Mineral County qualifies 4 for wrestling state tournament

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
Frankfort's Iryll Jones finished first in the 113-pound class and is state tournament bound.
Keyser's EJ Guy finished second in the 113-pound class and is state tournament bound.
Frankfort's Kris Sherman finished third in the 145-pound weight class and is state tournament bound.
Keyser's Landen Mason finished  fourth in the 138-pound class and is state tournament bound.

It’s been both an abbreviated and compacted season thus far, but if you know anything about the dedication and hard work associated with the sport of wrestling, you know our wrestlers from Keyser and Frankfort have packed a year’s worth of work into a few months span.  

The ultimate prize for all that hard work of course is a wrestling state championship in one’s weight class, or to be part of a team state championship.  To get there, however, one must first have success in the regional wrestling tournament.  The region Frankfort and Keyser compete in, Region I, is a region packed with good wrestling.

So much so, that Frankfort head wrestling coach Jason Armentrout has often referred to the Region I wrestling tournament, which takes place over two days, as “a real meat grinder.”

If the goal is to punch a ticket to Huntington for the state wrestling tournament, and it is, that ticket gets punched with a top four finish in the wrestler’s weight class at the regional tournament.  The top four winners in each class at the regional tournament advance to the state tournament, the fifth place finisher is tabbed with the label “alternate,” and may be selected to attend in the event of an injury prior to the state tournament.

This year’s regional tournament took place on Friday and Saturday this past weekend.  When the final matches were finished and the bracket in each weight class was filled to completion at the Fairmont Senior Field House, Keyser and Frankfort would each have two wrestlers apiece who qualified for the state tournament.

For Frankfort, Iryll Jones qualified as the first-place finisher in the 113-pound weight class, and Kris Sherman qualified as the third-place finisher in the 145-pound weight class.

For Keyser, EJ Guy qualified as the second-place finisher in the 113 pound weight class, and Landen Mason qualified as the fourth-place finisher in the 138-pound weight class.

In the most “Mineral County” of moments from the two-day spectacle, in the championship match of the 113-pound weight class, Frankfort’s Iryll Jones squared off against Keyser’e EJ Guy.  It was a hard-fought match that went the distance, all three periods, but in the end, Iryll Jones from Frankfort would claim the top prize.  Both Jones and Guy will advance to Huntington.

Jones’ path to the title began with first and second round byes.  Next came a close, 7-6 decision over Magnolia’s Lucas Zambotti, then finally the 4-1 win over Guy.  Guy’s march to the title match first began with a first-round bye, then came a win by pin in his second match against Chris Andrew of St. Mary’s.  Guy then won a major decision (13-4) over Kaden Huffman of Tyler Consolidated to advance to the championship match.

For Frankfort’s Kris Sherman in the 145-pound weight class, the path to a third-place finish began with a first-round bye, followed by a win by pin of Dakota Knisely of Fairmont Senior in the next round.  Sherman would then lose by pin to Wiley Houser of St. Mary’s, the eventual winner of the weight class.  Sherman then pinned Gabe McDonald of Berkeley Springs, then won a major decision (9-1) over Ethan Lively of Oak Glen to earn the third-place finish.

For Keyser’s Landen Mason in the 138-pound weight class, the path to a fourth-place finish began with a first-round bye, followed by a loss by pin to Dominic Armistead of Fairmont Senior.  Mason bounced back by winning a major decision (11-0) over Bobby Shuble of Weir, then came a win by pin of Jordan Davis of Magnolia.  In the third-place match, Mason would again fall to Dominic Armistead of Fairmont Senior, this time by technical fall (16-0).

The regional tournament represented both an individual and team tournament.  Fairmont Senior claimed the top team prize with an overall score of 265 and was followed in second place by Oak Glen with a score of 169, and by St. Mary’s in third place with a score of 164.  Rounding out the top five was Berkeley Springs in fourth (149) and East Fairmont in fifth (119).

This represents Fairmont Senior’s first regional wrestling championship since 2000, and the Polar Bears ultimately qualified a total of 10 wrestlers for the state tournament, including four regional winners and two runners-up.

In total, there were 15 teams competing.  Keyser would ultimately finish in 10th place with a score of 55, and Frankfort in 11th place, just one point behind, with 54 points.

For Keyser, in addition to state qualifiers EJ Guy in second place and Landen Mason in fourth place, one additional Golden Tornado reached the winner’s podium, Gabe Ryan, who finished in fifth place in the 220-pound weight class.  

Ryan finished the tournament with a record of 2-2, having defeated Alias Pugh of Weir by pin in his first match, then losing by pin to Cody Houser of St. Mary’s in the second match.  Ryan then lost to Gavin Hissam of Fairmont Senior by pin in his third match, then defeated Alias Pugh of Weir again by pin to claim fifth-place.

Those Golden Tornado wrestlers who competed but did not place with a top-six finish on the podium include Logan Mason in the 132-pound class (0-2), Seth Sions in the 145-pound class (0-2), Jay Kisamore in the 152-pound class (1-2), Zion Powell in the 182-pound class (0-2), Benny Oates in the 195-pound class (0-2), and Cameron Green in the 185-pound class (1-2).

For Frankfort, in addition to state qualifiers Iryll Jones in first place and Kris Sherman in third place, two additional Falcons reached the winner’s, Alex Smith, who finished in fifth-place in the 120-pound class, and Xander Parsons, who finished in sixth-place in the 195-pound class.

Smith finished the tournament with a record of 2-2, having initially lost by pin to Clayton Lamb of Oak Glen, then winning by major decision (13-0) over Marques Jackson of Tyler Consolidated in the second match.  Smith then lost by pin to Ashton Hoge of Cameron in his third match, before winning by pin over Alan Jones of Magnolia to claim fifth-place.

Parsons finished the tournament with a record of 1-3, having initially won victory over Logan Walter of Weir by an injury default in his first match, then losing by pin to Haiden Davis of St. Mary’s in the second match.  Parsons then lost by pin to Jacob Rough of Berkeley Springs in this third match, and lost by pin to Case Landis of Tyler Consolidated in the fourth match to claim the sixth-place finish.

Those Falcon wrestlers who competed but did not place with a top-six finish on the podium include Nick Ortt in the 152-pound class (0-2), and Nathan Armentrout in the 220-pound class (0-2).  

The class A/AA portion of the state tournament will be held in Huntington on Wednesday, April 21 and Thursday, April 2.