MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Picking up right where they left off.
Point Pleasant senior Grant Safford and sophomore George Smith — who won Class AAA titles last winter — both came away with top honors in their respective weight classes this weekend during the 2016 Superior Photo Scholarship Tournament held on the campus of University High School in Monongalia County.
Safford — the reigning 182-pound state champion — posted a perfect 4-0 record while scoring three pinfall wins en route to capturing first place in the 195 division, while Smith — the defending 106-pound champion — scored one pinfall victory while going 3-0 for the 113-pound crown.
Safford, who defeated teammate and fellow senior Andrew Roach by a 4-0 quick decision in the 195 final, was also the recipient of a $500 scholarship for his efforts at the event.
Roach ended up being the only other Big Black grappler to participate in a weight class championship match, finishing his weekend with two pinfall wins and a 2-1 overall mark.
Point Pleasant, as a group, finished fifth out of 10 teams with 143 points. University won its home title with 249.5 points, with Oak Glen (228.5), John Marshall (197) and Cabell Midland (166.5) rounding out the two through four spots.
The Big Blacks collectively amassed a record of 30-20 during the two-day event, and half of their 14 entrants posted winning records at the event. Two of those seven winning records also came in B-level brackets.
Senior Austin Wamsley scored a third place finish at 152 pounds after recording three pinfall wins and a 3-1 overall mark. Freshman Juan Marquez went 4-1 and had two pinfall wins while finishing fourth at 220 pounds.
Junior Thomas Jeffrey scored two pinfall wins and a 2-1 record in the 285-B division, while classmate Jacob Roub went 2-0 and scored pinfall win in the 152-B division.
PPHS also had three grapplers finish the weekend with identical 2-2 marks. Junior Brian Gillispie scored two pinfall wins and placed fourth in the heavyweight division, while freshman Justin Cornell (106) and sophomore Miles Williams (160) each posted a pair of pinfall wins en route to fifth place finishes.
Sophomore Jeffrey Simpkins scored a pinfall win while finishing 2-3 overall at 145 pounds. Freshmen Logan Southall (132) and junior Caleb Lane (126) both recorded a pinfall win apiece while ending their respective weekends at 1-3 and 1-2 overall.
Junior Tyler Clendenin also went 0-2 in the 170-pound weight class.
Eighth-year PPHS coach John Bonecutter was, for the most part, pleased with the season opening performance — although he did admit that there were some points of frustration.
“I saw a lot of good things this weekend, but we must become a more consistent team from match to match,” Bonecutter said. “It’s a start, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Point Pleasant was only one of three schools at the event to come away with multiple individual titles. Both University and Cabell Midland led the way with three each.
East Fairmont, Oak Glen, Massaponax, John Marshall and Cameron also had an individual champion apiece.
Complete results of the 2016 Superior Photo Scholarship Tournament are available on the web at wvmat.com
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.