POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. – There’s one more entry Derek Raike can put on his already impressive wrestling resume he scripted over four years at Point Pleasant High School.
Robert Dutton Award winner for 2022. He is the first wrestler from this Mason County school to win the award which is given annually to the best wrestler in the Mountain State. Raike will receive the award at the 75th Victory Awards Dinner scheduled May 1 at Embassy Suites in Charleston.
“He’s very deserving,” Big Blacks coach John Bonecutter said. “The kid the last four years has been an amazing kid.”
“That’s awesome,” Raike said. “To be honest I didn’t think I could win it. I knew there’s a lot of good wrestlers in the state. To be the first from Point Pleasant to win is something else. It’s never been easy.”
Raike and teammate Justin Bartee became the program’s second and third four-time state champs when they won titles in the 75th West Virginia State High School Wrestling Tournament at Mountain Health Arena in Huntington. Bartee won at 145 pounds and Raike at 160 and voted Class AA’s outstanding wrestler. Bonecutter got the Dix Manning Coaching Award for leading the Big Blacks to a record four-peat as state champion. They won six of seven title matches and racked up 233 points to 116.5 for runner-up Fairmont Senior.
Rusty Maness (2008-11) was the first four-time state champion at Point Pleasant.
Bonecutter sensed Raike would become a force on the mat as early as his freshman season.
“He’s always been good,” Bonecutter said. “Even his freshman year, I thought this kid would win four state titles. Last summer he made an amazing jump and may be one of the best kids ever out of West Virginia.”
Actually, Raike is part of 11 state championship teams when you throw in the three straight West Virginia State Team Dual titles the Big Blacks won starting in 2020. Other individual honors include NHSCA All-American, Greco All-American and two-time Disney All-American. His senior year mark was 47-2 and career-record 170-5.
And there’s one last state record Raike is associated with. He scored 118 points out of a possible 120 in his four state tournament wins. That ties him with Josh Humphreys, who won state titles at three different schools over four years (2015-18). He now competes at Lehigh University. A wrestler can score a maximum of 30 points in a state tournament if they pin all their opponents.
“He only left two points on the table,” Bonecutter said. “Simply amazing.”
Raike has signed to wrestle at Ohio University, a Mid-American Conference member. The Bobcats had two at-large selections for the NCAA Tournament held May 17-19 in Detroit.
“The kid’s a beast. Ohio University got a good one,” Bonecutter said.
Raike called the 2021-22 campaign a “dream season.” The losses came in two big-time events at 152 then. He was third in the Ironman and lost in the semifinals in the Powerade Tournament.
“I didn’t expect to go on and do as well I as I did,” Raike said, referring to the Powerade event where he got injured and had to default twice. “I went out to prove myself all the time. You don’t overlook anyone. Ohio University has a good program. It’s the next level. I’m excited and can’t wait to get started.”
Bonecutter has been around Raike ever since his days as a physical education teacher in elementary school. “You always worry,” Bonecutter said. “Turned out pretty good for him.”
Bartee finished second in the Dutton Award voting. Ian Bush (182) of Class A state champ Cameron and state champion Gage Wright of Parkersburg South (170) also got votes.
“To finish one-two says something,” Bonecutter said. “I told them at the start try to enjoy the season. They got used to winning.”
Raike and Bartee are the 23rd and 24th of the Mountain State’s four-time state champion club. Before Raike, Anthony Jeffers (2008) was the only Point Pleasant wrestler named Most Outstanding Wrestler in Class AA-A. Bartee actually dropped down two weight classes this season and finished 38-7 and 152-10 for his career. He’s a commit to Davis & Elkins College.
Point Pleasant is now one of three programs in West Virginia to produce a trio of four-time state champs. The others are Spencer and Parkersburg South. A total of 14 schools have produced at least one four-time winner over the wrestler’s career. The Mason County school is now second all-time with seven state titles at the Class AA-A level. The one school ahead of the Big Blacks is Oak Glen and its 13-year run (1997-2009).
The Dutton Award is sponsored by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and voted upon by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. It’s named in honor or Robert Dutton, legendary coach at Parkersburg High from 1957-76.
Note: Bryan Walters, sports editor of the Point Pleasant Register, contributed to this report.
David Walsh is a sports writer for the Herald-Dispatch and suppied this story on behalf of the WVSWA.