HHS, Knights in competitive 138-pound class
HUNTINGTON — Huntington High and Cabell Midland made some noise in the state wrestling tournament 138-pound class that has one of the most competitive lineup of wrestlers.
Gabe Dempsey of the Highlanders, the fourth-place qualifier from Region IV, upset Region II champion Hunter Dodson from Spring Mills with a first-round pin Thursday and won again Friday against Dakoyta Thatcher of John Marshall, 5-2, before losing to Gavin Quiocho of Parkersburg South.
Cabell Midland’s Isaiah Vaughn, third in the Region IV tournament, won in the first round against Jordin Smith of Hedgesville, the Region II runner-up, by a technical fall and won again Friday against Cayden Hoover from Greenbrier East, 9-5. Bo Moler of Parkersburg put Vaughn into the consolation matches.
“The 138 class is very competitive once you get past the first two guys,” Huntington coach Rob Archer said referring to Quiocho and Moler.
“I know I can win,” Vaughn said of facing Moler. “To do it you just have to give everything you have.”
Spring Valley’s Cole Walker, a late addition to the 138-pound class because of an injury to another wrestler, lost his first round match against Quiocho, the Region IV champion, and began Saturday in the consolation bracket first round with one victory before bowing out.
SOME ADVANCED, SOME DIDN’T: Class AAA schools Huntington High, Cabell Midland and Spring Valley had wrestlers who fell into the consolation rounds or were eliminated altogether Friday as the state high school championships continued in Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
Jaishawn Lyles from Huntington High and Luke Jordan from Cabell Midland, both wrestling in the 106-pound weight class, lost in the quarterfinal round of the championship bracket and rebounded to win their next matches to keep their hope alive of placing no worse than fifth place.
Michael Dolan from Spring Mills recorded a technical fall against Lyles that put the Highlander into the consolations. Lyles recovered and beat Grant Oxley of University to set up another match late Friday.
Jordan dropped a decision against Dylan Tachoir of Martinsburg in the quarterfinals then pinned Aidan Wilson of Buckhannon-Upshur before a loss to Cody Taggart of Wheeling Park.
Huntington High wrestlers Devin Doss (120), Alex Viars (126) and A.J. Dempsey (152) all won and advanced in the consolation bracket and were still competing in late mathes. Kordell Todd of the Highlanders defeated Damion Sanders of Hurricane, 4-2, in the 285-pound weight class and moved on to meet Cabell Midland’s Kellen Hunt in the consolation third round.
Hunt fell to Austin Chapman of Riverside in the championship bracket quarterfinals, but pinned Jonathan Lavely of Washington in the second round of the consolation bracket to earn the match with Todd.
Huntington High’s Preston Sellards (132), Isaiah Shook (160) and Grant Murphy (195) were eliminated from the tournament. Cabell Midland’s Payne Salmons (132), Ki Taylor (145), Ty Chapman (170) were also bounced out.
Preston Rose from Cabell Midland (220) was eliminated with two losses Friday.
Spring Valley’s Cole Walker (138) won his first consolation match and was eliminated in the second round.
CONSOLATION DOGFIGHT: There are few days in West Virginia prep sports as grueling as Friday at the state wrestling tournament, especially for those who lost opening-round matches Thursday. With every bout a do-or-die affair, grapplers competed in the consolation bracket in a dogfight for survival with precious points being earned for each win and a finish on the podium coming closer into view.
“It’s stressful, but you have to keep going,” 195-pound Mason Atkinson of the Huskies said. “You have to keep wrestling through. We all know what’s at stake here, so we’re all battling for it.
“It’s been eventful. There are some big boys here. (The nerves) are just something you have to deal with and fight through it.”
THE PRESSURE: Speaking of early pressure Friday, there was Thomas Hartley of St. Albans at 120 pounds, who fell by pin to John Marshall’s Ethan Gray on Thursday night, condemning him to the consolation bracket Friday.
Hartley led 8-2 in that match before being pinned.
A sophomore for St. Albans, won the 106-pound title as a freshman last year, but moved up two weight classes to compete at 120 this season. He admitted the new year brought with it some high expectations.
“There was a good bit of people that already had me as winning and it was a little pressure,” Hartley said.
Huntington High’s Devin Doss ended Hartley’s tournament with a pin Friday night.