University’s Jacob Simpson advances to state title match

HUNTINGTON — University High’s Jacob Simpson gets some extra rest time for a change.

Simpson, who’s had to wrestle in the morning consolation rounds Saturday morning for three straight years, gets to lead cheers for his teammates this time and get better prepared for a shot at a championship at 132 pounds.

Simpson beat Washington’s Ethan Hardy (5-1) in the quarterfinals Friday morning. He came back in the evening to battle past Parkersburg’s Hunter Ackerman, 1-0, to reach the title match Saturday night in the 72nd annual West Virginia State High School Wrestling Tournament at Big Sandy Super Store Arena. His opponent is Region 2 winner Joey Miller from Musselman.

“No morning this time like the past three years,” Simpson said.

Simpson hoped teammate Jake Staud would join him in the championship round, but Hunter Locke of Washington denied him a shot at a second straight state title with a 7-4 semifinal win at 126.

Saturday’s consolation round starts at 10:30 a.m. Championship matches in Class AAA, Class AA and Class A begin at 6 p.m. Starting weight for the finals is 138, so Simpson goes out last. Defending Class AAA champion Parkersburg South has a sizeable lead with 212.5 points to 150 for No. 2 Wheeling Park. In Class AA, Point Pleasant also has a big lead over No. 2 Independence, 164-93. Independence is defending champion. In Class A, Greenbrier West leads with 74 points and Wirt County is second with 59.

Simpson and Ackerman, the Region 4 champion, were scoreless midway through the third period. After a lockup/break, Ackerman went neutral, giving Simpson a point he made hold up.

“I wish I scored more points,” Simpson said. “A win’s a win. I knew he’d give it his best. My conditioning helps. I can outwork everyone in the state.”

Simpson thought Ackerman would give up a point to have more time to turn the match in his favor.

“He thought he’d take me down,” Simpson said. “I moved forward and stayed high. I put myself in position to try to score.”

The state missed having a second Simpson possibly reach the finals when Matthew Simpson suffered a concussion in the Region 1 Tournament to end his season. He is here rooting the Hawks on.

“I want to do it for him. It’s for myself, too. I wouldn’t be able to do it without him and Jake,” Simpson said of his brother.

Hawks coach Ken Maisel said Simpson, the Region 1 champion, did enough to win.

“He didn’t wrestle great. He did get some offense,” Maisel said. “At this point, it’s advance. That’s all you look to do.”

Maisel said Staud had the effort, just Locke had a bit more.

“Give the other kid credit,” Maisel said. “He wrestled a great match. Jake’s hurt, but that’s no excuse.”

The Hawks had a third wrestler in the semifinals, but Zane Hinzman of Parkersburg South won by technical fall over Braeden Pauley at 160.

“Those guys in the consolations have to come back tomorrow and get third,” Maisel said. “That’s the best available now.”

Morgantown and Preston do not have any wrestlers remaining.

Prior to wrestling Friday night, two awards were presented. Parkersburg South coach Shawn Smith received the National Federation of Coaches Association Award for West Virginia for 2018. Official Brian Pauley got the federation’s Official of the Year award for 2018.

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