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Grafton places 12 in state tourney

From Staff Reports

Grafton finished second behind Braxton County and, more importantly, qualified 12 wrestlers for the state wrestling tournament Saturday.

Braxton County won with 222.5 points, followed by Grafton (195.5), Frankfort (184), Petersburg (109), Berkeley Springs (102), Clay-Battelle (62.5), South Harrison (42.5), Webster County (38) and Liberty (25).

Three Grafton wrestlers captured titles at the Class AA-A regional tournament at Braxton County High School. Three more Bearcats finished second in the two-day tournament; the top four wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes qualify for the state tournament, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Huntington Civic Center.

Grafton's Corey Auvil (112), Adam Leach (130) and Chris Leach (135) each won regional titles. Teammates Trampus Efaw (145), Michael Keener (215) and Ben Taylor (275) each finished second.

South Harrison teammates Matt Jones (135) and Drew Toth (152) also finished second. Liberty's Matt Gibbs was the area's other Region II wrestler to advance.

In a matchup of the state's top two seeds, No. 1 Jason Litten of Frankfort was leading Toth, 7-4, in the second period when Toth was forced to withdraw with a strained muscle in his chest.

"I think both (Jones and Toth) might be peaking at the right time," South Harrison coach Steve Daniels said. "They both looked real good. The time Drew had on the mat with Litten showed signs that he's very beatable."

In the Class AAA, Region II tournament at East Fairmont, three Philip Barbour wrestlers reached the finals and four Colts advanced overall. Josh Burner (189), Matt Corder (215) and Nick Schomo (275) each reached Saturday night's championship round. Adam Weaver (103) finished in the top four.

Fellow Big 10 member Robert C. Byrd placed one wrestler in the state tournament, 119-pounder Jeff Mayer.

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