HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A good beginning, followed by a tough ending.
Point Pleasant finished Saturday with a .500 record in four matches, but the two losses came in state championship bouts later that evening during the conclusion of the 70th annual WVSSAC wrestling championships held at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Cabell County.
The Big Blacks finished the three-day event with zero state champions, but landed three podium finishes and a collective 17-19 record en route to finishing tied with Oak Glen for fourth place with 74 points.
Independence strolled away with the Class AA-A team title with 259 points, while East Fairmont (105.5) and Petersburg (84.5) rounded out the the top three finishes.
Senior Grant Safford lost a heartbreaking 6-5 decision in the 182-pound division to now four-time state champion Jacob Hart, a senior from an Independence.
Sophomore George Smith also dropped a heartbreaking 3-0 decision in the 113-pound weight class to IHS sophomore Liam Lusher.
The only other grappler to compete on Saturday was senior Andrew Roach. Roach participated in the morning consolation round finals and picked up a pair of overtime wins to finish third in the 195-pound weight class.
Both Safford and Smith won state championships the year before at the Class AAA level. Roach had never qualified for the state meet until this winter.
Wirt County won the Class A title with 55 points, while Magnolia (45) and Greenbrier West (41) rounded out the the top three spots in the small-school division. Wahama ended up 15th in the Class A results with four points.
The Class AAA tournament is still incomplete until the 145-, 152- and 170-pound matches can be conducted at a later date.
Full details of the 2017 WVSSAC wrestling tournament will be available in the Tuesday sports edition of the Point Pleasant Register.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.