POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The middle men made the difference
The Point Pleasant wrestling team won three of the first four and three of the last four matches, but visiting Huntington reeled off six straight victories in between Wednesday night en route to a 37-25 decision in a non-conference dual match between Class AAA state-ranked programs.
The Big Blacks — ranked seventh in AAA — finished the evening with a 6-8 overall record against the top-ranked Highlanders, which included two pinfall wins, a major decision and three decisions in their half-dozen successes. HHS — a perennial AAA state contender — recorded three pinfall wins, two technical falls and three decisions against the hosts.
The evening started in the 152-pound weight class, as Austin Rutter gave PPHS an early 6-0 lead with a third period pinfall win over Trevor Johnson. Josh Hudson followed with a 7-0 decision over Dustyn Hutchinson in the 160 division, allowing Point to claim a 9-0 edge.
Huntington got on the board after Carter Capehart scored a 10-6 overtime decision over Grant Safford at 170 pounds, but the Big Blacks bounced back with six points after Jon Peterson scored a second period pinfall win over Stefan Gibbs in the 182 division — giving Point its biggest lead of the night at 15-3.
The Highlanders responded with six straight wins from 195 pounds back up to 120 pounds, allowing the guests to secure a 34-15 cushion with four matches remaining. Ryan Mills (195), Nigale Cabell (285) and Jordan Allen (120) all earned pinfall wins over Tannor Hill, Alec Stanley and Austin Wamsley, respectively.
Logan Grass (106) and Alex Haddox (113) picked up technical fall wins of 18-3 and 16-0, respectively, over the Point duo of Caleb Leslie and Scotty Wilcox. Austin Budd also earned a 7-3 decision over Jacob Duncan at 220 pounds.
The Big Blacks snapped their losing skid at 126 pounds, as Guy Fisher held on for a 4-3 decision over Jonathan Spence — whittling the lead down to 34-18. Chase Childers followed with Huntington’s final win, a 9-6 decision over John Raike at 132 pounds.
Andrew Roach scored a 4-1 decision over Ruben Tremmell in the 138-pound division for a 37-21 contest, then Hunter White wrapped up the event with an 11-3 major decision over Noah Toney at 145 pounds.