MILLWOOD, W.Va. — Another sweet 16 … again.
For the third year in a row, Mason County will be well-represented at the 2021 state wrestling tournament after having 16 total athletes advance out of the Class AA-A Region IV championships held Friday at Point Pleasant High School in Mason County.
Point Pleasant had all 14 of its weight class competitors advance, with all but two coming away with divisional titles. Wahama also had two grapplers advance to the state tournament for a third straight year, although neither competed in a championship final.
PPHS — the top-ranked Class AA program and 2-time defending state champion — almost doubled up the field with a winning tally of 344 points. Winfield was the overall runner-up out of 15 scoring teams with 174 points.
Wirt County ended up third overall with 156 points, but also finished as the highest scoring Class A program in the field. Wahama ended up eighth overall and third in single-A with 50 points.
It will be the fourth time in program history that Point Pleasant will be sending competitors to state in all 14 weight classes, joining the 2012, 2019 and 2020 squads. Each of those PPHS teams went on to capture the Class AA-A state championship.
The Big Blacks also earned the program’s 11th regional championship in school history, joining the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 squads.
The Red and Black combined for a 37-2 overall record in their collective matches, and all but one PPHS grappler reached the championship final within their respective divisions.
Conner Blessing (120), Chris Smith (132), Derek Raike (145), Mitchell Freeman (152), Justin Bartee (160), Wyatt Wilson (170), Colby Price (220) and Nick Ball (285) all posted 3-0 records en route to coming away with weight class titles.
Nathan Wood (106), Parker Henderson (113), Isaac Short (126) and Mackandle Freeman (152) each went 2-0 on their respective ways to divisional crowns.
Henderson, Short, Smith, Raike, Bartee, Wilson and both Freemans were also Region IV champions within their divisions a year ago.
Zander Watson posted a 2-1 mark and placed second at 182 pounds, while Brayden Connolly went 3-1 and ended up third at 195 pounds.
Wood, Blessing, Watson, Price and Ball will be appearing at the state tournament for the first time in their respective careers.
The White Falcons are again sending two grapplers to state, same as last year, and have both something old and something new headed to Huntington.
Sophomore Kase Stewart qualified for his second straight state tournament after finishing third in the 132-pound division with a 3-1 mark. Senior Gavin Stiltner is also headed to state for the first time after placing fourth overall at 170 pounds with a 2-2 record.
Cole Day just missed the cut after going 1-2 and placing fifth at 113 pounds. Antonio Perron (106) and Trey Ohlinger (195) also ended up sixth in their respective weight classes.
Caleb Stansberry of Williamstown won the 182-pound title, while Dillon Taylor of Poca came away with the 195-pound championship.
The 2021 WVSSAC Wrestling Championships for Class AA-A will be held at Mountain Health Arena on Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22, in downtown Huntington.
Visit wvmat.com for complete results of the 2021 Class AA-A Region IV Wrestling Championships held Friday at Point Pleasant High School.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.