The New Martinsville Middle School Wrestling team had its best finish ever at the Ohio Valley Championships this past weekend by finishing fourth in a field of more than 33 other middle schools in the giant Ohio Valley Athletic Conference. The team entered the competition with eight seeded wrestlers - the second highest seeded team in the contest.
Winning the overall championship at 160 pounds was eighth grader Caleb Nice. Also making the finals but finishing second by virtue of his first loss of the year was fellow eighth grader Riley Nice at 104 pounds.
Other competitors and their places: Joel Hatfield, third place, 172 lbs.; Kaleb Simpkins, fourth place, 110 lbs.; John Albertson, fifth place, 205 lbs.; and Jack Booth, sixth place, 98 lbs.
Winning matches but not placing were Hunter Partridge at 128 lbs. and Clay Adams 122 lbs.
The Blue Eagles will jump out of the pan and into the fire Feb. 1-2 when they travel to Fairmont State University for the Mason Dixon championships involving 19 schools. One of the top rated teams, the Eagles will hold the second best seeding placement in the championships.
The NMS squad will have two top seeds, Caleb and Riley Nice at 155 lbs. and 102 lbs., respectively. Number two seeds will be Clay Adams (123 lbs.) and John Albertson (190 lbs.); number four seeds will be Jack Booth (95 lbs.), Kaleb Simpkins (110 lbs.) and Joel Hatfield (171 lbs.); number six seed will go to Kyler Cecil (84 lbs.) and number seven seed to Hunter Partridge (128 lbs.).
"If we can wrestle to our seed level we will score a lot of points," says veteran Coach John Holliday. "We pretty much did that at the OVC last weekend and we were happy with our finish. But we really need to bring another level of intensity this week. I always say in wrestling, you have to take it away from your opponent because they won't give anything away. So, we need to be ready to take it and not expect anything to be given to us this weekend."