By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
A few weeks ago, Shady Spring head coach Larry Ransom and assistant Derek Scarbro got to talking about how many of their wrestlers had potential to qualify for the state tournament.
“We thought we could possibly get nine in, and I said maybe 10,” Ransom said. “Then I said the other day that it might be possible to get 10 or 11 in.”
Eleven, indeed, turned out to be the magic number, and the Tigers nearly claimed a regional championship along the way.
Shady was narrowly defeated by Class AAA No. 4 and tournament host Ripley in the team standings, 238-222. But the Tigers served notice that, really, there has been no transition to their first season in Class AAA.
They showed they belong.
The No. 9 Tigers will carry plenty of momentum into the state tournament, which starts Thursday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. Four wrestlers claimed championships and three others were runners-up.
The champions were freshman Logan Robertson at 106 pounds and seniors Johnny Forren (120), Nick Farley (138) and Brandon Stump (145). The second-place finishers were Zach Clark (113), John Duncan (132) and Cody Richmond (160).
Ransom said Forren (38-2) is “wrestling at another level.”
“As far as his experience in wrestling and tournament experience, he’s all out,” Ransom added.
Also qualifying for the state tournament were Tyler Kosut (third, 126), Henry Matos (third, 152) and Keeten Asbury (third, 170).
Ransom said he was disappointed for Hunter Taylor, who came within an eyelash of qualifying at 195 but lost on a close call and finished fifth.
The first-year coach said it was difficult to know early in the season how potential the team had.
“At the beginning of the year it is really hard to see this far ahead because there are so many variables,” Ransom said. “We are really ecstatic.”
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