— By David Walsh
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The championship round is over and Wheeling Park occupies the spot it has held for nearly all wrestling season — No. 1.
The Patriots officially locked up their first state championship since 2006 when Nate Shelek pinned Carl Cochran at 4:00 at 132 pounds and they had enough points where they could not be caught.
The Patriots had six wrestlers overall in the finals in the title session in the 75th West Virginia State High School Wrestling Tournament at Mountain Health Arena. They had a 4-2 mark overall.
“Awesome,” Shelek said after coming down on the podium for the awards ceremony. “Beyond proud of this team, these coaches. It’s good to be on top.”
The win ends Parkersburg South’s seven-year run at the top.
“Target’s on our back,” Shelek said. “I hate the haters. Gives us motivation. I knew what I had to do. I got the job done.”
With a bunch of younger wrestlers, Shelek believes Wheeling Park can now stay on top.
“Just the beginning,” he said. “We’ve got good kids. They’re hungry.”
Patriots coach Brian Leggett was proud of the effort his team gave from start to finish in dethroning Parkersburg South, which had won seven straight championships.
“Don’t think it’s hit yet,” Leggett said of winning that championship. “I was so focused on the kids. The kids made an investment early and are cashing in now. We’re a momentum team and we have a lot of momentum.”
In Class AA, Point Pleasant, the overwhelming favorite coming in, won in a near walkover to collect its fourth straight state title. The Big Blacks won six of seven in the finals and racked up 233 points to 116.5 for Fairmont Senior and Cameron. That total is good enough for Cameron to win Class A.
One of the biggest moments came when Justin Bartee edged Juda Price of Independence, 2-1, in the finals at 145 to become just the second four-time state champ in Point Pleasant history. Rusty Maness was the first (2008-11).
“It’s a huge honor,” Bartee said. “This year’s been my hardest year. The most losses (38-7). It would’ve been easy to give up. It was hard. I lost to him earlier in the season. I knew it would be exciting. I’d see his picture (Maness) hanging up there. I thought one more time (win) and it’s me.”
Point Pleasant got a second four-time winner when Derek Raike won by major decision, 12-2, over Evan Thompson of Berkeley Springs.
“I put the work in. This is what I’m supposed to do,” Raike said.
Raike’s said it’s something special to go 4-for-4 in winning state tournaments.
“That’s what we’re supposed to do, what we try to do,” Raike said. “When I’m gone, we want to keep on going. We’ve still got people coming in.”
The last time Point Pleasant coach John Bonecutter was here, it was when the Big Blacks won the Class AA title and had the most points overall in the WSAZ Invitational.
“We fixed some things,” Bonecutter said in referring to what his team has done the last month-plus before the big show. “The kids wrestled very well. I’m proud of them. They stepped up.”
Referees wore arm bands to honor former refs Jeff Medley and George Keeney. They both passed away recently.
106, Matthew Nolan dec. Noah White, Wheeling Park, 6-1.
113, Jimmie Bailes, Woodrow Wilson dec. Jacob Perry, Spring Mills, 5-1.
120, Garrin Arthur, Huntington p. Brent Bosley, Parkersburg South, 2:24.
126, Matthew McAfee, St. Albans, p. Jack Lowe, Wheeling Park, 1:40.
132, Nate Shelek, Wheeling Park p. Carl Cochran, John Marshall, 4:00.
138, Bradyn Lucas, Wheeling Park p. Tucker Hurt, Buckhannon-Upshur, 1:45.
145, Luca Felix, University dec.Chance Williams, Spring Mills, 8-4.
152, Patrick Jackson, Spring Mills dec. Ethan Osborne, Woodrow Wilson, 1-0.
160, Gabe Carman, Wheeling Park dec. Robert Shockey, Parkersburg South, 3-2.
170, Gage Wright, Parkersburg South p. Zach Holstion, Riverside, 3:00.
182, Nick Giompalo, Cabell Midland dec. Quran Misner, Huntington, 4-3.
195, Brock Kehler, University dec. Logan Fischer, Cabell Midland, 7-0.
220, Eric Brothers, Wheeling Park p. Colin McBee, University, 1:47.
285, Robby Martin, Huntington dec. Jeffery Jones, Parkersburg, 6-1.
106, Dillon Perdue, Independence dec. Logan Davis, Oak Glen, 7-5 OT.
113, Levi Carpenter, East Fairmont vs. Nathan Wood, Point Pleasant.
120, Conner Blessing, Point Pleasant dec. Zane Minger, Clay Co., 3-2.
126, Gunner Andrick, Point Pleasant p. Brock Mitchell, Lewis Co., 3:09.
132, Braxton Smith, Nitro dec. Riley Curran, Doddridge Co., 5-1.
138, Kolbie Hamilton, Fairmont Sr. dec. Kodi Camp, Ritchie Co., tech. fall 20-2.
145, Justin Bartee, Point Pleasant dec. Juda Price, Independence, 2-1.
152, Josh Woyan, Point Pleasant dec. Evan Zombro, Berkeley Springs, 2-1.
160, Derek Raike, Point Pleasant dec. Evan Thompson, Berkeley Springs, major dec. 12-2.
170, Colten Caron, Independence dec. Adam Angel, Cameron, 4-2.
182, Ian Bush, Cameron dec. Logan Howell, Winfield, 2-0.
195, Tate Britton, Sissonville dec. Colton Moore, Braxton Co, 11-7.
