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W.Va. title hopefuls take to mat today

February 21, 2002

W.Va. title hopefuls take to mat today



By AL DITZEL
alfredd@herald-mail.com


Thirty-four area wrestlers begin their quest today for a West Virginia state wrestling championship at the Civic Center in Huntington.

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Hedgesville, Jefferson, Martinsburg and Musselman will compete in Class AAA, while Berkeley Springs competes in Class AA/A in the first round at 6:30 p.m.

The tournament picks up with the quarterfinals at 11:30 a.m. Friday and the semifinals following at 7:30 p.m. The finals are at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Here's a brief look at the area's wrestlers in each class.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Hedgesville improved as the season moved along but the Eagles could always count on senior Kevin Ballam and junior Danny Lord. Ballam, competing at 112 pounds, already has fourth-place finishes at 103 as a sophomore and at 112 last year. Ballam has last year's fifth- (University's Kyle Turnbull) and sixth- (Wheeling Park's Brian Humphrey) place winners at 112 in in his half of the draw.

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Lord, competing at 145, finished second at 140 last year. He has Jefferson's Justin Hawes in his half of the draw, while Martinsburg's Justin Kessler sitting on the other side of the bracket. Lord defeated Kessler, a fifth-place winner in 2000, to win the Region II title this season.

Also competing for Hedgesville are Josh Grim (119), Justin Snyder (160), Mike McKinney (171), Phil Files (189) and Chuck Files (215).

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Jefferson also has seven wrestlers in the states, including Steven Reynolds (125), Chantz Griffith (135) and Dustin Householder (215). Reynolds is a two-time region champ and appears to have a better half of the draw. Musselman's Justin Jones is on the other half with last year's second- (Parkersburg South's Ryan Metz) and third- (Ripley's Josh Casto) place winners at 119.

Griffith, a fourth-place winner at 112 in 2000, was injured last year and could not compete in the postseason. He is a Region II champ this year and Ripley's Matt Smith, second at 125 last year, is on the other half of the draw.

Householder should be a two-time placewinner, but was disqualified last year for an off-mat incident and forfeited his fourth-place finish. He finished sixth at 275 in 2000. Householder has last year's third-place winner (Preston's Matt Miller) at 189 in his half of the draw.

Sitting on the other half is last year's 189 state champ (North Marion's Andrew Starsick), last year's fifth-place winner (John Marshall's John Wells) at 215 and Files. Also, Jefferson qualified Darrel Dorsey (130), Godie Gustines (140), Mike Davis (152) and John Silverman (189).

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Musselman's Jeff Clark (103) finished fifth at 103 last year. Morgantown's Lucas Cappas, fourth at 103 last year, and Martinsburg's Chris Conner are in the same half of the draw.

Martinsburg also qualified Mike Barbour (130), Justin Bird (160) and Ryan Bird (275) while Musselman also qualified Kendal Hudson (140).

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Berkeley Springs finished second in last week's Class AA/A Region II tournament, qualifying 11 wrestlers into the states. As usual, the Indians are led by Brandon Clark (119) and Josh Clark (189). Brandon Clark, a sixth-place winner at 119 last year, meets Hundred's Daniel Whiteman, fourth at 119 last year, in the first round and also has Williamstown's Casey Biddle, second at 112 last year, in his half of the draw. On the other half is Frankfort's Cody Shirey, a fourth-place winner at 112 last year.

Josh Clark, fifth at 189 last year, has Oak Glen's Ronnie Hebrock, the state champ at 171 last year, on his half of the draw. Hebrock defeated Berkeley Springs graduate Richard Stotler in last year's semifinals. On the other half of the draw are Williamstown's Ryan Delebreau, third at 189 last year, and Frankfort's Dustin Bosley, sixth at 189 last year.

Berkeley Springs also qualified Rick Kump (103), Brian McCann (112), Kenny Michael (125), Chris Moore (135), Frank Gregg (140), Matt Mason (152), Jamie Moore (160), Eli Parsell (171) and Donnie Stotler (215).

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