Hovermale and Bennett place second in Winner
Derek Hovermale and Tyson Bennett placed second in their respective weight classes at the 26-team Winner's Choice Wrestling Tournament on January 12 and 13 in Fairmont, leading Berkeley Springs to a 12th place team finish.
Hovermale, 22-3 on the year, reached the finals by defeating Elizabeth Elza 4-0, pinning Martinsburg's Andy Stotler and then scoring a 5-2 decision over Tommy Brunswick of Bridgeport in the semifinals.
In the 103 pound final, trailing 4-2 to top-seed Jordan Nolan of Parkersburg in the second period, Hovermale was caught on his back and pinned by Nolan.
Bennett opened the tournament with a second-period pin of Kyle Merkel from Myersdale, Pa. He then disposed of Jefferson County's Blaine Thomas with a first-period pin and then decisioned Anthony Owens of Riverside 5-2, before defeating previously undefeated Erick Hinerman of North Marion 7-3 in the 160 pound semifinal bout.
In the final, Bennett met top-seeded Drew Retton from Fairmont Senior. The two battled through the six minutes of regulation to a 2-2 draw, forcing overtime. In the second overtime period, leading by one point, Bennett was reversed to his back and pinned.
"Tyson has had some bad luck in tournament finals this year," Bennett said. He was leading 3-2 with just seconds left in the second overtime period when Retton stood up and Tyson, while tripping him back to the mat lost his balance. He has come really close in both the Max Horz and now at the Winner's Choice. Hopefully his fortunes will change.'
Bennett stands 23-3 on the year
Berkeley Springs also had three other place winners. Cody Reed finished third at 189, Josh Connor was seventh at 112 and AJ Blankenship eighth at 125.
Reed, 23-2, began the tournament with a pair of first-period pins, pinning Remington Skarzinski of Fairmont Senior and Eli Reyes of Martinsburg. Reed, the third seed, was then upset in the quarterfinal match by Jared Weatherholtz of Musselman, 9-7.
"Cody didn't wrestle his best match and Weatherholtz was ready," Bennett said.
Reed had to battle his way through the consolation brackets, not an easy thing to do, to make his way to the awards stand. He began the quest with a first-period pin of University's Joe Tennant, then scored a 16-0 technical fall over Chris Horr of West Greene, Pa., before a 12-2 major decision over Robert C. Byrd's Nate Ramano in the consolation semifinal set up a rematch with Weatherholtz. This time Reed was ready, defeating his Musselman opponent 5-2, to claim third place at 189.
Connor won his first two matches in the 112 pound division easily, before falling 4-2 in the quarterfinals to Luke Parsons of Ripley. He then defeated Mark Lyons of Myersdale, Pa., 7-1, before losing 9-4 to Hunter Wood of East Fairmont. In his seventh place match, Connor hung on for a 2-0 decision of Brittany Woodall of Buckhannon-Upshur.
"Josh did a pretty good job of gutting it out," said Bennett. "He was a little under the weather, but hung in there and got seventh."
Blankenship squeaked by Nick Sellas of Bridgeport 10-8 in his first match, before being pinned by Williamstown's Mackenzie Peters in the third period of their quarterfinal match. Blankenship then defeated Josh Shiflet of Parkersburg 9-6 to make it into the medal round. He was injured in his next match with West Greene's Garrett Johnson and defaulted his final match to place eighth.
Blankenship is currently 16-6.
Brad Reed (119), 16-9, scored an 11-3 major decision in his first match over Glen Hetz of Myersdale, then defeated Sam Dunbar of Nitro 11-4 to advance to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinal match, Reed lost to Tyler George of Williamstown 6-1, before being pinned by Elkins' Eric Swisher in the first round of consolations.
Both Caleb Smalley (171) and Jake Stotler (285) lost their only two matches.
"We wrestled well at times," Bennett said. "This is a tough tournament and placing is an accomplishment. We will continue working hard and try to improve."
Berkeley Springs will wrestle Saturday, January 20, in the Calhoun County Invitational.
1. Parkersburg 264.50
2. East Fairmont 260.50
3. West Greene 163.50
4. Musselman 142.50
5. North Marion 122.50
6. University 119.50
7. Fairmont Sr. 118.00
8. Ripley 104.50
9. Jefferson 102.50
10. Bridgeport 99.50
11. Riverside 95.00
12. Berkeley Spgs. 90.00
13. Hedgesville 85.00
14. Williamstown 81.50
15. Robert C. Byrd 81.00
16. Morgantown 76.00
17. Nitro 72.00
18. Lewis County 64.00
19. Meyersdale 61.00
20. Hyndman 57.00
21. Ritchie County 54.00
22. Buckhannon 49.00
23. Tyler Cons. 46.00
24. Elkins 45.00
25. Martinsburg 23.00
26. Preston County