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Parkersburg South’s Amos a man among boys at 220

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH SOUTH SENIOR Braxton Amos takes the mat for his second-round match Friday afternoon at WesBanco Arena. He posted two pins Friday and is now in the semifinals for the third straight year.

WHEELING — Braxton Amos is a beast on the wrestling mat. Off the mat, not so much.

When asked what makes him so dominant on the mat, he is quick — like most of his matches — and to the point with his reply. “I like to work hard and I love wrestling. If you like working hard and you like wrestling, stuff starts clicking when you’re younger and you just build on that.”

And he has. FloWrestling ranked the 220-pounder as pound-for-pound the No. 1 wrestler in the nation earlier this year.

Heading into Saturday’s semifinal round at the 67th annual OVAC Ron Mauck wrestling tournament inside WesBanco Arena, the Parkersburg South senior has compiled a mind-boggling career that had a hiccup during his freshman season. After quickly disposing of Morgantown’s eighth-seeded Tylor Yost in Friday night’s quarterfinals, Amos is a spotless 30-0 this season and is a perfect 124-0 in two-plus seasons.

“He’s obviously a once in a generation type wrestler. He’s not even a kid. He’s a man,” Parkersburg South head coach Shaun Smith said of his prized matman. “There’s nothing kid-like about him, except sometimes he’s a little goofy. He’s something special. He’s been an awesome part of our program and will continue to do even greater things.

“It’s bittersweet because you don’t want to lose a guy like that, but I’m anxious to see what he does at the upper level in college and internationally.

“It’s been fun, though. For sure.”

Amos missed his freshman season following knee surgery, but through a dedicated recovery process, he seemingly never missed a beat.

“It was tough. Real tough,” he admitted of not being able to compete with his teammates. “There were a lot of guys that were talking a lot about what would’ve happened if I had wrestled. It was tough to deal with, especially when you can’t prove it by results. It was rough, but you take what you’re given.

“It made me stronger,” he admitted. “Physically stronger, probably not, but I had 60 days to get ready to wrestle at Fargo and try to win another national championship when I came back from the injury. Those 60 days were some of the toughest days of my life. It made mentally tougher, though.”

Amos said competing in the OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament is good for the Patriots of Wood County.

“It’s a good tournament for our team to be at. We get pushed by Beaver Local and Steubenville, so it’s a good tournament for us all to bond before the (W.Va.) state tournament,” he explained. “It’s good for the team.”

As far as last year when South had its winning streak snapped by Beaver Local, he’s just focused on this year.

“I think we should’ve won last year. It was just the way the brackets and cards fell and we didn’t,” he noted. “It’s going to be fun. Hopefully, knock on wood, we can pull it off and get back on top where we belong.”

His list of accomplishments read like Who’s Who of Wrestling:

∫ 11-time WV Jr State Champ (State Record)

∫ 3-time PowerAde Champion

∫ 3-time Super 32 High School Champion (Outstanding Wrestler 2019)

∫ 3-time WSAZ Middle School Champion

∫ 3-time Wood County Middle School Champ

∫ 2x OVAC Ron Mauck Champion (2018 Hercules Award)

∫ 2x WV AAA State Champion

∫ 2x WV State Champion (Outstanding Wrestler 2019)

∫ 2x Fargo Cadet Freestyle Champion

∫ 2x Fargo Cadet Greco Champion (Outstanding Wrestler 2017)

∫ 1-time Super 32 Middle School Champion

∫ 1-time Iron Man Champion

∫ Fargo Junior Freestyle Champion (unscored on, all first period tech falls)

∫ Fargo Junior Greco Finalist (medical)

∫ Junior Pan American Games Silver Medal Greco Guatemala

∫ Greatest Number of wins in an undefeated season in Parkersburg South History (48)

∫ Most consecutive wins in Parkersburg South History (124 and counting)

∫ Highest Winning percentage in Parkersburg South History (100%)*

∫ Zero offensive points surrendered in both sophomore and junior seasons

∫ Robert Dutton Award (First underclassman)

With a list that impressive, college coaches were ringing his cell phone off the hook before he finally decided on the University of Wisconsin. Did signing take some pressure off?

“Actually, it created a different kind of stress for me. It went from ‘oh my God if I lose (this match) I could lose scholarship money or this school might drop their interest in me’ to, I think, I put a bigger target on my back because Wisconsin’s fourth in the country. They are doing well. In a way, I already am a representative of them, so everything I do, say or how I act reflects partially on them.

“Every minute there is something that I have to be aware of.”

So what can the Badgers expect?

“My goal, if I can do it, is to be a 4-time NCAA national champion. I want to make the World team and, hopefully, win some international medals some day.”

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