220, Cody Houser, St. Marys dec. Noah Casto, Clay Co., 2-0.
285, Mason Atkinson, Herbert Hoover p. Kolton Weaver, Point Pleasant, 2:50.
106, 3. Ben McComas, George Washington; 4. Garrett Johnson, Woodrow Wilson; 5. Nate Volk, Huntington; 6. Nathaniel Tyson, Buckhannon-Upshur.
113, 3. Logan McFarland, Washington; 4. Adam Carman, Wheeling Park; 5. George Cantwell, Parkersburg; 6. Kaden Harding, John Marshall.
120, 3. Landon Herndon, Spring Mills; 4. Jesse Showalter, Parkersburg; 5. Liam Garcia, Buckhannon-Upshur; 6. Carter Pauley, University.
126, 3. Landon Hoffman, Spring Mills; 4. Jesiah Winters, Huntington; 5. Josh Slack, Riverside; 6. Brock Matson, Ripley.
132, 3. Seth Holt, Cabell Midland; 4. Joe Riggs, Huntington; 5. Ryan Martin, Parkersburg South; 6. David Pomeroy, Riverside.
138, 3. Saige Walls, George Washington; 4. Jackson Stewart, 5. Trent Jones, Parkersburg South; 6. Lucas Talley, Hurricane.
145, 3. Brett Haskins, Ripley; 4. Colton Spradling, St. Albans; 5. Nathan Cornett, Buckhannon-Upshur; 6. Kyle Wheeler, Parkersburg South.
152, 3. Dom Parker, University; 4. Quinton Velas, Wheeling Park; 5. Jude Childers, Parkersburg South; 6. Hunter Brown, Ripley.
160, 3. Kade Bradbury, Washington; 4. Dakota Hagedorn, University; 5. Derek Starkey, Bridgeport; 6. Kameron Phillips, Hurricane.
170, 3. Elijah Wellings-Osha, University; 4. Tyler Meisenzhal, Washington; 5. Ben McCardle, John Marshall; 6. Cooper Durst, Ripley.
182, 3. Hezekiah Taylor, University; 4. Vacant; 5. Hunter Nixon, Wheeling Park; 6. Klypsan Wallace, John Marshall.
195, 3. Jay Jones, Woodrow Wilson; 4. Tyler Wise, Brooke; 5. Ayden Morris, Parkersburg South; 6. Parker Bentley, Musselman.
220, 3. Zach Howard, Parkersburg; 4. Jerron Allen, St. Albans; 5. Thomas Mullins, Greenbrier East; 6. Forfeit.
285, 3. Jackson Evans, Woodrow Wilson; 4. Connor McCann, Spring Valley; 5. Dyllan Haseleu, Morgantown; 6. Colton Naylor, Oak Hill.
106, 3. Noah Hess, North Marion; 4. Gavin Bolland, Elkins; 5. Slaton Petitt, Cameron; 6. JoJo High, Sissonville.
113, 3. Ashton Wasmer, Williamstown; 4. Tucker Lilly, Greenbrier West; 5. Hayden Lamb, Oak Glen; 6. Forfeit.
120, 3. Jooshua Goode, Shady Spring; 4. Dylan Corbin, Herbert Hoover; 5. Clayton Lamb, Oak Glen; 6. Forfeit.
126, 3. Mikey Jones, Fairmont Senior; 4. Jett Sampson, Calhoun County; 5. Ashton Hoge, Cameron; 6. Clayton Robinson, Greenbrier West.
132, 3. Brody Hess, North Marion; 4. Thomas Ours, Petersburg; 5. Hunter Spitznogle, Fairmont Senior; 6. Moses Gray, Greenbrier West.
138, 3. Blayne Jarvis, Braxton County; 4. Payton Neely, Cameron; 5. Mackandle Freeman, Point Pleasant; 6. Caelyb Nichols, Independence.
145, 3. Kolton Parsons, Wirt; 4. Kris Sherman, Frankfort; 5. Isaac Harris, Berkeley Springs; 6. Dominic Armstead, Fairmont Senior.
152, 3. Trenton Bush, Lewis County; 4. Raiden Childers, Liberty-H; 5. Braxton Dlugopolski, Oak Glen; 6. Andrew Rollyson, Herbert Hoover.
160, 3. Trenton Huffman, Tyler Consolidated; 4. Wyatt Baldwin, Herbert Hoover; 5. Jackson Davis, Braxton County; 6. Gavin Legg, Winfield.
170, 3. Dylan Knight, Doddridge County; 4. Dalton Hanshaw, Nicholas County; 5. Michael Kruzel, Fairmont Senior; 6. Forfeit.
182, 3. Connor Jones, Nicholas County; 4. Cole Vandall, Greenbrier West; 5. Bryce Leegan, Braxton County; 6. Mason Miller, East Hardy.
195, 3. Dylan Ours, Fairmont Senior; 4. J.T. Miller, East Fairmont; 5. Evan Fuelhart, Winfield; 6. Nick Barrickman, Elkins.
220, 3. Scott Worstell, Nitro; 4. Colby Price, Point Pleasant; 5. Justin Mace, Doddridge County; 6. Tyler Workman, Richwood.
285, 3. Logan Isom, Independence; 4. Gunner Bryan, Cameron; 5. Evan Helm, East Fairmont; 6. Ben Wagstaff, St. Marys.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism