Point coasting along at state


By Bryan Walters - bwalters@aimmediamidwest.com



Point Pleasant sophomore Justin Bartee gains leverage on an opponent during a Class AA-A 138-pound match Friday morning at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va.

Point Pleasant sophomore Justin Bartee gains leverage on an opponent during a Class AA-A 138-pound match Friday morning at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va.


Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Point Pleasant senior Wyatt Stanley gains leverage on an opponent during a 220-pound Class AA-A opening round match Thursday night at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va.


Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Point Pleasant senior Juan Marquez has his hand lifted in victory following a Class AA-A 195-pound match Thursday night at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va. (Bryan Walters|OVP Sports)


Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — There’s only one piece of school history left to rewrite.

The Point Pleasant wrestling team is well on its way to the program’s fifth Class AA-A title, but the Big Blacks still have some unfinished business to attend to Saturday at the 73rd annual WVSSAC Wrestling Championships being held at Mountain Health Arena in Cabell County.

The Big Blacks have all but locked up their second straight Class AA crown after storming out to a sizable 148-point lead through two days and three sessions of competition.

The Red and Black — with 14 individual state qualifiers — still have a dozen competitors going into Saturday’s final two sessions, including a program-best nine weight class finalists on Saturday night.

PPHS — which is 37-7 overall after two days of matches — currently sits atop the Class AA-A scoreboard with 230 points, with current runner-up Braxton County trailing by a substantial margin with 82 team points.

Fairmont Senior (77.5), Oak Glen (72) and Greenbrier West (68) currently round out the top five spots after Session 3.

The defending Class AA-A champion Big Blacks have assured themselves of a dozen top six podium finishes, which matches the program record set by the 2012 squad.

That 2012 team — which was the last of a 3-peat state championship effort before being bumped up to Class AAA in 2013 — was the previous standard-bearer for the program until this weekend.

The 2012 team set school records for most points (224), most state finalists (6), and largest margin of victory (85) at a single state tournament over five sessions. The 2012 squad also held the previous mark for consecutive wins to start a tournament with 11.

Point Pleasant opened Thursday night’s first session with a perfect 14-0 record and was into its second match of Session 2 before suffering a setback. PPHS ended up going 25-3 after two full rounds in the winner’s bracket and ended Session 2 with a 26-5 overall record.

The Big Blacks went 9-2 in championship semifinal bouts on Friday night and also ended the third session with a 10-2 mark, which included a key 11-2 major decision for Mackandle Freeman in the consolation bracket.

Freeman — a sophomore competing in his first-ever state tournament — secured a spot on the 113-pound podium with the triumph, but can finish no higher than third.

Seniors Logan Southall (170) and Wyatt Stanley (220) suffered their first setbacks in the championship semifinals. Both compete in Saturday afternoon’s fourth session and will finish on the podium, but only as high as third place.

Senior Jacob Muncy (285) and sophomore Brayden Connolly (182) suffered a pair of losses during Session 2, but each grappler did score a pinfall victory in the opening round before having their respective seasons come to an end.

Point Pleasant has had multiple champions at the same state tournament seven times in program history, as well as producing three state champions at one state meet on five different occasions.

The Big Blacks have nine chances to come away with a record-breaking four state titles, and five of those weight class finalists were in the same position a year ago.

Junior Isaac Short (120), as well as sophomores Derek Raike (132) and Justin Bartee (138), were state champions last winter and all three are gunning for repeat accolades.

Juniors Christopher Smith (126) and Mitchell Freeman (145) are again in finals after placing second last year.

Seniors Zac Samson (160) and Juan Marquez (195) are appearing in their first championship finals, as are juniors Parker Henderson (106) and Wyatt Wilson (152).

Only Henderson — a first-time state qualifier — has never earned a podium finish out of the nine state finalists for Point Pleasant.

Wahama scored at least one point at the state level for the 11th time in the last 13 tournaments, as both of its competitors notched at least one victory from the first two sessions.

The White Falcons, however, will not be bringing home the program’s first state champion or a podium placer as both of their qualifiers were eliminated by the end of the third session.

Senior Trevor Hunt posted a 6-4 win at 145 pounds during Session 1, but then dropped a 9-3 decision in the quarterfinal round Friday morning. Hunt did earn a pinfall win in his first consolation match, but dropped a 5-1 decision later Friday night.

Freshman Kase Stewart dropped a 5-3 decision in his state debut at 132 pounds Thursday night, but rallied with a pinfall win in Session 2 before falling in the second consolation round by an 8-6 count.

Wahama currently sits in a tie for 38th place, joining Calhoun County with nine points apiece.

Greenbrier West leads the Class A field with 68 points, good enough for fifth overall in the Class AA-A standings. Moorefield is currently second in Class A with 43 points, while Wahama is tied for 11th in single-A with Calhoun County.

Parkersburg South leads the Class AAA field through three sessions with 202 points. Wheeling Park is second with 159.5 points.

Session 4 was scheduled for Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.

Session 5, or the championship finals, is slated for Saturday night at 6 p.m.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

Point Pleasant sophomore Justin Bartee gains leverage on an opponent during a Class AA-A 138-pound match Friday morning at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2020/02/web1_3.1-PP-Bartee.jpgPoint Pleasant sophomore Justin Bartee gains leverage on an opponent during a Class AA-A 138-pound match Friday morning at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va. Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Point Pleasant senior Wyatt Stanley gains leverage on an opponent during a 220-pound Class AA-A opening round match Thursday night at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2020/02/web1_2.29-PP-Stanley-1.jpgPoint Pleasant senior Wyatt Stanley gains leverage on an opponent during a 220-pound Class AA-A opening round match Thursday night at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va. Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

Point Pleasant senior Juan Marquez has his hand lifted in victory following a Class AA-A 195-pound match Thursday night at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va. (Bryan Walters|OVP Sports)
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2020/02/web1_3.1-PP-Marquez.jpgPoint Pleasant senior Juan Marquez has his hand lifted in victory following a Class AA-A 195-pound match Thursday night at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, W.Va. (Bryan Walters|OVP Sports)Bryan Walters|OVP Sports

By Bryan Walters

bwalters@aimmediamidwest.com

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.