Photo credit Hinckley J. Carter

The WWHS Wrestling Team gets closer to states with strong showing at regional tournament.

Hinckley J. Carter, Sports Writer

Woodrow Wilson’s wrestling program showed impressive grit on the night of January 6th at the Regional Dual tournament hosted by Saint Albans High School.  The Flying Eagles have had some impressive squads over the first 3 years of Head coach Matt Osborne’s tenure at Woodrow, earning a 4th place finish in AAA region 3 and a 9th place finish at the state tournament during the 20-21’ season. With the fourth place finish at regionals, Woodrow earned its spot to compete at the regional dual tournament, which, if won, would qualify them to wrestle at the state dual tournament.

The dual tournament teams consisted of Riverside, Oak Hill, and Saint Albans, at the time, the #1 dual team in the state. Woodrow was paired against Oak Hill for their first matchup of the evening and cruised to a 63-15 win with 6 of those points being given up at 220, a gap in Woodrow’s roster. With a win over Oak Hill, the Flying Eagles would move on to Riverside who had just wrestled Saint Albans and lost. Woodrow wrestled even better their second dual, only giving up 1 loss in the 55-12 win. It was time for the team Woodrow was ready for all night — Saint Albans.

Woodrow’s team knew it was going to be a hard fight, as Saint Albans was ranked #1 as a dual team. “Saint Albans has always been tough, they have some hammers on their roster,” said Matt Osborne. Woodrow wouldn’t go down easy though; they had something to prove and it showed with Garret Johnson (106) starting the dual off right with a fall over Ash. JJ Bailes (113) had a forfeit giving Woodrow an early 12-0 lead. Tyler Roark came up with a big win over Giordano making the score 18-0, Woodrow. Vance Neal (126) had a real tough match with Mcafee (the returning state champion), and eventually lost by fall, taking away some momentum but not all of it. Next one up was Jacob Meadows (132), a freshman who put up a very impressive fight but lost by decision to Huffman. Cameron Evans (138) also had a tough match with a returning state champion, Moses Eads, and lost by fall. Jacob Reeves (145) wrestled tough and hard but sadly lost by decision to Spradling, tying the score 18-18. Ethan Osborne (152) wrestled Ethan Edge and won by fall. This dual had the potential to come down to the wire and the emotions were high. Alex Webb (160) lost by fall to James, once again tying the score making it 24-24. Landon Jones (170) came up huge with a fall over Hill giving Woodrow a 6 point lead over Saint Albans and only 4 more matches to be wrestled. Hinckley Carter (182) had a really difficult match with Elijah Edge, a two time state finalist and one time state champion and eventually lost by fall, tying the score once again. Jay Jones (195) was able to come up with a fall over Foster leaving the decision of the dual to come down to the final match.  With Woodrow being forced to give up a forfeit at 220, the decision of the dual came down to Heavyweight Jackson Evans and Jerran Allen. The match was hard fought, but Evans outwrestled his opponent and won by fall, making the final score 42-36. “I was so nervous, but when I got him on his back I realized we had won the dual,” said Evans. 

Both teams wrestled to the best of their abilities and both teams were able to walk away with their heads held high. Beating all three teams that night led Woodrow to a 20-1 record against every team they’ve wrestled, with their only loss against an out of state team from Ohio.

Woodrow’s dominance has continued through one of their more recent dual tournaments, the Army National Guard duals at the Summersville Armory. At that tournament, Woodrow earned its way to a second placement with a loss to the #1 team from Kentucky, Johnson Central. 

Although discouraged with a loss and 2nd placement, the Flying Eagles are not finished with their goals. Woodrow will compete at the state dual tournament after winning regional duals on February 5th, 2022. The match should take place in the Greenbrier Resort but has the possibility to be changed to the state fairgrounds. Woodrow has had another big tournament this year with WSAZS, with multi-states represented. The Flying Eagles placed 2nd in AAA and 3rd overall and had 6 individual placers including 3 finalists. There are some other fairly big tournaments coming up with Coalfields, February 10th, and Regionals, February 18th-19th. Woodrow has continued to make an impact with new ranking polls placing Woodrow at 4th in the state, above other powerhouses such as Parkersburg South (ranked 7th).