HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - George Washington got off to a quick start Thursday, the first day of the state wrestling tournament, in more ways than one.The Patriots advanced four wrestlers into the quarterfinals, tops among Kanawha Valley teams. One of them, Sam Moore, pretty much beat the event's start time in the process.The 106-pound weight class wrestles first, as always, so those athletes wrestle at the scheduled 6:30 p.m. on day one - or so GW coach Richard Harper thought.The ultra-efficient folks who run the state tournament at Big Sandy Superstore Arena were so good, they started 9 minutes early. Right after the national anthem stopped echoing, the whistles started and the first four matches in each class hit the mats.Well, make that the first three in Class AAA.As a late call for the "late" wrestler echoed throughout the building, Moore had to make a mad dash down a concourse to make his match. He did so, and went on to defeat Point Pleasant's Caleb Leslie in an 8-3 decision."We decided to keep our guys back there [in a hallway away from the arena], keep them from the hoopla, watching the kids get beat, crying," Harper said. "These coaches want to try to keep these kids away from that a little bit."Two, it started at 6:20 instead of 6:30. So I'm like, 'What the heck's going on here?' I'm looking at my watch and it's 6:25 and they're doing second call on my kid. Luckily he came out there and it worked out fine. I was going to have to raise a little cain about it; I didn't want to do that."With that quick start, Harper had three others win their first-round matches Thursday. Jensen Lorea scored a 9-1 major decision over Adam Whitmore of Cabell Midland, Jake Smith pinned Preston's Brandon Poling at 160 and Jack Skidmore won 7-0 over Anthony Carter of Hedgesville.Smith improved to 38-0."We were expected to win those matches and they did what they were supposed to," Harper said. "But it gets tougher tomorrow."As action resumes this morning, Skidmore and Nitro's David Smith will face off in the quarterfinals. Lorea is on a collision course with Winfield's Bryce Humphreys, with both needing to win their next match to meet in the semifinals - Lorea against Parkersburg South's Kyle Knotts and Humphreys against University's Isaiah Hood.Winfield pushed through three to the quarterfinals. Joining Humphreys is Jimmy Clark at 160 and Isaac Reed at 145. Reed was one of the quickest off the mat, pinning Woodrow Wilson's Cody Van Dyke in 24 seconds.Joining David Smith from Nitro is Hunter Skeens, who pinned Greenbrier East's Levi Nelson at 220. Other Class AAA winners from the Kanawha Valley were Jeremy Francis of Hurricane, who won a 4-2 decision over John Marshall's Cody Boles at 152, and Pat Vance of Capital, who won 11-5 over Jefferson's A.J. Pierson.In Class AA-A, Herbert Hoover's Zane Weese remained undefeated in 46 matches, pinning Independence's Jacob Shrewsbury. Buffalo had two winners, getting a big boost by Ryan White's 3-2 win over 32-5 Cody Loudermilk of Greenbrier West at 220. Kyle Frazier won by pin at 195.Kanawha Valley wrestlers went 14-20 for the evening. Those losing and thus falling into the consolation brackets were:
Winfield: Chris Cochran at 113; Zach Richardson at 182; Hurricane: Sky Steadman at 120;Chantz Rankin at 132; Zach Cooper at 160; Mitchell Fitzgerald at 285. GW: David Pancake at 120; Riverside: Green at 126, Vince Hunt at 132; Justin Burke at 160; Chase Hanshaw at 195; Capital: Desean Reed at 145; Tyler Burke at 285; South Charleston: Fred Crosier at 152; Nitro: Ryan Walters at 195; Herbert Hoover: Camren Duncan at 113, Justin Duncan at 120, Brady Dye at 182; Richard Woods at 285. Sissonville: Nick Lane at 145.Favored Huntington and Parkersburg are tied for first in AAA with 34 points, with four-time defending champion Parkersburg South next at 33 and Washington fourth with 31. All four teams had nine winners, though the Highlanders missed on a 10th when Toney Kitts lost in overtime in the night's last match.Point Pleasant, the AA-A champion the previous three years, is fifth with 27, with eight winning.In a wide-open AA, Wirt County leads with 28 points, with eight Tigers winning matches. Independence and Clay County are second with 241/2, with North Marion and Greenbrier West at 24 and East Fairmont at 22.Matches continue at 11:30 a.m. today, with quarterfinals and the first two rounds of the consolation brackets. The third session begins at 7:30, featuring the semifinals and the third-round consolation matches.The consolation brackets play out in the early session Saturday, at 10:45 a.m., with championship matches beginning at 6 p.m. that day.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org or at twitter.com/dougsmock.