By Wayne Bennett
For The Register-Herald
Local wrestling fans will not have to travel far this coming weekend to see some top notch wrestling.
The Lumberjack Classic (previously called the West Virginia Army National Guard Duals) will be held at the Summersville Armory on Friday and Saturday. Thirty high school teams from five states will compete for the dual championship. Those teams include seven of the top Class AA/A schools in West Virginia and one ranked AAA school. Johnson Central of Kentucky and Lakeside, Ohio, also will bring competitive squads to the competition.
North Myrtle Beach will compete in the tournament for the first time. Head coach Amos Collins used to coach in Buckhannon and has relatives in Summersville, so it will be a reunion of friends and family and a chance for his team to see some different competition. It will also give his wrestlers a view of what winter is like in the Mountain State.
The teams will be divided into five six-team pools on Friday. Everyone will wrestle five times. There will be a total of 75 team matches wrestled that day on seven mats.
On Saturday, the five pool winners and runners-up will be grouped together, as will the third- through sixth-place finishers. A total of 60 high school matches will take place on Saturday.
Lee Parlier, the Richwood head coach and tournament director, has decided to eliminate the middle school tournament this year for various reasons, but will have a middle quadrangular match on Saturday for Independence, Richwood, Shady Spring and Summersville middle schools.
Teamwise, most people will be watching the performances of Class AA/A No. 1 Greenbrier West, No. 2 Independence and No. 3 North Marion, but teams like Keyser, Calhoun, Braxton, Winfield, Johnson Central and Shady Spring will be hard to deal with. It will be great to watch.
The Individual matches should also be something else. Almost 60 state-ranked wrestlers from West Virginia, along with a handful of ranked wrestlers from other states, will compete. Four defending champions from West Virginia will be there — Greenbrier West’s Malik Boatwright and Dustin Yoakum, Winfield’s Bryce Humphreys and North Marion’s Ryan Elliott.
If you like wrestling, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Wrestling will begin around 1 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
This week a squeeze of the water bottle goes to my buddy Willie Bragg, a big wrestling fan and an avid reader of this column.