By Wayne Bennett
For The Register-Herald
Wrestling news and notes:
n Former Liberty High School wrestler Mike Carpenter is continuing to have a good season for the West Liberty Hilltoppers. Wrestling in the 285-pound class, he has had great success while the team has been depleted by injuries and is currently on a downward spin. With a little luck, Carpenter could reach All-America status this year.
n Like the football and basketball teams, West Virginia University’s wrestling squad has had a rude welcome when competing against Big 12 teams. The Mountaineers have been beaten by Oklahoma State 36-3, Oklahoma 25-14 and 30-3 by Iowa State.
n One Division I team close to our area is having a super season thus far. The Virginia Tech Hokies are 13-2 in dual matches and are currently ranked ninth in the country. Head coach Kevin Dresser was an outstanding high school wrestler in Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa and was a two-time All-American and the 142-pound national champion in 1986.
After coaching a few years with the legendary Dan Gable, he was hired as the head wrestling coach at Grundy, Va. His teams won eight consecutive state championships and produced many individual champions.
He was then hired at Christiansburg High School, where his teams won five state championships and at one time was ranked fourth in the nation.
In 2006, he was hired at Virginia Tech and has methodically built a top-notch wrestling program.
Next year’s recruiting class for the Blacksburg school is ranked fifth among Division I powers. Included in that class is Jared Haught from Parkersburg High School. Haught won the state championship last year in the 182-pound class and is currently ranked first in the same class. He should be a solid addition to the Tech squad.
Unfortunately, wrestling fans will not get to see the Hokies wrestle at home anymore this season. A couple of dual matches, the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament are all on the road. Look for greater success from the Hokes next year.
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Woodrow Wilson will host a triangular match Thursday against Greenbrier West and Nicholas County. This tri-match will feature 13 state-ranked individuals.
Wrestling will begin at 6 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson’s gymnasium.
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This week, a squeeze of the water bottle goes to Gary Floyd, a big wrestling fan and an avid reader of this column.