HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — After two sessions, it’s all Big Blacks … and basically a battle for second from there.
The Point Pleasant wrestling team has already set numerous program records through two sessions, leaving the rest of the Class AA-A field looking up at the 2020 WVSSAC Championships being held this weekend at Mountain Health Arena in Cabell County.
The Big Blacks have already secured a minimum of 11 podium finishes this weekend after posting a 26-5 overall mark through the second round, including a perfect 14-0 record and 11 pinfall victories from the 14 weight class matches held Thursday night during Session 1.
By the end of Session 2 on Friday morning, the Red and Black still had dozen grapplers competing and owned an overwhelming 53-point advantage over 47 other scoring teams. Braxton County sat second with 67 points, while Fairmont Senior (56.5), Independence (46.5) and Oak Glen (44) rounded out the top five spots.
PPHS — which had a 20-point lead with 52 points after the opening night of matches — obliterated several Day 1 records, including the previous marks in wins (11), consecutive wins (11), pinfall wins (8) and total points (36). The Big Blacks had 14 state qualifiers coming in for the third time in program history.
Point Pleasant had only 99 points and was collectively 23-8 through two sessions en route to the program’s fourth Class AA-A crown.
Point Pleasant ended up winning 15 straight matches before sophomore Mackandle Freeman dropped his 113-pound quarterfinal match Friday morning. Freeman eventually won his consolation match later in Session 2, making him the only Point grappler with a loss still in the field.
Senior Jacob Muncy suffered a pair of setbacks Friday morning and finished 1-2 overall in the heavyweight division, as was the same for sophomore Brayden Connolly in the 182-pound weight class. Both Point grapplers did score a pinfall victory Thursday night.
The Big Blacks still have 11 wrestlers in contention for state titles as of the end of Session II, but the third session Friday night determined who advanced to the championship bouts Saturday night.
Sophomores Derek Raike (132) and Justin Bartee (138) — a pair of defending state champions — both scored a pair of pinfall wins while advancing to the semifinals unscathed. Another defending champion — junior Isaac Short — advanced to the semifinal round with a pinfall and a 2-0 decision.
Seniors Logan Southall (170), Juan Marquez (195) and Wyatt Stanley (220) each landed a pair of pinfall wins in advancing to their respective semifinal rounds, while junior Parker Henderson (106) scored a pinfall win and a 10-2 major decision.
Junior Christopher Smith (126) and Mitchell Freeman (145) each notched a pinfall out of two victories in their divisions. Smith claimed a 4-0 decision on Friday morning, while Freeman earned a 3-0 decision in Session 2.
Senior Zac Samson scored a 13-2 major decision and a 4-3 decision in getting out to the 160-pound semifinals. Junior Wyatt Wilson won by 5-0 and 3-0 decisions at 152 pounds.
The 2012 state championship team set the current school records of 224 total points, a dozen top-six podium finishers, six state finalists, and also defeated the field by 85 points.
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 as both of their qualifiers have suffered defeats.
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 consolation match later in the day and was still competing headed into Session 3.
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 3-way tie for 32nd place, joining Lincoln and Notre Dame with nine points apiece.
Greenbrier West leads the Class A field with 36 points, good enough for eighth overall in the Class AA-A standings. Wahama is currently tied for ninth in Class A with Notre Dame.
Editor’s Note: Session III results will be updated to the websites late Friday night.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.