HUNTINGTON - Oak Glen seniors Zach Brown and Dylan Davis finally accomplished the dream all high school wrestlers have - winning a state title.
The duo did just that Saturday night on the final day of the 65th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.
For the third time in his career, Brown ended his campaign on the state's biggest stage but this time he left it as a state champ for the Golden Bears.
Oak Glen’s Zach Brown wrestles Williamstown’s Dalton George in the 113-pound finals Saturday in Huntington. (Special to The Review/Jeff Baughan)
After runner-up showings at 112 as a junior and at 103 as a sophomore, the 113-pounder finally got what he's wanted all along. Brown
got the only takedown of his match against Williamstown's Dalton George just a dozen seconds into the second period en route to his 3-1 triumph. It was the third time he had beaten the sophomore George, last year's 106-pound state champ, this season.
"I don't know what I did. He shot and I reshot," Brown said when asked to describe his takedown. "I just tried to get a takedown. It's just one of those things that happen and you don't know what happened.
"He was so much more aggressive this time. He went after me. We wrestled tough and I kind of played it safe at the end. I played it safe. I wanted to win."
Brown said he had been thinking about being a state champion for so long and he's just glad his time to be part of Oak Glen's rich tradition of history finally arrived.
"It was a good match and I practiced all summer. This was my one goal," added Brown, who had a 43-1 record this year with his only loss coming to Ripley's Jarred Simpkins. Simpkins was ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, but settled for third at the state tournament.
"I couldn't go undefeated because I lost at the beginning of the year," Brown continued. "I just wanted this one state championship and I'd be happy. It feels amazing.
"We have a wall and every state champion is on that wall when you walk in our gym. There's one spot left on the wall and I get to fill it then it starts the next row. I've been looking at it all year and I wanted that one spot."
As for Davis, whose victory actually gave Oak Glen its sixth place team finish, his triumph was also a long time coming.
Having only placed once, which came back in 2010 at 215-pounds where he was fifth, Davis got a quick 2-0 cushion he never relinquished just seven seconds into his match against Daniel Fultz of Liberty (Harrison) en route to a 4-3 triumph. Davis actually led 4-2 after one, allowed Fultz to escape in the second to make it 4-3, but his opponent never cut him in the third.
"I mean. I don't know. If I was in his situation I would've let me up and tried a shot, but I guess he just didn't think he could take me down," Davis said moments after winning his title. "I stalled a little bit, but I tweaked my thumb in the second period and that's why I was stalling there at the end.
"I couldn't post with my left hand so I was fighting just with my right arm. I've been wrestling since I was 4-years-old. It's a great honor to be a state champ. I have cousins and family on the wall and for me to be on the wall makes me happy to be part of something only great people are part of."
Out of the nine qualifiers for the Golden Bears, only 120-pound senior Tyler Brown and junior 126-pounder Kyle Mack also left Huntington in the top six.
Tyler Brown managed to take third place by winning both of his matches on Saturday morning - a 3-0 victory against Dustin Yoakum of Greenbrier West and then a 2-1 triumph versus Keyser's Garrett Crites. Mack, who finished fifth, was tripped 9-3 by Chris Clark of Independence, but followed that up by blanking Cole Hinkle of Greenbrier West, 1-0.