Boone ready for final act as a Knight
HUNTINGTON -- Nick Boone has the chance to make a memorable senior year even more memorable.
Boone played linebacker for the Cabell Midland High School football team and helped the Knights go undefeated in the regular season and take a Class AAA No. 1 state rating into the playoffs. No. 2 Martinsburg stopped Cabell Midland in the finals, 38-14.
A knee injury suffered in the championship game delayed Boone's arrival on the Cabell Midland wrestling team. He missed the match against Huntington High and returned in style at the Winner's Choice in Fairmont (Jan. 11-12) where he won the 170-pound title to start the season with a 10-0 record.
Boone has maintained that pace entering the West Virginia State High School Wrestling Tournament that begins Thursday in Big Sandy Superstore Arena. His latest conquest was winning the Class AAA, Region IV title Saturday with a 2-0 overtime win over Trevor Hill of Point Pleasant.
The regional championship gives Boone one final shot at a state championship. He finished fifth as a freshman and sophomore and was the runner-up last year at 160 pounds.
"I get to go for another one," Boone said after his match Saturday at Cabell Midland which marked his final home appearance. "It was a fun ride in football, a nice feeling. Martinsburg was not fun.
"I've given myself another chance. Four matches away. I've got to leave it all out there."
The 66th state tournament features Parkersburg South seeking a record fifth consecutive AAA title. The Class AA/A title is open since Point Pleasant, which won the last three years, moved up to AAA.
Boone (23-1) had been ranked No. 1 at 170 in the West Virginia Coaches Association rankings. However, a loss to Parkersburg South's Drake Mills on Jan. 31 helped propel Mills to the top spot. Boone is No. 2 and Hill No. 3.
"You don't worry about the rankings," Boone said. "It's all decided on the mat."
Boone said the late start had its good and bad points. He was supposed to be out four to six weeks, but made it back in three.
"The plus is you're not all banged up," he said. "The minus is you're not on the mat a lot. That makes a lot of difference."
Ian Semelroth, first-year Knights coach, said Boone has made his mark since his return.
"He's been a lot better of late," Semelroth said. "He's moving better. I hope he can carry it all the way. He's definitely motivated."
The Knights had nine wrestlers qualify for the state.
"After losses, the kids came back and wrestled hard," Semelroth said. "They didn't get down."
Boone's match against Hill went much like the first one. They were tied 0-0 after three periods and needed overtime. Boone got the takedown late in the one-minute OT.
"It's a nice feeling to add another one and go out this way (at home)," he said. "It's a stepping stone to the state."