High school wrestling teams in West Virginia began matches on March 3. The regional tournaments are scheduled for Saturday, April 10. That’s a five-week regular season of competition.

Most coaches don’t like to wrestle matches the week before regionals because of the risks involved. In previous years, the risk of injury or spread of skin afflictions were the main concern. Now, you can add Covid. So for most schools, the regular season is cut to four weeks in length.

If a school team has to be sentenced to a quarantine, that cuts the regular season down to two full weeks. Sadly, that has happened throughout the state. There will be athletes entering the regional tournaments with five or fewer matches. A few will not have wrestled any matches at all.

Local schools like Woodrow Wilson, Independence, Liberty and PikeView have all been victims of quarantine issues. Yet, we trudge on.

The Region 3 AA-A schools will wrestle at Independence on Saturday. Indy, Shady Spring, Liberty, Greenbrier West, PikeView, Bluefield, Meadow Bridge, River View, Richwood, Webster County, Midland Trail, Nicholas County and Herbert Hoover will participate. Herbert Hoover is the defending team champion.

The AAA Region 3 tournament will take place at Riverside High School. Teams participating are Riverside, Princeton, Greenbrier East, Woodrow Wilson, Capital, George Washington, South Charleston, Oak Hill and St. Albans. St. Albans won the team title last year.

In the past, I always predicted whom I thought would win the individual weight classes for the Region 3 tournaments. This year, accurate predictions will be difficult because of the small amount of wrestling that has taken place. With such little data, predicting is like trying to nail jello to the wall or herding a bunch of cats. However, I have never let my own ignorance deter me before, so here goes.

In the Region 3 AA-A tournament I think the winners will be Herbert Hoover’s Jonathan Pauley (106 pounds), Wyatt Baldwin (145), Zachary Bailey (152) and Mason Atkinson (195). Independence will have John Sanders (113), Bryce Perdue (126), Caelyb Nichols (132), Judah Price (138) and Sam Adams (170). Greenbrier West’s champions will be Dalton Heath (160), Mason Brown (182) and Noah Brown (285). Shady’s Joshua Goode (120) and Liberty’s Jeff Bowles (220) will win. I think Indy will edge Herbert Hoover for the team title.

In the AAA Region 3 tourney, St. Albans will have champions Mac Payne (106), Moses Eads (120), Matt McAfee (126), Will James (145), Elijah Edge (182) and Jerron Allen (195). Riverside’s winners are Josh Sergeant (113), Kaleb Ramirez (138) and Zach Holstein (170). George Washington will have Thomas Hartley (132) and Bruce Mullett (285), while Greenbrier East’s Colby Piner (160) and Thomas Mullins (220) will win. Woodrow Wilson’s Hezekyiah Creasy is the favorite at 152 pounds. St. Albans repeats as team champions.

The top four place winners in each weight class will advance to the state tournament.

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This week a squeeze of the water bottle goes to Chris Huddle, local musician and huge wrestling fan.

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