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Greenbrier West wrestlers shine at WSAZ Invitational

Jan. 21, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A schedule change in wrestling worked out the best for Greenbrier West.

The Cavaliers, ranked No. 2 in Class AA/A in the latest West Virginia Coaches Association poll, had been scheduled to compete in the Calhoun County Invitational over the weekend. A while back, Greenbrier West coach Jeremy Tincher opted to come to Huntington instead to compete in the 35th WSAZ Invitational at Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

The Cavaliers went head-to-head with Huntington High, No. 1 in Class AAA in West Virginia, and several other ranked schools in Class AAA and Class AA/A. They also saw quality opponents from Ohio and Kentucky.

In the end, the Cavaliers won two weight classes and finished with 175.5 points to win the Class AA/A title and second overall. Huntington High piled up 271.5 points to lead the overall and Class AAA standings.

"We came to their camp in the summer," Tincher said of the Huntington wrestling camp. "Rob's (Highlanders coach Rob Archer) has been after me to come. My parents have been after me. You see a lot of good styles here. It's a chance to experience the state (tournament) atmosphere. With nine sophomores, I figured we needed to be here for the exposure."

Big Sandy is home to the West Virginia High School Tournament. The 2013 event will be held Feb. 21-23.

The Class AA title made is four straight tournament wins for the Cavaliers. Their WSAZ champs were Malik Boatwright at 152 pounds and Tyler Parker at 170. Both are undefeated and ranked No .1 in their weight class.

Prior to the WSAZ, Greenbrier West won the Braxton Invitational. "I knew we could be a good team," Tincher said. "I had no idea we'd win four in a row."

Does this run mean the Cavaliers can challenge for the vacant Class AA/A state title? Point Pleasant, which had won the last three championships, moved to Class AAA this year. In the latest poll, East Fairmont led with 67 points and the Cavaliers followed with 66. Behind them are Wirt County, Independence and Clay County.

East Fairmont is a newcomer to Class AA/A along with Fairmont Senior, North Marion, Bridgeport and Robert C. Byrd.

"I'm ecouraged," Tincher said. "By state, we'll have seen them all. That means everything. You know what they like to do and what you need to do best. With the new schools, it makes things thick."

The Cavaliers still have several big matches left, including a dual with rival Greenbrier East.

Huntington High had seven wrestlers in the finals and posted a 5-2 mark. The Highlanders return to action Thursday at home against No. 3 Point Pleasant.

Edison crowned three champions and had 12 placers overall to rack up 249 points and repeat as WSAZ middle school champion. Wood County rival Blennerhassett was second with 161. Milton finished third with 151 points and had three wrestlers reach the top of the podium. They were Zane Lanham, 90; Matt Blake, 128; and Chaston Holley, 145. Ryan Mills of Beverly Hills won at 190 to remain unbeaten. Point Pleasant's champ was Grant Safford at 155.