HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Just over half of Mason County had its state title aspirations ended after the opening night of the tournament.
Neither Point Pleasant nor Wahama were nearly as fortunate by the end of the second session.
What started out as 17 hopefuls is now down to just two possibilities as Point Pleasant brothers Christopher and George Smith are the only grapplers still in title contention at the 71st annual WVSSAC Wrestling Championships being held this weekend at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Cabell County.
The Big Blacks began the weekend with 13 qualifiers in the Class AA-A field, and they are the only local program with any shot of an individual state champion following Friday afternoon. All four White Falcon competitors were eliminated from the tournament before the start of Friday night’s third session.
Point Pleasant has only five grapplers remaining in the tournament as of the end of Friday afternoon, with the Smiths needing a single win during Friday night’s semifinals to advance to the Class AA-A championship match on Saturday evening.
George Smith, a junior, was 2-0 at 120 pounds through two sessions, including a pinfall win and a narrow 3-2 decision on Friday morning.
Christopher Smith, a freshman, was 2-0 at 106 pounds after the second session, including a pinfall win and a 14-0 major decision.
Though it is new territory for Christopher, the elder Smith is in an all-too-familiar spot through two rounds of the state meet. George won the 2016 championship at 106 pounds in Class AAA and was the 113-pound AA-A runner-up a year ago.
Sophomores Juan Marquez and Jacob Muncy, as well as freshman Mitchell Freeman, are still battling in the consolation bracket of the Class AA-A tournament.
Freeman (126) and Muncy (285) were both victorious on Thursday night, but dropped quarterfinal matches before rebounding with second consolation wins. Both Freeman and Muncy also have identical 2-1 marks and a pinfall win apiece.
Marquez lost his first session bout, but rebounded with a pair of consolation round wins to improve to 2-1 at 195 pounds — including a major decision.
Sophomore Justin Cornell and senior Clayton Hill both scored session one victories, but each grappler dropped consecutive decisions on Friday afternoon. Cornell went 1-2 at 113 pounds with a technical fall victory, while Hill was 1-2 at 182 pounds.
Seniors Jacob Roub (160) and Jacob Bryant (170) scored a pair of first round consolation decisions before wrapping up their respective careers with matching 1-2 marks.
Sophomore Zac Samson earned a pinfall win before finishing 1-2 at 145 pounds, while freshman Wyatt Wilson landed a 13-4 major decision in Friday’s opener before finishing 1-2 at 138 pounds.
Sophomores Logan Southall (160) and Wyatt Stanley (220) both went winless in two bouts within their respective weight classes.
The Big Blacks — who lost seven of their 13 matches on Thursday night — owned a 16-19 overall mark and sat third in the Class AA standings with 44.5 points. Independence leads the Class AA field after two sessions with 125 points, with East Fairmont sitting second with 88.5 points.
The White Falcons — who finish the 2018 state tournament with a 3-8 overall mark — were tied for eighth place with Fayetteville, Richwood and South Harrison in the Class A standings with eight points.
Wahama went 2-2 on the opening night, with a pair of underclassmen coming away victorious. Junior Antonio Serevicz (220) and sophomore Trevor Hunt (132) each scored a pinfall win in the first session before dropping a pair of bouts on Friday afternoon.
Senior Ethan Herdman dropped his 152-pound opener on Thursday, but rebounded with a 7-4 decision on Friday morning before bowing out in the second consolation round. Senior Christian Thomas completed his career with a pair of losses at 182 pounds.
Greenbrier West led the Class A field through two sessions with 39 points. Defending champion Wirt County (31.5) and Madonna (30) complete the top three spots through Friday afternoon.
Due to an early press time, complete results and a recap of the final three sessions of the 2018 WVSSAC Wrestling Championships will be available in the Tuesday sports edition of the Point Pleasant Register.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.