s Jacob Simpson took nothing for granted even though he entered the 72nd West Virginia State High School Wrestling tournament as the Region I champion.
As a champion, Simpson faced the No. 4 qualifier from Region IV in Thursday night’s opening session at Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Simpson piled up some early points, then wrapped up the match by pinning Huntington’s Preston Sellards at 1:23.
“Stay in position and nothing too crazy,” Simpson said. “Keep wrestling the whole time.”
Simpson admits to having extra incentive for this tournament. His brother Matt was injured in the Region I tournament and the concussion rendered him done for the season.
“I was pretty upset about that,” said Simpson, who finished third at 120 here last year. “He should be here winning with me. Things happen.”
Simpson wrestled the match according to plan.
“Score a few points. Get as many takedowns as it takes to get a tech (fall),” he said. “He ended up on his back and I got the pin.”
Simpson, a junior, improved to 40-2.
“He’s wrestling at a high level. He has to keep it up,” Hawks coach Ken Maisel said. “He’s got to keep it up. He’s got a tough road.”
Defending champion Parkersburg South leads Class AAA with 37 points. Wheeling Park follows with 36.5 and Huntington with 36.
In Class AA, defending champion Independence leads with 38 points. Point Pleasant is next with 36.
Greenbrier West leads Class A with 27 points and Wirt County is No. 2 with 19.
Action resumes Friday at 11:30 a.m. with quarterfinal matches and first-round consolation.
The morning winners return Friday night at 7:30 p.m. for the semifinal round. Consolation matches resume at that time.
Simpson’s teammate Jake Staud, Region I champion at 126 who won the state last year at 120, got the opening night off, as he won by forfeit.
Also for the Hawks, Will Miller won by pin at 170 and Josh Sanders won in the same manner at 195.
“Nice wins. They did what they’re supposed to do,” Maisel said of Miller and Sanders.
University had a couple of tough draws. Region IV champion London Bowen of Huntington beat Mason Pauley at 113 and Zane Lanham, Region IV winner from Huntington seeking a third state title, prevailed by pin over Sean Murray at 182.
For Preston, Bryson Preston scored a pin over Gage Cosner of Musselman at 126 to bring his record to 41-13. At 195, Jacob Gregg beat Ian Sears of Capital, 5-3.
Griffen Leombruno got the lone win for Morgantown, edging Noah Wahler of Hedgesville, 3-2.
In the opening match of the night, Parkersburg South’s Samantha Miller nearly pulled off a big upset. The Region IV fourth-place finisher led Region III champ Josh Slack 6-3 late in the third period only to see Slack get a near fall to tie 6-6 and force overtime. He got a takedown in overtime to win.
–Story by David Walsh
How local wrestlers fared in Thursday’s first round of the state wrestling tournament:
106: Dylan Tachior, Martinsburg, tech. fall Grant Oxley, University.
113: Devin Easton, Parkersburg South, p. Eric Shiver, Morgantown, 5:02. London Bowen, Huntington, p. Mason Pauley, University, 5:31.
120: Kaleb Ramirez, Riverside, p. Zach Riffle, Preston, 2:59.
126: Jake Staud, University, won by forfeit. Bryson Wilkins, Preston, p. Gage Cosner, Musselman, 0:57. Hunter Locke, Washington, p. Cameron Lawrence, Morgantown, 1:08.
132: Jacob Simpson, University, p. Preston Sellards, Huntington, 1:23.
138: Cayden Hoover, Greenbrier East, d. Calvin Matthews, University, 4-0.
145: Luke Resch, Martinsburg, d. Brise Bennett, University, 4-0. Griffen Leombruno, Morgantown, d. Noah Wahler, Hedgesville, 3-2.
152: A.J. Dempsey, Huntington, p. Elijah Wellings-Osha, University, 4:32.
160: Braeden Pauley, University, major dec. Zach Stewart St. Albans, 13-3.
170: Will Miller, University, p. Trevor Ward, Spring Mills, 0:37. Chris Fagga, Hampshire, dec. Preston Harmon, Morgantown, 8-4.
182: Dalton Fullerton, Parkersburg South, major dec. Hunter Lantz, Preston, 10-0. Zane Lanham, Huntington, p. Sean Murray, University, jr, 0:42.
195: Josh Sanders, University, p. Austin Hamrick, George Washington, 0:40. Jacob Gregg, Preston, dec. Ian Sears, Capital, 5-3.
220: Zane Milburn, Musselman, dec. Ayden Bishoff, Preston, 9-7.
285: Damion Sanders, Hurricane, dec. Corbin Turney, 4-1.