By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Win or lose, freshmen have a definite influence on the 66th annual West Virginia High School Wrestling Tournament.
Of the 86 area wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament out of Region 3, 17 are freshmen. Many of them are ranked, including Shady Spring’s Logan Robertson (fifth) and Greenbrier East’s Jasiel Kinder (sixth), both of whom wrestle at 106 pounds in Class AAA.
Robertson edged Kinder in the region finals last weekend.
“He (Robertson) started in middle school and got thumped on pretty good,” Shady coach Larry Ransom said. “In seventh grade he started winning a few matches, and by eighth grade he was picking it up. Going into ninth grade, over the summer he got a lot of open tournaments and a couple camps under his belt.
“We knew he had a lot of potential. It was one of those things where we had to see what he was all about. He’s a good competitor and really has a good sense of wrestling position.”
Kinder was a third-place finisher at the West Virginia Juniors last year. Another Spartan freshman, Jared Morgan, was a junior champion as a sixth-grader, which was the last time he wrestled before this season.
“If you would see these guys in practice,” said East coach Brian Miluk, “you would not think they were freshmen. They have sort of graduated to upperclassmen.”
Woodrow Wilson has three freshmen in Huntington this weekend, including Leland Swafford, who won a region championship last weekend. He is ranked ninth at 113.
The others are Chris Worley (170) and Kyle Ayers (220).
“We have three good freshmen who came from Park (Middle School),” Flying Eagles coach Street Sarrett said. “Coach (Alan) Worley does a tremendous job there.”
Other Class AAA freshmen from the area are Zach Clark (Shady, 113), Keeten Asbury (Shady, 170), Wesley Legg (Oak Hill, 195) and Chase Lusk (Shady, 220).
Freshmen in Class AA/A are Caleb Currence (Greenbrier West, 106), Will Cox (Independence, 113), Michael Trotter (Independence, 120), Troy Farrell (Fayetteville, 126), Chad Cogar (Webster County, 126), Matt Moore (Nicholas County, 138) and Alex Daniels (Independence, 160).
Cox, the Region 3 champ at 113, is ranked fifth.
The Class AA/A tournament promises to be one of the most competitive in recent memory, and the first day delivered. The top five teams are separated by a mere four points.
Locally, Independence is tied with Clay County for second place with 24.5 points, 3.5 behind leader Wirt County (28).
Greenbrier West and North Marion are tied for fourth with 24 points apiece.
First-round winners in Class AA/A were:
106 pounds: Caleb Currence (Greenbrier West), Teddy Stover (Independence); 113: Bailey Bowles (Fayetteville), Ben Alderson (Greenbrier West), Will Cox (Independence); 120: Tristen Harvey (Liberty), Devon Steele (Midland Trail); 132: Colton Ward (Independence), Dustin Yoakum (Greenbrier West); 138: Chris Clark (Independence), Cody Clifton (Liberty); 145: Jordan Tincher (Greenbrier West), Dustin Justice (Independence);
152: R.J. Elam (Liberty), Malik Boatwright (Greenbrier West); 160: Alex Daniels (Independence), Marquis Frazier (Greenbrier West), Brandon Eldridge (Bluefield); Matthew Bailey (Liberty); 170: Jake Tyler (Nicholas County), Tyler Parker (Greenbrier West); 182: Ethan Barker (Midland Trail); 195: Dylon McBride (Independence); 220: Julius Thomas (Bluefield); 285: Zach Fleshman (Independence), Donovan Vance (Liberty).
Liberty, which had five winners in five matches, is tied for 13th with Calhoun County with 14 points. Bluefield and Midland Trail are tied with Lincoln County at 21st with five points. Fayetteville (4) is in a four-way tie for 24th and Nicholas is 28th with 3.5.
In Class AAA, Shady Spring is the highest-placed local team, tied with Brooke for ninth with 15 points. Greenbrier East is 11th with 14 and Woodrow Wilson in a four-way tie for 19th with five.
First-round winners in Class AAA were:
106 pounds: Logan Robertson (Shady Spring), Jasiel Kinder (Greenbrier East); 113: Jared Morgan (Greenbrier East), Leland Swafford (Woodrow Wilson); 120: Johnny Forren (Shady Spring); 138: Nick Farley (Shady Spring);
145: Brandon Stump (Shady Spring); 152: Cole Williams (Woodrow Wilson); 170: Davis Solak (Greenbrier East); 182: Charles Withrow (Greenbrier East); Evan Roberts (Greenbrier East).
Today’s morning session will begin at 11:30 a.m. The evening session, which includes championship semifinals, will start at 7:30 p.m.
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