By Wayne Bennett
For The Register-Herald
The 66th annual West Virginia High School Wrestling Tournament certainly was no disappointment. Huntington High School won the Class AAA championship for the first time and in a great fashion. Head coach Rob Archer is a class act and truly earned the AAA Coach of the Year Award.
Locally, our area had six individual champions, 28 placewinners, a team champion and a team runner-up. This year’s performance by local wrestlers was the best I have seen. Congratulations to all the wrestlers for their effort.
Of course, the state tournament produces a mixture of emotions. The joy of winning a state title is hard to match. On the downside, some wrestlers have wrestled their final match and some coaches have coached their last event. Some competitors are elated with their performance while others wish they could have done better.
Greenbrier West won its first state wrestling championship, holding off a valiant effort from Independence.
West’s coaches, Jeremy and Steve Tincher, have worked tirelessly to get the Cavaliers to the top of the AA-A classification, and by doing so, Jeremy was voted AA-A Coach of the Year by his peers.
Winning the state tournament is a culmination of effort by the coaches and wrestlers. Hard work and sacrifice are just two of the elements leading to a state championship.
Greenbrier West’s championship has also evolved from a great youth program, an excellent middle school program and a community effort that is second to none. Volunteers conduct tournaments, camps and other fundraisers to support the sport of wrestling.
It was volunteers who helped build and finance the large wrestling room at the school. Volunteers work the score tables, run concessions and sell tickets at the local events. It was cooperation from coaches of other sports at the school to keep the wrestling team numbers high enough to have two complete teams. The head football coach, Lewis McClung, encourages the boys to wrestle, and the basketball coach, Joey Fitzwater, worked with Tincher so that Zach Johnson could participate in both sports during the same season. This is highly commendable.
It was cooperation by the school administrators to let the team travel and get the best competition available.
It was people from the past years that laid a foundation for the program that the Cavaliers have today. Names like Harris, Ransom, Stroud, Gray, Holland, Myles, Goddard and Lively are just a few that come to mind.
To the coaches, wrestlers and fans of West End Wrestling, I say savor the moment and let the celebration begin. To their competitors, the Cavaliers have enough returners to make another run for the title next season. Get ready!
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This week, a squeeze of the water bottle goes to Pete Torrico, a big wrestling fan and an avid reader of this column.