Hovermale, Bennett and Reed claim Calhoun County titles
The Berkeley Springs wrestling team traveled to Mt. Zion, on Saturday, January 20, for the nine-team Calhoun County Invitational.
Led by Derek Hovermale (103), Tyson Bennett (160) and Cody Reed (189), each of whom won their respective weight classes, Berkeley Springs finished a strong fourth in the tournament. The short-handed Indians placed all seven of their grapplers in the top three, to score 122 points.
Calhoun County won the tournament with 166.5 points, followed by Clay County 132, Greenbrier West 131.5, Berkeley Springs 122, Braxton County 108, Ritchie County 95, St. Mary's 85, Poca 56.5 and Fayetteville 37.
Hovermale scored a major decision over Justin McCort of Clay County in the 103 pound final. Hovermale secured a takedown and three-point near fall in the first period, a reversal in the second and a takedown in the third for the 9-0 win.
Bennett defeated Kevin Tanner of Braxton County 6-2 in the 160 pound final. The match was tight through the first two periods, with Bennett building a 1-0 lead on a second period escape. Tanner scored a third-period reversal to take a 2-1 lead, before Bennett scored a reversal of his own and a threepoint near fall, to secure the win.
At 189, Cody Reed had little problem with Ryan Fickiesen of St. Mary's in his finals match. After building a 9-0 lead, Reed pinned Fickiesen at the 3:01 mark of the second period to end the match.
Jake Stotler finished second in the 285 pound class. Stotler pinned both Jim Putman of Ritchie County and Danny Sizemore of Clay County to reach the championship match. There he met top-seeded Brian Barnhart. Stotler hung with Barnhart through two periods, trailing only 4-2, as the third period began. Barnhart finally turned the inexperienced Stotler and secured a pin with less than a minute remaining in the match.
Josh Connor, Brad Reed and A.J. Blankenship each finished third.
Conner lost a heartbreaker to eventual champion Chuck Richards of Ritchie County in the 112 pound championship semifinal match. Richard scored a two-point reversal with just seconds left in the match to down Conner 4-3. Conner then won his next two matches, including a 1-0 decision over Tyler Midkiff of Greenbrier West in the 112 pound consolation final.
Brad Reed finished third at 119. After dropping a 9-2 decision to Matt McCourt of Clay County in the championship semifinal, Reed pinned Austin Moore of Calhoun County in 2:38 of his consolation final to take third.
Blankenship rounded out the scoring with a third place finish at 125. After falling to Jordan Adkins of Clay County in the championship semifinal, Blankenship defeated Anthony Shillingburg of Fayetteville 5-2 in the consolation semifinal, and then beat Sean Gungle of Calhoun County 9-4 in the consolation final.
"I thought we wrestled well today," said Berkeley Springs coach Darrell Bennett. "We didn't win every match we could have, but we did win most of them. Tyson, Derek and Cody all wrestled well and Jake did a terrific job for a kid that has only been wrestling a short time."
The Indians will compete in the two-day Viking Smash in Petersburg on January 26 and 27.