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January 9, 2019

During the past several years, I have really gotten into high school wrestling.

I admit I haven't been into it much this season, because I was off on a mini-vacation. My three sons visited during Christmas, and I had promised my wife I would not do any work (at the newspaper) during my break. I listened to her and stayed away.

However, the holidays are over, and I am going to get my feet pretty wet here. I see that Magnolia's wrestlers have been doing very well so far this season. There are two grapplers still undefeated - Jason Beisel (14-0) and Gage Adams (13-0). Magnolia also has James Stillwagoner (13-1) and Mikey Hamrick (11-2) doing very well.

The team was runner-up in Tyler Consolidated High School's Larry Ritchie Wrestling Tournament, and just recently, the Blue Eagles took fourth in a big wrestling tournament at Greenbrier West, beating the likes of Liberty Raleigh (42-24), Fayetteville, (45-18), and Midland Trail (48-28).

Beisel, Adams and James Stillwagoner went 5-0 during the tournament to get the gold, while newcomer Travis Carr went 4-1 and got the silver. Magnolia also had Hamrick go 3-2, along with Cameron Stillwagoner, Trenton Mitchell and Sam Zombotti - all getting the bronze.

The Blue Eagles hosted Tyler Consolidated and Cameron and beat the No. 2 ranked Weirton Madonna Blue Dons in the home-opener, as well as Cameron and Tyler Consolidated.

As of today, Magnolia is ranked seventh in WVSSAC Class A, and the team has won 104 matches and lost 69 with a nice winning percentage of 60 percent.

The team participated in a tournament at Cameron over the weekend, and hopefully I can write about that one in this week's paper.

There are more than just Beisel, Adams, Hamrick, James and Cameron Stillwagoner, Trenton Mitchell, Sam Zombotti and Travis Carr on the Eric McKeever, Robert Gomez and Derek Metz wrestling team. I wrote a spotlight on these guys back in early December.

I can't write in my column on what I haven't seen yet, but I will very soon. The grandfather of them all, the OVAC Wrestling Tournament, will showcase the best wresting kids in the Ohio Valley. I will be there to cover it for not only Magnolia, but Paden City and River too.

I haven't seen anyone yet, but I will get my dose Jan. 10-13 at WesBanco Arena. The Eagles will also be wrestling, along with Paden City, at Ritchie County in an all-Class A battle.

You see, in West Virginia, there are only Class A/AA, AAA and AAAA in the West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament in Huntington, and it will showcase the best Class A can offer. In the state tournament, Class A team will be competing against Class A and Class AA, in the Region I regional as well.

For most of our area wrestlers this will be their regional and state tournament too, because they will have to compete bigger schools as well.

Is this fair? It is in the eyes of our WVSSAC people. I believe we have the numbers in Class A to have our own class when it comes in wrestling. However, until its changed, the Class A wrestling world will just keep on keeping on. Good luck, not just for Magnolia, but Paden City and River as well.



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