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Revenge sweeter than 16 to Cougars' Nick

Jefferson sophomore one of six area champs at W.Va. AAA Region II tourney

Jefferson sophomore one of six area champs at W.Va. AAA Region II tourney

February 17, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Birthdays are supposed to be happy days. Jefferson sophomore Dylan Nick spent his 16th with a vengeance.

Nick finally got the best of East Fairmont's Pat Murphy on Saturday, posting a 9-5 decision in the 171-pound championship bout of the West Virginia Class AAA Region II Tournament.

Nick, who dropped a pair of decisions to Murphy earlier this year, won his first region title to earn a trip to the state tournament next weekend.

"The first time I lost to (Murphy) it was at a Jefferson quad-match - the first one of the season - and I was a little out of shape," Nick said. "I wanted revenge, so I just waited. I happened to face him again at Winner's Choice and I was winning for awhile, then it went downhill and I lost 4-3.

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"The revenge kept building up and I had all these thoughts in mind. It looks bad when somebody beats you twice, let alone three times in a row."

Nick salvaged his image as he never trailed against Murphy, who has won 129 career matches and was ranked No. 2 in the state entering the region tournament. Nick, ranked fourth, scored a pair of third-period takedowns to ice the win.

"I didn't make as many mistakes," Nick said. "In the last match a mistake at the end beat me and it left a sour taste in my mouth. I knew I would win if I cut out the mistakes."

Nick was one of six region champions from the area and one of 24 to advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Huntington Civic Center. The top four finishers from the region qualified for states.

Hedgesville will send nine wrestlers to the tournament, with Billy Forquer and Charlie Kopp headlining the squad. Forquer scored a 6-3 decision over East Fairmont's Eric Morris in the 152-pound championship bout and Kopp capped the day with a first-period pin at 285 to win his second straight region title.

Forquer fought through a head injury in the second period and used a takedown and nearfall in the third period to pull away. The Eagles junior avenged a 3-2 loss to Morris, also at the Winner's Choice Tournament last month.

"First off, I wanted to try to keep him to the mat," Forquer said. "Then I landed on my head (in the second period) but my adrenaline was pumping by then."

Forquer expects to see Morris yet again when the two make the trip to Huntington. It would be the third matchup in six weeks between the top two wrestlers in the state - Morris was ranked No. 1 entering Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kopp had a relatively easy day with a first-round bye and two first-period pins. He pinned Fairmont Senior's Matt Jackson in 1:00 in the heavyweight championship bout.

Mya Miller (fourth at 103), Andrew Knotts (fourth, 112), Jon Kriss (second, 125), Mitch Gordon (fourth, 130), Sean Huff (fourth, 140), Mike Cardello (third, 145) and Dustin Cutlip (fourth, 215) also qualified for the Eagles, who finished third with 161 points.

"Realistically, we thought we could get 12 (to the state tournament)," said Hedgesville coach Bill Whittington. "When we get there, we want to place as many as we can. We want to get as many people on that podium as we can."

Musselman will send seven wrestlers to Huntington, including region champions Tae Huor, Jared Weatherholtz and Jeff Ford.

Huor scored a 56-second pin of North Marion's Wesley Wheeler in the 140-pound championship bout. The Musselman senior scored three first-period pins en route to his first region title.

"It's cool. It feels like it's my time to shine," Huor said. "I would like to place in the top three at states. If I do then (former Applemen coach Mark Cagle) said he would buy me dinner."

Weatherholtz hung a 10-3 decision on East Fairmont's Morgan Murphy at 189 to improve to 40-3 for the season. Weatherholtz - ranked No. 3 in the state - got the better of No. 2 Murphy after losing to him last year.

Ford made it an area-best three region titles for the Applemen after pinning North Marion's Matt Pigott in 2:47 to win the title at 215. Musselman finished fourth in the eight-team tournament with 150 points and Justin Cornwell (third, 112), Luke Beavers (fourth, 125), Luke Dawson (second, 145) and Andrew Jones (third, 160) also qualified for the state tournament.

"These guys showed up to wrestle today," said Musselman coach Mike Bosley. "We only have 15 kids on our team, but what we lack in numbers, we make up for with quality. We were expecting seven (qualifiers), but hoping for nine."

Nick was the only champion for last-place Jefferson (67 points), but Dustin Carter (second, 135) and Devin Raine (third, 125) advanced to states.

Martinsburg finished sixth with 99 points, but had no wrestlers in the championship finals. Andy Stotler (third, 103), Nick Allen (third, 130), Cody Carpenter (fourth, 135), Blake Debord (third, 215) and Hetzel Kerns (third, 285) earned tickets to Huntington.

North Marion won the region with 235 points, followed by East Fairmont (192.5).

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