South Harrison standout Drew Toth has his eye on a state wrestling title this year, and he has put in the hard work and time to make that possible.
But he is quick to point out that none of his success would have been possible without the support of the people around him -- most notably his parents, Don and Ellen, and former coach Steve Daniels.
Toth began wrestling at age seven, and it was his parents who chauffeured him from state to state for matches and continue to attend most today.
"There were always about five of us that were that step above everybody from around here, so my parents and their parents would just all jump in the car on Friday and go to a tournament somewhere in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio or Virginia," Toth said. "We'd wrestle Friday night, Saturday and sometimes Sunday, then make our way back Sunday night and go to school Monday. My parents as well as some of the other parents sacrificed their time and money to take us somewhere so that we could get better competition and more mat time. That has helped me a lot."
When Toth began his wrestling career with the Clarksburg Panthers, his coach was Daniels. It was Daniels who continued to coach Toth through most of his career until taking the coaching job at Robert C. Byrd this year.
"He was my first coach and he has taught me everything I know about wrestling," Toth said. "He has done so much for me as well as every other wrestler in the county.
Toth pointed out that Daniels coached Michael Fortier of Liberty when he won the state championship and every state champ in Harrison County. There have been just three state champions from the county. Daniels was the first, followed by Fortier and South Harrison's Steve Root.
"You go down in the states and watch people place and you'd be surprised how many people he has helped," Toth said. "A kid from Buckhannon won it last year and Steve has helped him. He used to come in twice a week when he was in high school, and Steve would just practice with him. He has helped kids from all over eight counties. He has helped so many kids have their dreams come true."
Sports writer Shawn Yonker can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at email@example.com.