By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Right off the bat, Greenbrier West coach Jeremy Tincher wants to know how good his team is.
That was his thinking when he lined up the inaugural Cavalier Clash, which will be held Saturday at the school in Charmco. Wrestling will start at 11 a.m.
The host Cavaliers will welcome Shady Spring, North Marion, Wirt County, Clay County and Roane County. Four of the teams are ranked in the Class AA/A preseason poll — Clay (second) Greenbrier West (fourth), Wirt (fifth) and North Marion (seventh).
“I thought that would be a nice way to start the season against some good teams,” Tincher said. “We felt like this is a good way to kick things off and see where we’re at.”
On paper, Tincher has every reason to be optimistic about the 2012-13 season. While the Cavaliers have to fill vacancies left after the departures of state placewinners Jabez Fleming (152), Andrew Spade (heavyweight) and Cole Hinkle (126), and 132-pounder Aaron Bugby would likely have competed in Huntington, too, but had his season cut short because of illness.
But when a Class A school has 36 kids try out for the wrestling team, things tend to turn out fine.
There is a load of talent back for Tincher, including placewinners Malik Boatwright (third, 145), Ben Alderson (fourth, 106) and Dustin Yoakum (sixth, 120).
Tyler Parker, who also placed at the state tournament (third, 160), is the team’s lone senior.
“He is our leader,” Tincher said. “He’s the guy who makes us go. It was the same way in football.”
Tincher is particularly excited about a talented sophomore class. Among them are Jordan Grimmitt, Jordan Tincher (the coach’s nephew), Chris Patton, Dave Murphy, Cody Loudermilk, Tristan Kessler and Marquis Frazier.
Frazier burst onto the scene last year as a freshman and qualified for the state tournament at 170 pounds.
He was injured during football season and will be unable to compete this weekend. Tincher anticipates him being released to start practicing as soon as today and to be ready in time for Greenbrier West’s duals meet scheduled for Dec. 29.
“We’ve got a group of sophomores that are for real,” Tincher said.
Tincher also expects contributions from the likes of Caleb Currence, Kirkland Lively and Cole Gilkeson.
Loudermilk and senior Zack Johnson are football players who decided to join the wrestling team. As a matter of fact, Johnson will wrestle and play basketball.
“He wants to be a state champion, either in wrestling or basketball,” Tincher said.
Like the top-tier teams from around the state, Greenbrier West did a lot of offseason wrestling, including tournaments and in camps.
“We didn’t stop wrestling until the beginning or middle of May,” Tincher said. “The kids have put a lot of time in.
“Normally we have football players who wrestle. The kids are as good at wrestling as they are at football.”
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