HUNTINGTON – Jacob Smithson brought home runner-up honors for the Buckhannon-Upshur wrestling Buccaneers during the 2019 West Virginia High School Wrestling Championships this past weekend at Huntington.
Smithson, wrestling in the 160-pound weight division, advanced to the championship match and ended the tournament with a 3-1 record.
Smithson started the tournament on Thursday with a win by pin over Huntington’s Isaiah Shook in just 42 seconds, and then on Friday, he beat Parkersburg’s Chance Mathess by a 9-0 major decision and defeated Cabell Midland’s Nate Neale in the semi-finals by a 7-2 score. He came up short in the title match losing an 18-5 major decision to Parkersburg South’s Zane Hinzman.
“Jacob had a great weekend and wrestled super well,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jacob Orr. “Being in the state finals is an incredible feeling with lots of emotions and he handled it well. Jacob has progressively worked his way up the podium every year. As a freshman, he placed sixth and as a sophomore he placed fourth and now this year as a junior second. I’m hoping that this trend continues one more year next year during his senior year.”
Smithson’s performance overall helped the Bucs to a ninth-place finish at the state tournament
Parkersburg South won their fifth straight state title with 248 points.
Wheeling Park was runner-up with 175 points while Huntington was third with 154 points.
Buckhannon-Upshur’s Julius Hobbs (120 pounds) took third place with a 4-1 record.
Hobbs opened the tournament with a pin in 2:35 on Thursday over Greenbrier East’s Waymon Browning and then pinned Huntington’s Devin Doss on Friday in 3:51. In the semi-final on Friday, he narrowly lost a 4-3 decision to Parkersburg’s Garret Donahue. He earned a 1-0 decision over Wheeling Park’s Masion Richardson and then pinned Huntington’s Doss again in the third/fourth-place match.
“Julius had a fantastic tournament,” Orr said. “He wrestled really well and was just a point away from being in the finals.”
Buckhannon-Upshur’s pair of seniors, Tyler Cutright and Austin McCartney, placed fourth and sixth respectively.
Cutright, wrestling at 138 pounds, finished with a 4-2 record for his fourth-place finish.
Cutright won his opener with a 17-4 major decision over Princeton’s Eli Padgett but dropped an 11-3 major decision in his next match to eventual champion Gavin Quiocho of Parkersburg South.
He came back to pin St. Albans’ Zach Messter in 3:52 and beat John Marshall’s Dakoyta Thatcher by a 16-4 major decision. He followed that up with a 16 second pin over Cabell Midland’s Isaiah Vaughn before dropping the third/fourth-place match to Steven Mitchell of Wheeling Park by a 10-6 margin.
McCartney, competing in the 126-weight division, compiled a 3-3 record for sixth place.
McCartney won this opener with a one-minute pin over Hedgesville’s Devin Bruner but lost an 11-1 major decision to St. Albans’ Brandon Holt, who wound up the eventual champion.
He came back with a 5-0 decision over Greenbrier East’s Laden Hoover and beat Issiah Isabell from George Washington by a 5-1 margin. Wrestling with an ankle injury, he then lost a 9-3 decision to Jake Staud of University and lost the fifth/sixth-place match by on a 3-2 decision to Alex Viars of Huntington.
“Tyler competed very well this weekend and had a good tournament,” explained Orr. “He finished his high school wrestling career as one of the few three-time state placers for Buckhannon-Upshur. Austin really showed up this past weekend ready to compete and finished out his high school wrestling career strong becoming a two-time state placer. Following an ankle injury in his consolation semis match it was obvious that he was hurting, but really showed his heart, grit and dedication when he refused to let it stop him from competing in his final high school match.”
B-U had one other wrestler place in the top six and that was Breagan Pearson taking sixth in the 145-pound division.
Pearson won his opener by a 5-3 decision over Washington’s Buddy Stine but lost a 6-2 decision to Izak Petry from Riverside. In the consolation bracket, he pinned Hurricane’s Treven Taylor in 4:52 and won by an 8-2 decision over Hedgesville’s Noah Wahler.
He lost a 2-0 decision to St. Albans’ Austin Adkins and then had to forfeit via injury in the fifth/sixth-place match to University’s Brise Bennett.
“Breagan battled all weekend and his results showed it,” noted Orr. “Last year as a freshman, he came down here and went 1-2 and was out by Saturday morning. That lit a fire in him, and he worked all off-season and his results showed it. Breagan was unable to continue competing in his fifth/sixth place match after suffering a knee injury early in the second period that would end the match causing him to injury default out for sixth place.”
A pair of Buccaneer freshman, Aiden Wilson (106) and Tucker Hurst (132), both went 1-2.
Wilson won a 13-7 decision over St. Albans’ Allens Edens for his win and Hurst pinned Hedgesville’s Reese Ludwick in 4:30.
“Aiden had a really good tournament for being a freshman,” said Orr. “Qualifying is impressive in itself but being able to get a win down there is awesome and a big help toward our team score. Tucker did a really nice job as a freshman as well. Again, being a freshman down there can be a little intimidating. The two matches Tucker lost to put him out of tournament were both close matches that could have gone either way.”
Todd Cutlip finished 0-2 in the heavyweight division.
“Qualifying was a big accomplishment for Todd,” remarked Orr. “If you could look back at the beginning of the season to today, for Todd to become a state qualifier was an amazing transformation for him.”
Alex Bennett (195) was unable to compete due to an illness.
“Alex is only a freshman and I’m looking forward to three more years with him,” stated Orr.
Orr said he was pleased with how his Bucs performed at the state meet and during the season.
“I am so unbelievably proud of these guys and what they have accomplished this year,” he stated. “They have all worked their tails off and the results show it. Every one of these guys, including the ones that fell short of qualifying, played their part. I have never coached such a fun group of young men. Their love and passion for the sport is truly unique. These young men started the season in November as 12 individuals and ended as 12 brothers.”
Orr wrapped up the weekend with a special message for his two seniors.
“Tyler, you are truly a special kind of individual,” said Orr. “I have never met a young man that could match your drive. You have come a long way since I pestered you back in middle school to give wrestling a try. Your presence as a leader on this team will be missed. You have grown into a fine young man and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to have been a part of that. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”
“For Austin, you too are a special person. Over your high school career, you have battled through a lot of adversity, all the injuries your body endured, you could have very easily walked away, but you're tougher than that. You never let anything keep you down for too long. You always keep pushing forward. You too, have set an example for those who will come after you to this great sport. Good luck to you, and the answer is yes!”