Isaac Harris & Peyton Thompson
named Most Outstanding Wrestlers
by Jamie Harris
Finally, after a long delay and numerous schedule changes the Berkeley Springs High School Indians Wrestling Team kicked off their 2021 season by hosting the 36th Max Horz & PVC Championship tournament at Warm Springs Middle School on Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6.
With some of the new guidelines in wrestling weight classes 106-145 were wrestled on Friday, March 5 and then on Saturday, March 6 weight classes 152-285 competed.
This season saw the Max Horz Invitational reduced to only eight teams due to the covid guidelines. Berkeley Springs worked with the other members of the Potomac Valley Conference to run the Max Horz and the PVC championships in conjunction. So on Friday afternoon PVC teams East Hardy, Frankfort, Hampshire, Keyser and Petersburg rolled into town joined by Hedgesville and Musselman to round out the field.
On Friday, the event got started and the Indians got rolling at the 106 pound weight class with freshman Brendan Henry. Henry started his varsity wrestling season with a bang as he pinned Musselman’s Emily Anderson in 1:03 in the championship quarterfinals. In the championship semifinals, Henry picked up another pin this time over East Hardy’s Shane Riggle at 3:08 to advance to the finals of the tournament. In the finals, Henry faced off with Petersburg senior and multiple state place winner Ethan VanMeter. VanMeter scored an early takedown and worked it into a pin in 53 seconds.
Sophomore Isaac Harris the 2020 113 PVC champion and fourth place state winner wrestled in the 126 pound weight class got a bye in the championship quarterfinals. In the championship semifinals, Harris pinned Hampshire’s Gavin Hall in 1:05. In the championship finals, Harris faced Petersburg junior Thomas Ours a two-time state place winner and defending PVC champion. The first period saw both wrestlers battle to 0-0 score. In the early moments of the second period, Ours scored a reversal to go up 2-0. The score would stay that way to start the third period. Harris chose neutral and seconds in hit a nice overhead tie into a standing merkle to get the two-point takedown and then a three point near fall to go up 5-2. Ours would battle off his back and Harris kept him tied up on top until the closing seconds when Ours scored on another reversal. However, Harris held his ground and held on for the 5-4 win to capture his first Max Horz title and second straight PVC championship. Harris would later be named the 36th Max Horz Championship Most Outstanding Wrestler for the 106-145 weight classes.
Freshman Will Gageby kicked off his varsity campaign with a bye in the quarterfinals in the 132 pound weight class. In the championship semifinals, Gageby lost 5-4 to Musselman’s Kian Windsor. Gageby then got a bye in the consolation semifinals and then in the third and fourth place match scored a 12-7 win over Keyser’s Logan Mason to finish in third place.
Junior Christian Garber wrestling in the 138 pound weight class lost by fall to Petersburg’s Jacob Landis at the 1:43 mark in the quarterfinals. In the consolation first round, Garber pinned Hampshire’s Anthony Worth in 2:32. In the consolation semifinals, Garber won by major decision 10-2 over Hedgesville’s Arch Fox. In the third and fourth place match Garber lost by fall to Musselman’s Landon Bosley to finish fourth.
Junior Gabe McDonald wrestling in the 145 pound weight class received a bye in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, McDonald lost to Hampshire’s Zander Robinson 8-4. In the consolation semifinals, McDonald bounced back with a pin at 1:34 over Joseph Horner of Hedgesville. In the third and fourth place match McDonald lost to Musselman’s Brady Mills 8-4.
So when the dust settled Friday night the Indians had one Max Horz and PVC champion, a runner-up, a third place finisher and two fourth place finishers. In the team standings, the Indians were in third place in the team standings with the bigger weights ready to battle on Saturday.
On Saturday morning it did not take the Indians long to flex some firepower and quickly move to the top of the team standings. Starting with sophomore Gabriel Clark a defending PVC champion wrestling at the 152 pound class. In the quarterfinals, Clark pinned East Hardy’s Damian Inman in 3:05. In the championship semifinals, Clark pinned Hedgesville’s Anderson Darby in 10 seconds. In the finals, Clark wasted no time in capturing his first Max Horz title and second straight PVC title. Clark scored a quick takedown and worked to turn Petersburg’s James Wolford to his back for a pin in 59 seconds.
Junior Evan Thompson wrestling at the 160 pound weight class started the quarterfinals off with a 52 second pin of Musselman’s Cesar Zilleruelo in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Thompson once again made lightening work of Hedgesville’s Ashton Hylton in 45 seconds. In the finals, Thompson faced off with Petersburg’s Jacob Cruz Perez. In the first period, Thompson scored a quick takedown and racked up a nearfall. Starting the second period, Thompson quickly pinned Perez to end the match at the 2:19 mark. Thompson secured his first Max Horz and PVC championship.
Senior Peyton Thompson a defending PVC champion and two time state placewinner kicked off his weight class and kicked off his tournament with a pin at 1:50 over Musselman’s Kobe Hayslette. In the semifinals Thompson grinded his way to a dominating pin at 3:36 over Hedgesville’s Dieuvens Lebreton in 3:36. In the finals, Thompson continued his domination with a 22-7 tech fall win over East Hardy’s Mason Miller to win another Max Horz title and PVC championship. Later in the day, Thompson was named the Max Horz 152-285 and the PVC Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Senior Landen Riggleman kicked off his last Max Horz and PVC tournament with a run in the 182 pound weight class. In the quarterfinals, Riggleman pinned Hedgesville’s Kolby Gray in 1:17. In the semifinals, Riggleman pinned Hedgesville’s Robert Straight in 1:41. In the finals Riggleman grinded his way to a 10-0 major decision over Hampshire’s Wesley Landis to capture his first Max Horz and PVC championship.
Rounding out the tournament for the Indians was junior 285 pounder Aaron Armentrout. In the quarterfinals, Armentrout pinned East Hardy’s Colin Quarles in 1:27. In the semifinals, Armentrout picked up a pin at 1:35 over Keyser’s Dakota Ratliff. In the finals, Armentrout faced Hampshire’s Jacob Staub. The two big men battled back and forth before Staub was able to take Armentrout down and pinned him at 1:35.
By the end of the day on Saturday, the Indians crowned four more Max Horz and PVC champions and had one more runner-up. In the team scores, the Tribe vaulted to the top of the standings after Saturday’s quarterfinal round and never looked back racking up 176.5 points to easily outdistance second place Petersburg 136.5.
The Indians were finally back on top of the Max Horz Invitational while winning the PVC team title for the second year in a row. For that achievement Tribe head coach Derek Hovermale was named PVC Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Next up for the Indian grapplers is an away tri meet on Tuesday, March 9 at University High School in Morgantown with the host Hawks and the Region I rival Oak Glen starting at 6 p.m. Then on Saturday, March 13 the Tribe will host Washington High, Chapmanville Regional High, and Moorefield at the BSHS gym starting at noon.