Bennett and Gosey win Regional Wrestling Titles
Tory Bennett and CJ Gosey brought home gold from the West Virginia Class AA Region II Wrestling Championships held last Friday and Saturday in Flatwoods. The pair of seniors will advance to the State Tournament which begins this Thursday, February 23, in Huntington, along with five other Indian grapplers that finished in the top four of their respective weight classes.
"We took seven wrestlers to the regional tournament and all qualified for the state tournament, so we are pretty happy," said Berkeley Springs Coach Darrell Bennett. “I think our kids have come a long way, but there is still work to be done."
Leading the contingent is two time defending state champion, Bennett. He won his fourth consecutive regional title by pinning all three of his opponents. Bennett opened with a pin of Liberty Harrison's Kyle Wiseman, then decked John Givens from Braxton County in the semi-finals before pinning Lincoln's Austin Weaver in the 182 pound championship bout. Bennett, 59-1, will face Statton Shriver (Clay-Battelle, 18-9) in the opening round of the state tournament.
Gosey, the top seeded 285 pounder in the region, defeated Danny Meter from Braxton County, 12-3, in the regional semifinal match and then pinned Keyser's Josh Napler in the title bout.
Gosey, 24-8, will face Seth Smith (Ritchie County, 18-20) in the first round of the state tournament.
CJ Capps and Matt Parkinson reached the finals of their respective weights, but had to settle for second.
Capps pinned CJ Dolby in his opening match at the regional tournament and then decisioned Zach Cannon from Keyser, 6-1, to reach the 113 pound championship match. Capps faced off against top seeded AJ Adkins from Braxton County in the title bout and came out on the short end of an 8-4 decision. Capps, 28-22, will wrestle Weir's Cory Poling (20-9) in his opening match at the state tournament.
Parkinson pinned Grafton's Kenny Thomas in his quarterfinal match and then squeaked by John Paul Nichols, 1-0, in the 220 pound semifinal bout. Parkinson faced off against Liberty Harrison's Daniel Fultz in the 220 final. The two had split matches wrestled earlier in the year, but this day was owned by Fultz as he shutout Parkinson 5-0. Parkinson, 48-6, will begin his quest at the state tournament against Wyatt Dawson from Clay County (21-17).
Kyle Shambaugh brought home the bronze at 195. Shambaugh had byes out to the semifinals where he met Derek Wilt from Keyser. The bout was closely contested but Wilt prevailed, 3-2. After dropping to the consolation brackets, Shambaugh won a pair of matches including a pin of Grafton's Richie Powell in the consolation final. Shambaugh will open the state tournament against Chris Nelson, 33-3, from Independence.
Billy Wilson (120) and Josh Capps (132) also qualified for the trip to Huntington by finishing fourth in their respective weight classes. Wilson dropped a 6-5 decision in the consolation final to Lance Gross from Braxton County, while Cody Whitlock from Keyser bested Capps, 9-6, in the 132 pound consolation final.
Wilson, 40-23, will face Dustin Yoakum (41-6) from Greenbrier West in the first round of the state tournament, while Capps gets Oak Glen's Avery Flowers (18-19).
"Like most years we have some favorable match-ups and some that aren't so good," Bennett said. “The kids have to go down to Huntington with a positive attitude and be aggressive on the mats. They can't worry about the name on the singlet or their opponents records. There are upsets every year, so whether you're the favorite, or the underdog, you better be ready."
Wrestling will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 23 and will conclude on Saturday evening.
West Virginia Class AA Region II Team Scores:
1. Braxton County 219
2. Keyser 178.5
3. Lincoln 131.5
4. Liberty Harrison 128
5. Berkeley Springs 124
6. Grafton 110
7. Frankfort 91
8. Philip Barbour 53
9. Notre Dame 36
10. Petersburg 24
11. Moorefield 23
12. South Harrison 7