QUINCY – The Riverside wrestling team set out with one goal in mind this season – winning a regional title for the first time in school history.
In front of their home crowd in Quincy, the Warriors left no doubt on Saturday.
Riverside seized control early, placed 10 grapplers in championship bouts and won six individual titles in piling up 230 points, enough to best second-place St. Albans (173) by 57 in earning a Region 3 crown.
The top four individual finishers in each of the 14 weight classes on Saturday qualified for the state tournament held in Huntington in two weeks.
The Warriors entered the event ranked No. 9 in Class AAA in the latest wvmat.com rankings. On Saturday, Riverside qualified 12 wrestlers in blowing by the rest of the Region 3 field.
“Great crowd, Warrior nation came out and supported us, it’s a great feeling,” Riverside coach Mark Scites said. “I knew we were in good shape when I heard the first score. My kids did awesome. I’ve got 12 kids going to the state tournament, six champions – you couldn’t ask for a better day.
“We wanted to set the tone early, to let them know we were here to win it. We had a great week of practice, probably the best week we’ve had since I’ve been here. They came out ready and I think we proved we’re the best team in the region today.”
Austin Chapman won the heavyweight division for Riverside, defeating Woodrow Wilson’s Ian Pomeroy 5-2, and is the lone Kanawha Valley ranked atop an individual weight class according to wvmat.com. Last year, he dropped a narrow 2-1 decision to Parkersburg South’s Loudon Haga in the state-title belt.
Now, as a senior, Chapman is fully focused on the opportunity at hand and Scotes likes his senior big man’s chances in two weeks.
“His work ethic is unbelievable,” Scites said. “Whatever we say to do, he does it and he’s ready. I think he’s been ready all year. He’ll be ready to go in two weeks I promise you that. His total focus is on a championship, there’s nothing else he wants more.”
The Warriors finished 6-4 in title bouts with Josh Sergent (106 pounds), Josh Slack (120), Joseph Cook (138), Zachary Holstion (145) and Matthew Armstrong (220) earning individual regional champions as well.
As for the Red Dragons, St. Albans qualified 11 wrestlers on Saturday, also making for a successful day. Colton Spradling (126) and freshmen Elijah Edge (182) and Jarron Allen (195) each won individual championships for the Red Dragons.
After being hit hard by graduation a year after qualifying 13 wrestlers and winning a Region 3 crown, Saturday’s second-pace showing left St. Albans coach Darren Gilfilen pleased.
“I think it’s pretty good for us,” Gilfilen said. “We had all the boys qualifying up from 106 and even our heavyweight qualified. I’m proud of them, we’re going to finish second as a team and I think that says a lot.”
Greenbrier East (1451/2), George Washington (138) and Woodrow Wilson (133) rounded a tight top five in terms of team finishers.
The Spartans claimed individual titles with Colby Piner (152) Alex Zimmerman (160) and Owen Quinn (170) all topping their respective weight classes. Rounding out the individual winners were Trace Hatfield of Princeton (113) and Ethan Osborne of Woodrow Wilson (132)