Cavaliers set for first state duals

Jan. 25—Finally, it's not just the setting that will provide the state duals with a Greenbrier County feel.

Class A No. 1 Greenbrier West locked up its first trip to the West Virginia Dual Team State Championships Wednesday night with a runner-up finish in the Class AA/A Region 3 Duals. Herbert Hoover won and will compete at the state duals for the fifth straight year.

Last week, Greenbrier East also qualified for the first time and will join its neighbors to the west at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea Feb. 2-3.

"We've never participated in this before, so I think it's pretty cool that it's the first time we've participated and qualified," Greenbrier West coach Jeremy Tincher said.

"Hats off to the kids. I'm not going to say they wrestled well, but they wrestled hard. That's all you can ask. We've got to clean some stuff up drastically the next couple of days. But I'm excited it's in our home county, so we get to go the Fairgrounds and we get to sleep in our own beds and wrestle in front of fellow Greenbrier Countians. That's exciting."

The Huskies went 3-0 on the night, including a 40-34 win over the Cavaliers that ultimately decided things.

Hoover led 34-19 but a run of victories for Evan Vandall (7-4), Cole Vandall (pin) and Braden Blendin (pin) tied it at 34-34. The Cavaliers then forfeited heavyweight with Trey Franklin still not cleared to wrestle, giving the match to the Huskies.

Tincher's pride in how hard his team wrestled may be best personified by Evan Vandall, who broke off one of his back teeth during one of his matches. He simply swallowed the tooth and kept wrestling and went on to an 8-6 victory.

"That's how tough Evan Vandall is," Tincher said. "They don't come no tougher than Evan Vandall."

Tincher was impressed with the progress of junior John Painter, who went 3-0 at 138 pounds. Two of his victories came via 6-5 decisions.

"I thought John Painter wrestled really, really well," Tincher said. "He's starting to get over the hump a little bit and figure out what it takes to go out and win close matches, where a month ago he puts his head down and pouts and loses those matches. He's starting to learn how to grind through a 4-3 match.

"Joevan Robinson is just so tough and wrestles so hard, and he fights. Win, lose or draw, I love to watch that kid wrestle. Tucker Lilly probably wrestled the best match he's wrestled all year (an 11-1 major decision over Herbert Hoover's Dalton Myers) just in terms of start to finish, going out with intent, scoring points, foot on the gas. I thought he did a great job, and he needed to set a different pace than he's been wrestling. So good for him."

The Class AA/A state duals will be held Feb. 2 starting at noon.

Before that, the reigning Class A state champion Cavaliers will wrestle at the Single A Challenge Friday and Saturday. The tournament is held for all West Virginia Class A teams that don't want to wrestle at the WSAZ Invitational, which is the toughest tournament in the state.

"It's a little bit of a trip, but they put on a great tournament up there," Tincher said. "They do a fantastic job. Ritchie County High School is nice. They've got three mats down and they've got a balcony and there's plenty of room for the kids and the parents. It's just a good atmosphere.

"We'll get to see some kids that we need to see before the state tournament that we haven't seen yet. Some of those northern single-As, we'll get to see those guys."


Greenbrier West 48, Shady Spring 24

Herbert Hoover 69, Independence 11

Independence 39, Shady Spring 33

Herbert Hoover 40, Greenbrier West 34

Greenbrier West 54, Independence 23

Herbert Hoover 57, Shady Spring 24

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