To make it to the state wrestling tournament, Frankfort and Keyser wrestlers must first finish in the top four of the Region 1 wrestling tournament. The Region 1 tournament boasts many of the state's top wrestlers and produces a challenge Frankfort coach Jason Armentrout describes as “a real meat grinder.”
By Chapin Jewell
To make it to the state wrestling tournament, Frankfort and Keyser wrestlers must first finish in the top four of the Region 1 wrestling tournament. The Region 1 tournament boasts many of the state’s top wrestlers and produces a challenge Frankfort coach Jason Armentrout describes as “a real meat grinder.”
Despite the rigors of the region one tournament, Frankfort’s Noah Kiszka and Keyser’s Tristin Fox and Aaron Lyons successfully qualified for the state tournament held last week in Huntington. At regionals, Kiszka finished in second place in the 145-pound weight class, Fox finished in second place in the 195-pound class, and Lyons finished fourth in the 160-pound class.
All three (Kiszka, Fox and Lyons) competed in the state wrestling tournament in Huntington, held at the Mountain Health Arena from Feb. 27-29. If the Region 1 tournament contains many of the state’s best wrestlers, it’s obvious that all of the state’s best wrestlers can be found competing at the state tournament.
When the hundreds of bouts had concluded, Frankfort’s Noah Kiszka found himself on the winner’s podium, finishing third overall in the state in the 145-pound weight class.
Keyser’s Tristin Fox won his first match of the tournament with a tremendous effort battling through injury. Unfortunately, Fox, the second-ranked wrestler in the 195-pound weight class, as ranked by the coaches association, was forced to withdraw with an injury.
Keyser’s Aaron Lyons, after dropping his first match, would go on to win two bouts in the consolation bracket before losing, finishing just off the podium.
Kiszka opened the state tournament with a huge, 17-2, technical fall win over Eli Sedlock of Oak Hill. In the second-round, Kiszka would fall in a close, 3-0 match, to Mitchell Freeman of Point Pleasant, the eventual state champion. Kiszka rebounded strong in his first match of the consolation bracket, defeating Wyatt Baldwin of Herbert Hoover with a 14-2, major decision. Next came a hard-fought, 4-2 victory over Sean Dawson of Independence to advance. Finally, Kiszka defeated Derek Starkey of Bridgeport 6-4 to claim third place overall.
Fox opened the state tournament by pinning Scott Worstell of Nitro at the 2:50 mark. Fox, unfortunately, would be unable to wrestle any more bouts and was forced to withdraw from the competition as the result of injury.
Lyons would drop his first match of the state tournament to Zac Samson of Point Pleasant, the eventual second place finisher, by a 13-2, major decision. Lyons rebounded strongly, pinning Riley Chapman of Shady Spring at the 2:38 mark, then pinning Makiah Adams of Logan at the 3:59 mark. Lyons would then drop a close, 11-8 decision to Christian Tiller of Man, the eventual sixth place finisher, to finish just outside of the podium.
While certainly the ultimate goal of every wrestler competing in the state tournament is to win a state championship, success certainly can’t be judged just by that. All three wrestlers (Kiszka, Fox and Lyons) have enjoyed tremendous success throughout their careers at their respective schools. All three performed admirably at the state tournament as well, making all of Mineral County proud. Wrestling is a sport like no other, all three are better men for the journey, and for competing at the highest levels of the sport in the Mountain State.