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Hall, Carman will compete at Big 12 championships

One of the best seasons in West Virginia University wrestling history will continue this weekend during the Big 12 Championships inside the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Action begins Saturday at noon and concludes with Sunday’s championship finals being televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m.

The Mountaineers had five individuals receive pre-seeds, including a pair of Ohio Valley natives in true freshman Peyton Hall (165) and redshirt freshman Anthony Carman (184).

Hall, an Oak Glen product and 4-time W.Va. Class A/AA state champion, earned the No. 2 seed. He is ranked 20th and had prevailed in seven of his last eight matches headed into the conference tournament. He is tied for the team lead with 10 wins (2 losses) and is 5-1 in Big 12 competition, with his lone reversal coming to top-seeded Travis Wittlake of Oklahoma State.

Hall will face Utah Valley’s Koy Wilkinson in his first match.

Carman, an John Marshall graduate and W.Va. Class AAA state champ as a senior, is seeded sixth. He has six wins this season, but four of them have come against Big 12 foes in five matches. He has battled in and out of the lineup all year.

Carman will meet the winner of the bout between third-seeded Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State and North Dakota State’s Michael Nelson.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Sullivan (133) joined Hall as a No. 2 seed, while redshirt junior Noah Adams (197) is third and redshirt junior Killian Cardinale (125) is No. 4.

Also scheduled to compete for WVU are redshirt sophomore Alex Hornfeck (157), sophomore Scott Joll (174), redshirt freshman Jeffrey Boyd (141), classmate Michael Wolfgram (285) and true freshman Brayden Roberts (149). Roberts is a Parkersburg South alum.

The seeds were determined by an independent five-member panel.

West Virginia finished 10th in last year’s event. There are 45 automatic bids available for the NCAA Championships.

Third-year head coach Tim Flynn has revived the Mountaineers program. He did wonders at Edinboro previously, turning the Fighting Scots into a NCAA Division I powerhouse. He is doing the same in Morgantown.

McWilliams Remembered

The tri-state lost another member of its beloved wrestling family with the passing of veteran referee, Kenny McWilliams.

While Kenny didn’t reside in the Ohio Valley, he was a constant at both the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Ron Mauck Championships and the West Virginia State Tournament where he worked 26 times. He called matches for 48 years and in 2016 received the prestigious western Pennsylvania’s Tri-County League’s “Excellence in Officiating Award.”

Kenny was graduated from Chartiers-Houston High School where he wrestled and played football. He met his future wife, Sandy, while in high school. They recently celebrated 45 years together.

I had the opportunity to travel with Kenny to Huntington one year for the West Virginia State Tournament. We had many conversations during our trip, along with Ray Marling, about a variety of topics.

Kenny was a down-to-earth person and a great referee. He will be truly missed by all.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his officiating brothers.

College Update

Jacson Muldrew, Gardner-Webb University. This Steubenville product finished his freshman season with one win in five matches, all against ACC competition. After dropping his first four bouts, he recorded a first-period pin of North Carolina’s Nick Lirette in 1:42 in his final match.

Anthony Rice, Cleveland State University. Another former Steubenville performer, Rice finished 8th at 174 pounds during the recent Mid-American Conference Tournament.

He finished his redshirt freshman season with a 3-4 record.

Jess Battilochi, Arizona State. This Buckeye Local alum and former Wheeling Jesuit/Wheeling University athletic trainer is on the athletic training staff with the Sun Devils, who captured the PAC-12 Championship last weekend in Corvallis, Ore. The No. 6 Sun Devils dominated the conference with five individual titles to win their fourth Pac-12 Championship in five years after posting a 138 tournament point total. The conference title was ASU’s 22nd all-time and 20th in the Pac-10/12 era

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