State duals a showcase for Greenbrier County

Feb. 1—Brian Miluk has been enthusiastic about the West Virginia Dual Team State Championships since they began in 2020. Really, even before that, when the event was in its planning stages.

It's not that something was ever missing, but this year's state duals will have an element to bring a different feel.

For the first time, hometown Greenbrier East and neighbor Greenbrier West have qualified for the event at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea. It's a statewide event that will showcase some of West Virginia's top individuals as well as teams, but having the county's two high schools aboard should play out well.

"It's very important, I think it is," said Miluk, the event's director. "It's exciting for Greenbrier County. Sixteen different teams coming into our area, showing off the Greenbrier Valley and the support we have here."

Greenbrier West, the state's top-ranked Class A team and the reigning state champion, will help get things kicked off. The Class AA/A duals will be held Friday starting at noon. In a battle of state champions, the Cavaliers will face Class AA No. 1 and 2023 state champ Fairmont in the first round.

In the other quarterfinal matchups, Braxton County will face Williamstown, Herbert Hoover will meet Oak Glen and Point Pleasant will go up against Roane County.

The semifinals and consolations will start at 1:30 p.m., followed by the championship and placement matches at 3 p.m.

On Saturday, it will be Greenbrier East's turn. The Spartans will take on No. 1 University in the Class AAA first round.

Also, Spring Mills will face Ripley, Woodrow Wilson will take on Wheeling Park and Parkersburg South will wrestle Musselman.

Class AAA will follow the same time schedule as AA/A.

The tournament expanded from eight to 16 teams last season as it has gained in popularity.

"A lot of coaches right off the bat put it on their calendar. They love it," Miluk said. "They look forward to it. They really enjoy the team camaraderie. They bring the whole team down here. That is the bottom line. Sometimes at the state tournament they take three kids. Here, they're bringing their whole team and the kid that might not even qualify helps them win the state duals championship. So it's a great event."

Of the 16 teams battling this weekend, 13 are ranked. That's a common theme with the state duals, especially individually. Last year, 13 of the 14 individual Class AAA state champions and 11 of 14 in Class AA/A competed in the state duals.

The attraction there not only is the increased competition level, but also wrestlers will likely see many opponents they would not see otherwise. For example, Greenbrier West coach Jeremy Tincher said he doesn't recall ever seeing Oak Glen before the state tournament.

"If you're a wrestling fan, it's wonderful," Miluk said. "It's a who's-who of wrestlers. It's the top of the top. It should be a lot of fun.

"We just want to create an opportunity for greatness. All we can do is give these kids an opportunity to be great."

Parkersburg South is the defending Class AAA duals champion. Fairmont unseated Point Pleasant to win Class AA/A.

The state duals will be livestreamed on FloWrestling and the Mat Time podcast will be providing updates.

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