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Hall impresses in WVU debut

PEYTON HALL, right, competes against Kent State’s James Limonji during his collegiate debut last weekend. Hall went 3-0.

MORGANTOWN — Already a highly decorated wrestler during his high school days at Oak Glen, it didn’t take Peyton Hall long to make a name for himself on the collegiate level.

Hall, a 4-time West Virginia state champion and 3-time OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament titlist, began his WVU career the same way he ended his days as a Golden Bear, by winning. The true freshman went 3-0 against Kent State, Ohio University and Virginia Tech as the Mountaineers compiled a 2-1 mark, losing to the No. 8 ranked Hokies.

Competing at 165 pounds, Hall recorded a pair of major decisions and a decision in his matches. He blanked the Bobcats’ Colt Yinger, ranked 22nd in two national polls, 9-0. Yinger wrestled at Nelsonville-York. He also recorded a 9-3 decision over Kent State’s James Limongi before notching a 13-4 major nod over Virginia Tech’s Jordan Florence.

The Chester native finished the weekend with 10 takedowns and a pair of reversals.

“It was really cool. I was excited,” Hall said via telephone earlier this week. “It was cool to wrestle against some of the schools I grew up watching on TV.”

He admitted to having some nerves.

“I was a little anxious before my first match because it had been so long since I’ve had some actual competition against someone besides my practice partners,” he allowed. “But when the whistle went off, I was ready.”

His performances didn’t go unnoticed as he moved into a pair of national polls this week. Hall is ranked No. 24 according to FloWrestling and is listed as 30th by The Open Mat.

Hall said 165 pounds is just right for him.

“I feel really strong because I don’t have to cut much weight,” he said. “I feel wrestling bigger guys during practice helps me, too. I feel strong and I’m healthy.”

Hall won state titles at 120, 132, 138 and 152 while at Oak Glen.

He is one of three WVU matmen in the national rankings, and one of two from the Ohio Valley.

The Mountaineers’ Noah Adams (197) is No. 1 in FloWrestling, The Open Mat and Intermat. The Independence High grad extended his winning streak to 35 straight matches, which dates back to last season when he was favored to win the NCAA title at 197 pounds.

Weir’s Caleb Rea (141), despite battling some health problems, is listed No. 22 by The Open Mat.

Parkersburg South alum Brayden Roberts also made his WVU debut at 149 pounds. He posted two wins before suffering an 11-3 setback to No. 12 Bryce Andonian of Virginia Tech in his final match of the day.

John Marshall product Anthony Carman (184) went 1-2 on the day. His lone triumph came via a 12-3 major decision over Ohio’s Colin McNamara.

West Virginia welcomes Bucknell and No. 19 Oklahoma for a tri-meet on Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.

WLU’s Cook Honored by MEC

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – West Liberty University’s Garrett Cook has been honored as the first Mountain East Conference Wrestler of the Week.

Cook, a sophomore 184-pounder from Weirton Madonna where he was a state champion, was recognized by the conference after playing a key role in helping Coach Danny Irwin’s Hilltoppers post a pair of impressive wins in Saturday’s triangular season opener.

The Black-and-Gold, which was recently ranked No. 1 in the MEC preseason poll, will be back on the road next Saturday when they head to Fairmont State for a triangular with the host Falcons and Glenville State.

The MEC Tournament will be held at West Liberty’s ASRC on Feb. 6.

Barnesville Winter Duals

Five teams will take part in the inaugural Barnesville Duals Saturday in western Belmont County. In addition to the host Shamrocks, also participating are Indian Creek, Mayfield, Southern Local and St. Clairsville.

Action begins at 10 a.m. with Barnesville and Southern Local competing, as well as Division I Mayfield versus Indian Creek.

Round 2 is tentatively set for 11:15 a.m. with Barnesville and St. Clairsville doing battle, along with Southern Local and Mayfield.

The third round will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. and has Barnesville facing Indian Creek and St. Clairsville dueling Southern Local.

Round 4 will begin around 1:45 with Southern Local meeting Indian Creek and St. Clairsville facing Mayfield.

The fifth, and final, round has an approximate start time of 3 with Barnesville and Mayfield squaring off, along with Indian Creek and St. Clairsville.

Numerous state-ranked individuals, according to Borofan, will be competing.

The Red Devils’ Koen Kish (132) is top-ranked in Division II while teammates Gannon Kazmirski (106) is 25th; Caden Stout (145) is 10th; Austin DaRe (170) is 18th; and Reese Skaggs (220) is fifth. St. Clairsville is ranked 10th as a team.

Barnesville’s Reese Stephen (106) is ranked third and older brother, Griffen (120) is seventh in D-III. Dakota King (113) is 10th; Skyler King (126) is 11th; Logan Tague (132) is seventh; George Hoover (138) is 25th; Cameron Woods (160) is seventh; and Jacob Boulet (170) is 22nd. The Shamrocks are 12th as a team.

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