Parkersburg South back on top in Class AAA; Fairmont Senior claims Class AA crown

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Parkersburg South took just a year between championships. Fairmont Senior waited much longer.

The Polar Bears put on another solid effort Saturday and finished the charge to the Class AA state championship in the 76th WVSSAC State High School Wrestling Tournament at Mountain Health Arena with 206 points. Their last state wrestling championship came in 1960. 

Independence and Point Pleasant tied for second with 177.5 points. The Big Blacks made the jump thanks to a win by pin at heavyweight from Kolton Weaver over Logan Isom of Independence.

Fairmont Senior went 3-1 in the championship round Saturday night. Jason Walker started the run with a 2-1 win over Blake Ringer of rival East Fairmont. Hunter Spitznogle followed with a 6-4 win over Riley Curran of Doddridge County and Kolbie Hamilton wrapped things up with a 6-4 win over Blayne Jarvis of Braxton County at 144.

“Guys showed up and wrestled every single day,” Fairmont Senior coach Michael Fortier said. “They gave it their all, whatever it took.”

Walker got a reversal in the closing seconds to defeat Ringer.

“Looking at the clock. I knew I had to do something,” Walker said. “I worked out and hit the switch.”

“Jason just kept going,” Fortier said of Walker, who finished third in the Region 1 Tournament. “That move worked well at the end.”

Walker said the win is extra special since the fans of Polar Bears and East Fairmont were seated next to each other.

“Looking in the stands I knew it was pretty big,” Walker said. “Anytime you beat a rival it’s big. This team worked so hard to get where we are. Dedicated ourselves. Working hard the past two weeks and it paid off.”

Fairmont Senior had locked up the title with a strong showing in the morning consolation round. The Polar Bears then put on one last big effort in the evening.

“Still can’t believe it,” Fortier said. “I won’t until I get the championship trophy in my hands.”

Parkersburg South, on the other hand, needed just a year to get back on top. Wheeling Park ended the seven-year title run of the Patriots last year, but Parkersburg South rebounded in a big way.

“For three days we wrestled hard,” Patriots coach Shaun Smith said. “I knew the kids could do it. We were on our way up all season. We had no deep slump.”

The Patriots did overcome a strep throat issue between the time they won the Region IV title and began wrestling here Thursday. Along the way, they won the Ron Mauck OVAC Championship and West Virginia State Class AAA State Duals.

Parkersburg South had 10 wrestlers place overall and racked up 215 points. The Patriots locked up the crown thanks to a 9-1 performance in the consolation round. They went 2-3 in the finals. University, thanks to a pin by Brock Kehler to win at 215, jumped to second with 165 and Spring Mills dropped to third with 163.5.

“They just did it,” University coach Ken Maisel said. “I’m not that disappointed with our performance. Give them credit.”

Ryan Martin won at 138 and Gage Wright at 175 for the Parkersburg South titles.

“I was pretty stoked,” Martin said. “He was quick, but I was able to handle it. It was weird to wrestle him. To win my senior year is awesome. It’s awesome. We lit the fire. We performed for three days and got the points we needed.”

In Class A, Greenbrier West totaled 77 points to edge Cameron (76).

Among other matches, Cabell Midland’s Nick Giompalo got a major decision over Robert Shockey of Parkersburg South, 16-6.

For St. Albans, Matthew McAfee beat Jimmie Bailes of Woodrow Wilson, 3-0. The Flying Eagles went 3-1 in the finals.

Woodrow Wilson’s Ethan Osborne, winner at 157, was voted most outstanding wrestler. Coach of the year went to Matthew Osborne of Woodrow Wilson. That’s a son-father combo.

In Class AA, Judah Price of Independence, winner at 150, was voted most outstanding wrestler. 

Price was also the recipient of this season’s MetroNews Football Player of the Year and Kennedy Award after helping guide the Patriots to the Class AA state championship on the gridiron.

Coach of the Year went to Fortier.

In Class A, Adam Angel of Cameron, runner-up at 175, was voted most outstanding wrestler. His coach, Tim Jones, was Coach of the Year.

Prior to the start of the round, placers from the West Virginia State Girls Tournament were introduced. 

One, Zoey Salmons from Cabell Midland, got a fourth straight girls title there and in this event, she became the first female to place in Class AAA when she took sixth.

More High School Sports

High School Sports
Fairmont Senior closes strong for 52-45 victory over East Fairmont in sectional final
The Polar Bears scored the final nine points of the contest, overcoming a two-point deficit for a hard-fought win over their crosstown rival.
March 4, 2023 - 12:09 am
High School Sports
Weir wins at North Marion to secure sectional championship, 54-45
March 3, 2023 - 11:35 pm
High School Sports
Team races remain tight at state wrestling; Parkersburg South, Fairmont Senior, Greenbrier West lead entering final day
University and Woodrow Wilson remain in the mix in Class AAA. The Polar Bears lead Class AA, although Independence and Point Pleasant are within striking distance. Cameron is just one point behind the Cavaliers in Class A.
March 3, 2023 - 10:44 pm
High School Sports
Boys H.S. Basketball Regional matchups
32 regional winners will advance to the state tournament in Charleston.
March 3, 2023 - 9:21 pm