The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

January 16, 2014

Daniel ‘trying to hold it together’

Traveling to tournaments these days doesn’t require a bus — chartered or otherwise — for Liberty’s obliterated wrestling team. A compact car might do the trick.

One coach driving, another controlling the GPS from the passenger seat. Three wrestlers in the back. A trunk to hold all their gear.

A situation that was bad at the start of the season hasn’t gotten better. In fact, it’s grown worse. Liberty began with eight wrestlers but is now down to just three.

From injuries and poor grades to apathy and insurmountable frustration, Liberty’s program is a shell of its former self, resembling nothing like the team that just six years ago was a regional champion.

“We have everything in the world going on,” veteran head coach Randy Daniel said. “It’s been a tough row to hoe. I was afraid it might end up getting like this. We’re just trying to hold it together.”

The perpetual snake bites actually started last season. There was illness. There were academic issues. You name it, Daniel went through it. By the time regionals rolled around, the Raiders were left with just five wrestlers.

Of course, all five qualified for the state tournament, helping Liberty to an unlikely third-place regional finish. Four of those five went on to place at states.

One of them was Tristen Harvey, the Region 3 champion at 120 pounds who finished sixth in Huntington. He’s one of the three who remain standing, joining brothers Austin and Hunter Fraley in a defiant stand to see the season through to the end.

Harvey admits it has not been easy. Practices are challenging and probably can seem unproductive because of the limitations, and the determined three go into every tournament knowing there is no chance of a team championship.

Asked if there have been times he felt like quitting, Harvey said, “Sometimes. But I felt like this is my senior year and I have to stick it out.”

The whole situation aside, Harvey seems to be going out well. He’s currently ranked fourth in the state at 120, where he won the Beckley Newspapers Invitational and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler.

If things were destined to get this bad, Daniel at least is fortunate to have a good group of wrestlers fighting the fight. In addition to Harvey, the Fraleys come from an athletic family.

They all have Daniel’s admiration for persevering.

“I have sensed the frustration in them,” he said. “They’re afraid we may have to fold things up before it’s all said and done. They are doing their best to try to keep tough and try to finish strong.

“We’re just trying to put forth our best quality even though we don’t have quantity.”

The chance to stand on the highest podium on the first Saturday in March in Huntington is enough motivation to keep Harvey going.

“I just want to be a state champion my senior year,” he said. “Just the love for the sport.”

Daniel can’t help wondering, is there something he could have differently?

“If anyone is to blame, it’s me. It’s my fault,” Daniel said. “Maybe I could have done a better job recruiting (athletes at Liberty to fill in) or motivating (wrestlers before they left).”

Harvey points a finger at no one, least of all his coach. Daniel is doing whatever he can to salvage a nightmare season for the final three.

“He’s one of my idols now,” Harvey said. “He’s doing this just for the team. It’s my senior year and he wants to see me succeed.”

n n n

Liberty is scheduled to join Independence, Greenbrier West and Fayetteville at the Braxton County Invitational today and Saturday.

Other area teams in action this weekend include Shady Spring at the Winners Choice Tournament in Fairmont and Greenbrier East at the Big Blue Tournament in Christiansburg, Va.

— E-mail: gfauber

@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter

@GaryFauber.

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 brand Bradshaw or the field?

    If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 justice Home sweet home away from home

    When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp