By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
On a team that includes the likes of Malik Boatwright and Dustin Yoakum — both state champions — and Marquis Frazier, a state runner-up a year ago, it would be easy for a guy to get lost in the shuffle.
Especially when all that guy does is go to the mat, wrestle — and usually win — and head back into the crowd.
That would describe Ben Alderson, Greenbrier West’s 126-pounder who has racked up 25 wins and secured a state ranking without puffing out his chest or bragging on social media.
Yes, there is the individual aspect of wrestling. But it’s still team first for the Cavaliers senior.
“I just like to score a lot of points for my team,” Alderson said.
“You just don’t find very many kids like Ben,” West coach Jeremy Tincher said. “He is the total package as a person and as a wrestler. He comes from a great family and does all the things the right way.
“He is just a quiet, quiet kid. You don’t even think about Ben as being a leader because he leads by example. He just doesn’t say a lot. Every tournament he just wrestles, then goes back to the bleachers. He doesn’t do anything flashy or bring attention to himself.”
When the Class AA/A Region 3 tournament is held in nine days, Alderson will bring with him a 25-7 record and the state’s No. 3 ranking at 126. One spot above him is Independence freshman Jacob Hart, who beat Alderson 1-0 in the finals at the Coalfield Conference Invitational last week.
Tincher said Alderson has evolved in his four years at West.
“He used to be a better mat wrestler than on his feet, but now he has improved so much on his feet that we feel comfortable putting him there when we have the choice, because he gets a lot of takedowns,” Tincher said. “He has developed into the total package as a wrestler. He has really put in the time to get better.”
Of course, the Cavaliers are no strangers to success at the state tournament. Alderson was a junior on last year’s team that won the state championship.
“That was a huge thing, especially being from Greenbrier West,” Alderson said. “That was only the second the school has had in any sport. That was a big accomplishment for us. It almost seemed like it was unreal.”
That title is one of several things Alderson said will stand out when he looks back on his career.
“My freshman year it was definitely a good experience wrestling with my brother, Nathan,” he said. “He pushed me to work harder in the mat room and to give it my all.
“My sophomore year it was a huge honor to place at the state tournament (fourth at 106 pounds). And last year, winning the state championship was a big thing.”
There is still a little left to be written on the script of his senior year. Tincher wouldn’t be surprised to see the happiest of endings.
“If he goes down there and can put together a good (state) tournament and gets a good draw, I think he can be there in the Big Show on Saturday night,” Tincher said.
No matter what, don’t expect to hear a lot about it from Alderson.
“Flying under the radar,” Alderson said, “can be a good thing.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber.