Prep wrestling: George claims individual state crown

After missing out last winter, Dalton George wasn’t going to be denied a second title at the 66th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament inside Huntington’s Big Sandy Super Store Arena Saturday night.

Williamstown’s 126-pound junior, who gave heavy praise to his older brother Tyler for his success on the mat, defeated Calhoun County freshman Casey Ritchie for the third time this season. Ritchie, who finished 50-3, registered the first takedown, but found himself trailing 6-2 late in the fourth before getting a penalty point and then a reversal with 10 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough in the 6-5 setback.

“I’ve been ready for this state tournament since last year Saturday night in February after losing that one,” said George, who watched 145-pound teammate Jake Tracewell fall 9-3 to Anthony Alvaro of Fairmont Senior.

“I’ve worked my butt of and I’m proud of myself. I really got to give a special thanks to my brother, man. He’s always there for me.”

Yellowjacket 170-pounder David Hastings also placed fifth in the tournament.

Greenbrier West won the Class AA/A team title against Independence (131.5-119.5) while East Fairmont (106.5), North Marion (91) and Clay County (89) comprised the top five.

Wirt County was sixth with 87.5 points while Williamstown (9th, 74) and Wahama (10th, 67) cracked the top 10.

Across the river in Ohio district tournament action Saturday, seven Mid-Ohio Valley grapplers qualified for this week’s Division III OHSAA State Wrestling Championship at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.

Warren sophomore Levi Congleton was the area’s lone D2 placer at Goshen, finishing fourth in the 106-pound weight division. The school’s single-season record holder in pins, he will be coached by Mike Pahl.

Congleton, who owns a 45-3 record, is scheduled to wrestle Napoleon freshman and Bowling Green district champion Seth Beard (41-4) in an opening bout at state.

Warren’s Cory Parsons, a two-time state qualifier, was one district placement shy of qualifying for state a third time. The senior Warrior, who is the school’s career leader in wins and pins, finished fifth in the 113-pound weight class at Goshen.

In the D3 mat tourney at Philo Junior High, three Caldwell Redskins punched their tickets to state. Junior Kameron Rayner (42-6) was a district runner-up, while older brother and senior Kale Rayner (39-4) finished third.

CHS senior Jared Leasure (41-5) suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 setback to Sandy Valley’s Sam Groff in the 182-pound district final to finish second and advance to state.

Waterford junior Austin Lang (48-8) edged Amanda-Clearcreek’s Nick Hoffman, 4-3, to place third in the 126-pound class. He is coached by Scott Zimmer.

“Austin wrestled outstanding this weekend,” Zimmer said.

Belpre’s lone state qualifier is freshman Gavin Stalnaker 32-7), a fourth-place finisher at Philo. He is coached by Scott Adams.

Monroe Central sophomore Rodney Richter (20-3) was dealt an 18-10 major decision setback by Newark Catholic’s Caleb Ohi to finish second in the 113-pound class at district.

Jay W. Bennett contributed to this wrestling report.