The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 22, 2013

Middle schools make presence felt

Independence, Collins finish in top 10 at WSAZ Invitational

By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor

— The WSAZ Invitational isn’t just a measuring stick for the teams participating.

It also provides coaches with a glimpse to the future.

“It gives me an opportunity to watch the middle school (team),” Independence High School coach Cliff Warden said prior to the tournament. “Between Noah Adams and Jacob Hart (among others), hopefully I will have the opportunity to see what the future holds.”

By sheer numbers, the middle school portion of the WSAZ is bigger than the high school. There were 47 middle school teams, compared to 28 high schools.

Just like on the high school level, the region was well-represented on the middle school side.

Two local middle schools, Independence and Collins, finished in the top 10. Indy was sixth with 146 points, while Collins, which feeds into Oak Hill High, was ninth with 121.

Each of those schools had a wrestler in the finals. Collins’ Tanner Harris fell to Luke Martin of Blennerhassett in the 78-pound championship, while Adams was defeated by Milton’s Matt Blake in the 128-pound title match.

It was the first loss of the season for both Harris (34-1) and Adams (38-1).

Also competing in the tournament were Summersville (17th, 95), Eastern Greenbrier (21st, 82.5), Shady Spring (24th, 61), Western Greenbrier (27th, 57), Park (tied 29th, 42) and Trap Hill (44th, 17).

The following wrestlers were placewinners:

n 78 pounds: Tanner Harris, Collins, second; Liam Lusher, Eastern Greenbrier, fifth;

n 84: Hunter Taylor, Independence, fifth; Zach Barber, Collins, seventh;

n 90: Jacob Hefner, Eastern Greenbrier, seventh;

n 102: Connor Gibson, Collins, third;

n 110: Sam Buckland, Shady Spring, seventh;

n 116: Jacob Hart, Independence, fourth;

n 128: Noah Adams, Independence, second; Jacob Thomas, Eastern Greenbrier, eighth;

n 135: Antonio Leopardi, Park, seventh;

n 145: Trenton Casto, Collins, seventh;

n 155: Isaac Trotter, Independence, sixth;

n 190: Jacob Scott, Eastern Greenbrier, eighth;

n 285: Chris Snuffer, Collins, sixth.

For more information on the WSAZ Invitational, please see