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Regional wrestling titles up for grabs

by Shawn Yonker

SPORTS WRITER

At Saturday's regional high school wrestling meets, area grapplers will be looking for individual honors and a chance at a state crown, while Grafton has a good shot at the class A/AA team title.

The four top finishers in each weight class advance to the state tournament Feb. 22-24, at the Civic Center in Huntington.

South Harrison standout Drew Toth is expected to gain one of those berths, and he thinks Grafton is the favorite to come away with the team title.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they send at least 10 of their 13 kids down to states," Toth said. "They have a real good shot."

Grafton's Chris Leach doesn't think his team has an easy road to victory, and he expects stiff competition from Braxton County, who lost to the Bearcats by just two points earlier this season.

"We can't slack at all," he said. "Everybody is going to have to pick it up and get the pins that we need and get the job done. I guess you can't really talk about it -- you just go out and do it."

While Leach at 140, Cory Auvil (119), Mike Keener (215), Adam Leach (135), Trampas Efaw (160) and Kenny Hollenbach (275), get most of the attention for Grafton, Todd Duryea at 112 pounds, Eric Drain at 189 and the 145-pound Chad Bolyard could be key components of a team win. If they win their matches, combined with wins from the usual suspects, the Bearcats could be well on their way to a team title.

Liberty's Andrew Knight and Matt Gibbs also head the list of class A/AA contenders looking for a trip to Huntington, and 112-pound Adam Weaver looks to put Philip Barbour in the headlines once again.

In Class AAA Robert C. Byrd coach Steve Daniels has several contenders. Michael Madia, Bradley Bowden, Jeff Mayer, Marshall Zinn and Scotty Gonzalez have all had quality wins this season for the Eagles.

Buckhannon-Upshur coach Ed Hardinger will look to John Dilworth (215), Cody Shell (135), Blayne Mayle (140) and Jeremy McCourt (275) for some big wins.

while Lewis County will count on Josh Glass (145), Darren Post (152), Scott Bennett (185), A.J. Freda (215) and Fred Persinger (275) to carry the load.

South Harrison, Liberty, Grafton travel to Berkeley Springs High School for the Class A/AA regionals along with Petersburg, Frankfort, Braxton County and Clay Battelle and host Berkley Springs.

In Class AAA, Robert C. Byrd, North Marion, East Fairmont and Fairmont Senior will head to Keyser High School and compete with Preston, Musselman, Jefferson Martinsburg, Hedgesville and host Keyser.

Lewis County, Buckhannon-Upshur, Philip Barbour and Elkins will travel to Ripley High school to do battle with Ripley, Roane County, Nicholas County, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Greenbrier East and host Ripley.

Sports writer Shawn Yonker can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com.

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